Oriental Medicine has a highly evolved system of pediatric care that can help infants, toddlers, children, and teens improve their health without the use of potentially harmful drugs. Oriental Medicine doesn’t treat children like tiny adults. Rather, it offers a variety of treatment methods and modalities that are unique to the area of pediatrics.Read More
My pediatric holistic health and wellness talk was a huge success at Milestones Preschool! I was able to raise $$$ for the school as well as raise awareness of the power and effectiveness of Traditional East Asian Medicine (TEAM) for pediatric health care needs.
Parents loved the hands-on portion of my Iyashi Touch protocol (a type of pediatric TEAM massage I teach my families), and I could see their children were curious and eager to have some of these tried on them that night. I had feedback from one parent the next day that her daughter made sure that she had her special toothbrush just for her :-)
Parents also asked a lot of great questions regarding my holistic nutrition talk. I loved being able to see how engaged they got with the information, how their minds were turning, reassessing where they were in their dietary approach to their children. It really thrills me when I see that lightbulb go off in people, and that's why I love teaching, both to the public as well as to my students at Yo San University. Imagine, families starting to eat healthier and implementing massages on their kiddos, changing the future of our children's health, just from empowering educational talks. I love that I can make a difference in this world, one child, one family at a time.
I'm also excited to share that the director has asked me to come back to do more talks on pediatric healthcare and nutrition, so be on the look out for future classes!
Thank you everyone for who attended!
As part of my Patient and Public Education effort, I started an 8-Part Series in Healthy, Happy Eating that individuals and the whole family can enjoy. I believe in the power of education and that even the smallest changes an individual makes, or a caregiver makes for his/her family, towards a healthier living, reverberates not just in their own health, but the family's health and in the community they live in. My hope is that I can contribute somehow to the positive, life-affirming, and health-promoting changes that individuals and families can make so that we can cause a seismic shift in the future and health of our children and the generations to come.
Part 1 is about the Standard American Diet and how we can shift away from this manufacturer-driven, obesity-causing, unnatural commercial diet to one of natural, life-promoting, seasonal, and environmentally friendly diet.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Standard American Diet, but were afraid to ask...
Oftentimes, in the health-related media and among wellness practitioners, a common reference is made – usually in a pejorative sense – to the Standard American Diet (SAD). But it seems that practically no one takes the time to explain what that actually is. Perhaps some people think of the Standard American Diet as eating at McDonald's and Taco Bell all day, and then having Dairy Queen for dessert. Others might conjure up images of microwaveable dinners, sugary breakfast cereals, and Diet Coke. In today's blog post, I'd like to explain what exactly the Standard American Diet is, why SAD is such a fitting acronym, and how to go from SAD to healthy, happy, and thriving.
What exactly is a SAD diet?
First things first. How can we say anything about the SAD diet without clearly defining it first? Those who follow a SAD diet probably try to adhere to the USDA food pyramid, which recently became a food circle. The general idea is to avoid eating too much fat – especially artery-clogging saturated fat – and get most of our calories from “whole grains.” We're also told to drink plenty of pasteurized milk to prevent osteoporosis, and to make sure our children drink plenty of milk so their bones can grow. Some of the decent recommendations are to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and get some protein from meat, eggs, and fish. However, no emphasis is made concerning the quality of our fruit, veggies, and meat.
The typical adherent to the Standard American Diet may skip breakfast and opt for a Slim-Fast shake instead (after all, it's low-fat and high in calcium and added vitamins). She may feed her child breakfast cereal with milk, and a glass of orange juice to wash it all down. For lunch, she eats a low-fat turkey sandwich with Kraft cheese and fat-free Miracle Whip on wheat bread. She packs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and potato chips for her child, who also receives a pint of chocolate milk from the school cafeteria. For dinner, she cooks Stovetop stuffing, grilled chicken breast, and broccoli with Velveeta cheese melted on top. In her efforts to provide healthy snacks to her children, she has her kitchen stocked with Goldfish crackers (for whole grain goodness), mozzarella cheese sticks (made from processed, conventional dairy), fruit juice that comes in fun-size boxes with straws, low-fat cookies, fat-free candies, tortilla chips with cheese dip, sliced apples, fat-free lunchmeat, and grapes.
What's so SAD about that?
