Add Just a Pinch Pediatric Back Massage

Lay your child, tummy down, on a blanket or across your lap. Gently pinch and lift the loose skin over the spine. Work your way from the bottom to the top, loosely

Harm Alarm

Harm Alarm lifting the skin, talking, singing, and loving your child. This stimulates the acu-points along the spine, which leads to all the major organs. The pinch and lift is soft and gentle and will relax and soothe your child.

Ear Infections: The Fear Not to Hear

I've yet to meet a parent who doesn't dread the feverish, ear-tugging terrors that ear infections can bring to an otherwise happy baby. Otitis media (middle ear infection) is the most common form of ear infection. There were 30 million doctor visits for otitis media in 1997, which is up three-fold since 1975. Your conventional physician monitors your child's ears for any sign of fluid, redness, or inflammation, which could signal an increase in harmful bacteria. Antibiotics are usually the standard treatment in these situations.

Acu-Moment

The American Academy of Pediatrics distinguishes between two kinds of otitis media:

>■ Acute otitis media. Symptoms include fever, ear pain, and pus behind the eardrum. Most doctors use antibiotics to treat this type.

>- Otitis media with effusion. This condition involves fluid in the middle ear, which can cause temporary hearing loss that will return as the fluid drains. Antibiotics are not necessary to treat this. Your physician can monitor the ears to make sure the fluid is draining.

Unfortunately, the cycle of antibiotic use for recurrent ear infections can be maddening. As soon as the antibiotic treatment is finished, another ear infection pops up and it's off to the doctor's office for more meds. If the fluid does not drain, tubes are surgically implanted in your child's eardrum to prevent possible hearing loss.

Most ear infections occur in children between three months and three years old. The infections that I hear most often occur when a mother changes from breast milk to formula, starts feeding her baby solid foods, or when the baby starts teething. The fear is that improper hearing under the age of three may delay or impair normal language skills. It's a tricky time in most parents' lives. Oriental Medicine has a great deal to offer you to end the cycle of ear infections and help your baby's first years be healthy and happy ones.

Harm Alarm

We'll say it again: Stop smoking! The August 1999 issue of Pediatrics reported on an Australian research study of ear infections from birth to age 5. This study compared children born to smoking and nonsmoking mothers.

>• 1-9 cigarettes per day—60 percent higher risk for ear infections >• 10-19 cigarettes per day—260 percent higher risk for ear infections >• 20 or more cigarettes per day—330 percent increased risk for their child to develop ear infections

Ending the Cycle of Ear Infections: Stopping the Drama

Antibiotics can and do kill disease-causing bacteria. The physicians that I've worked with are doing their best to help your child. Studies show that otitis media resolves itself—without the need for any medication—within 14 days in about 80 percent of children. Using antibiotics increases the percentage to 95 percent. Antibiotics make the fluid in your child's ear sterile, but they do not make it go away. Oriental Medicine seeks to stimulate your child's immune system so that if you do use antibiotics, the next cold will not result in an ear infection. Individual characteristics are observed as in an adult and a comprehensive treatment plan is devised to end the infections and improve overall health.

I know how frustrating recurrent ear infections can be. Here are a few ways you can help to ease the ears:

> Be a team player with your doctor. Ask which kind of ear infection your child has and whether an antibiotic is necessary. Ask for periodic monitoring of your child's ears (the wait-and-watch method).

> Get rid of the gluten. Wheat snacks and breads often cause food allergies for our little ones.

> Send out the sugar. According to oriental medicine, sugar weakens the digestion. Cold ice cream and sweet fruit drinks add more impairment. By cutting back on sugar, you'll see the difference.

> Leave the milk behind. Many children do not tolerate cow's milk. Try fortified soy milk as a substitute; it doesn't contain the substances most likely to cause allergies, but still offers plenty of calcium.

>■ Bring in the good guys. Supplement your child's diet with the helpful, naturally occurring bacteria acidophilus and bifidus. They come in odorless, colorless, and tasteless powders that you can put in any liquid to boost immunity. Interestingly enough, bifidus is a key component of breast milk.

>■ Send in the herbs. Your acu-pro can work up a custom herbal formula for your baby to address the symptoms as well as the underlying weakness in his or her system.

I have seen these steps work quite well with recunent ear infections. But they're not magic, and it takes time and patience to clear up the condition. As it stands now, your child's immune system has been weakened by frequent antibiotic use, often leaving him or her open to another infection or to developing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The best results I've experienced come from coordinating your team of physician, acu-pro, and you. They are all working to help ensure your child gets the best carc possible.

You'd think Katie was running for Town Mayor the way she smiled, greeted, and engaged everyone in the office during her first visit The only obstacle barring this buoyant bounc-inggirl from office was that she was only 15 months old. Her parents had been dealing with chronic ear infections since they switched from breast milk to formula. She would start the typical tugging of her ear; her mood would become uncharacteristically sullen and withdrawn. At some point she began to cry and could not be consoled. This was their first child and they looked a little worn out, too. We began by going over Katie's medical history, including her mother's pregnancy. Sometimes unusual experiences or emotions strongly felt by the mother during pregnancy can be clues to a child's pattern of illness. We reviewed the formulas and snacks that they gave her, along with the juices and water she got throughout the day. I prescribed an herbal formula, which was administered in a dropper, and instructed both parents in how to give an ear massage to Katie. I suggested they do this nightly as part of a bedtime routine, and especially if she was pulling on her ears. We cut out quite a bit of dairy, wheat gluten, and sugars from her diet. Her parents were shocked by the amount she used to eat when we wrote it all down. Working with her pediatrician, Katie is now off the low-dose antibiotic she was scheduled to be on for almost a year and she's back impressing the crowds with her winning personality.

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