The first sad thing about that diet is that the person adhering to it and feeding it to her children probably thinks she's making reasonably smart choices. But when you examine how many fruits and vegetables she's preparing for herself and her children in a typical day, there's only one serving of fruit at breakfast (juice) and one vegetable at dinner (broccoli). The next problem is that there's an over-reliance on heavily processed foods, including the cereal, Slim-Fast, processed cheese, artery-clogging fat-free mayonnaise, store-bought wheat bread laden with thyroid-damaging dough conditioners, and sugary snacks. The third major issue here is the disregard for the quality of the food. Was the broccoli sprayed with pesticides? Were the dairy cows injected with growth hormones to make them grow big and fat rapidly and produce more milk than is normal? Was the chicken grown in a cage and fed an unnatural diet of corn, soy, and antibiotics all its life? These are all factors that can affect the nutritional value - as well as the toxic load - of a food. If a food is low in nutrition and high in toxins, the child who eats it will grow up with poor nutritional status and a high toxic load. This leads to minor health problems in the short-term (ear infections, frequent colds, attention and learning disorders, dental caries, etc.) and major health problems in the long-term (overweight/obesity, diabetes, endocrine problems, future infertility).
Obviously you don't want that for yourself, your spouse, or your kids! Next, let's discuss how you can make the transition from SAD to a TCM healing diet.
How to transition from a SAD diet to a Real Food Diet with TCM principles
According to the centuries-old wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, dairy and sugar are causes of dampness and phlegm in the body. This can manifest as nasal stuffiness, brain fog, weight gain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue, among other things. Unfortunately, many well-intentioned parents feed their children phlegm-producing foods: Goldfish crackers, processed cheese sticks, fruit juice, cookies, candies, soda, etc. If a healing diet excludes these foods, then what is left for you to feed your children? (For more information on the dangers of eating commercial sandwich bread, see this research study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567851/.)
There are an endless number of possibilities! Instead of making sugar-laden Jello from a box, for example, you could make homemade gelatin snacks with homemade juice and gelatin from grass-fed cows. I like this gelatin. According to Chinese Medicine as well as modern science, gelatin prevents anemia, nosebleeds, and excessive bleeding, plus it contains amino acids that help the body get rid of stored toxins.
Instead of serving breakfast cereal and pasteurized milk for breakfast, you could make an omelette with pasture-raised eggs from a local farmer, locally-grown veggies, and healthy locally-raised bacon or sausage. For something sweet, serve baked apple slices sweetened with cinnamon and raw honey (raw honey should be consumed only by babies 12 months and older). This kind of breakfast should keep your child feeling focused, energized, and satiated until lunchtime.
At lunch, serve up some steamed veggies, grass-fed meat, and some cooked quinoa or rice. Use real butter from grass-fed cows, coconut oil, avocado oil, or olive oil as your fat, and avoid any oils that are partially hydrogenated or made from corn, soy, or canola. (We'll cover how to get picky eaters to eat their veggies in a later blog post, but for now, let's just say it's all in the presentation. If you can make a food FUN to eat, by making it into fun shapes and serving it in fun little bento boxes, your life becomes a lot easier.)
Finally, for dinner, emphasize more veggies (even leafy greens like kale and collards), a healthy protein source from a pasture-raised animal, a healthy fat such as lard or avocado oil, and perhaps a piece of fruit or an ounce of chocolate for dessert. If you choose to serve bread or another form of grains with your meal, start with soaking your grains overnight and allowing them to ferment slightly before cooking them. This increases the nutritional value of the grain and reduces any anti-nutrients that can cause harm to your digestive system and immune system over the long-term.
Some healthy cookbooks to get you started include:
Though not a cookbook, a wonderful book to help you on your journey towards healthy eating and the decisions we can make towards eating is the book below by Michael Pollan.
An eye-opening book on how the world eats, 24 different countries at a time is Peter Menzel's Hungry Planet: What the World Eats. A fascinating book filled with photographs to help us gauge our place in the eating cultures of the world. See photos of the different families and their foods, here.
May this be the beginning - or the continuum - to your journey in Happy & Healthy Eating!
This was part 1 of my 8-Part Series in Healthy, Happy Eating that individuals and the whole family can enjoy.
Part 2 is The Yin And Yang of Seasonal Eating.
PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. These small earnings make it possible for me to continue writing this blog for you. That said, I will never endorse any product or service that I cannot fully support.
To acquaint yourself with Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), please read my quick overview of how Asian Medicine can help your child.
Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions to prepare your child for his/her first visit to Iyashi Wellness.
What can I and my child expect for a pediatric visit at Iyashi Wellness? Fun times and learning new ways to take care of your bodies! Acupuncture and Asian Medicine help to heal the body, so everything I will do to your child and prescribe and teach the parents will be to help facilitate or jump start your child's innate healing ability.
Will my child be nervous about coming to see an acupuncturist? Most children (and adults) are weary of coming to a healthcare practitioner's office because of their experiences getting poked, prodded, palpated, drilled (at the dentist!) and the dreaded ouchy vaccine shots. For children with chronic conditions, they may also experience not getting better as soon as they and their parents would like visiting conventional doctor's offices, so they may already be apprehensive. So if this is your case, please be aware of your own apprehension as well as your child's apprehension.
So what can I as a parent do to ease my child's possible apprehension for their first visit? Be relaxed yourself. Your child will read your energy and respond to that. Please know that your child will not be administered acupuncture in their first visit in most cases. If the child is old enough to be aware (as opposed to babies who still have no fear), I will gain your child's trust first, and only if I feel they are ready and will benefit from acupuncture, will I give them an acupuncture treatment. To acquaint them to acupuncture, I will casually show them what acupuncture needles are like and even demonstrate on myself or you of the virtually painless experience of acupuncture. This will start getting your child used to the visual and idea of acupuncture and that it is something very special done only at my office. Please do not mention the words "needles," "poke," "pokey," or "pins" to your child for our visit, or ask them if they are afraid. Instead, if you want to bring up the notion of acupuncture, tell them they'll get to learn about "taps." I call acupuncture needles "taps" with children toddlers and older so that I can get rid of the fear factor and also because I literally "tap" the needles into a child. If you want to bypass this part of the conversation all together, you can inform your child that s/he will be asked questions about their health, have their pulses felt on their wrists, and they can even stick their tongues out at me! How fun is that?! I will also show them different tools that they can use together with me that will make them feel better and teach them about eating well so that they'll get better soon.
Should I bring toys and goodies, like to an airplane ride, for our visit? Yes! I will spend a considerable time going over your child's forms and current complaint that brought you two in for the initial visit. Although I will have some toys to keep your child entertained, please bring something special for your child to keep him/her busy during this portion of the appointment. This is especially the case for children under age 6.
For children who have been dealing with a chronic condition and are extra apprehensive to visit a doctor's office, please bring their lovey, stuffed animal or blanket to give them comfort. You can even encourage them to play dress up and come in their favorite pretend-play outfit to help them feel more confident - and fun - about visiting my office.
Do I need to fill out forms? Yes. Forms will be sent to you in a link once you make your appointment, and can be filled out online . Fill them out ahead of your visit. Please give yourself some quiet time to fill out the forms, as it will take about 20 minutes to fill out the forms.
If you're not doing acupuncture on my child, what will my child get as a treatment? As I wrote in Overview of Pediatric Asian Medicine, PAM is ancient, so several non-invasive methods were developed over time to facilitate healing in a child. In my goody bag of treatment options, we have multiple non-invasive methods available:
Therapeutic massage: I will teach you specific pediatric massages that you can do at home to incorporate as part of your child's wellness routine. As you incorporate this in your daily routine, you will be surprised how your child will begin asking for the massages, and overall start to get more calm and healthier. Because kids know it's good for them. Really.
Acupressure: I will teach you and your child specific acupressure points to press at home to help with the healing process.
Pellets: a therapeutic application of small pellets to provide continuous acupressure to points, often in addition to acupuncture, or in lieu of it. It is similar to self-massaging an acupuncture point, but it will be a more targeted approach as the pellet will have a stronger stimulatory effect.
Guasha: this therapeutic treatment involves repeated pressure strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge, like a ceramic Chinese soup spoon or honed animal bones or well-worn coin to promote blood and energy circulation. This practice of stroking and scraping is seen in other traditional cultures of the world as well.
Cupping: also used in other traditional cultures, a therapeutic approach that utilizes round suction cups over a large muscular area such as the back to enhance blood circulation to the designated area.
Dietary prescriptions: I will provide you with Food as Medicine recipes and dietary suggestions to help with your child's condition. In most cases, changing a child's diet has a huge impact in the well being of your child.
Herbal prescriptions: known as tinctures, I have natural herbal prescriptions in liquid form just for pediatric use. Once they get used to the different flavor of herbs, kids will ask to take it because they know they get better when they take it. Completely, safe, these tinctures are American-made by companies with stringent safety and quality controls and can be taken concurrent with pharmaceutical prescription drugs.
Micro-current stimulation: this is a hand held device that emits micro current to an acupuncture point. The micro current stimulates the point and facilitates healing. It is similar to acupressure or the use of pellets/magnet, but this is one step stronger in the stimulatory effect because of the use of a micro current.
and lastly, acupuncture: as I wrote above, acupuncture needles will be one of my last resorts with pediatric patients toddlers and older. Babies have no concept of fear and that needles may hurt so when and if I use needles on babies, it is a very smooth experience. Also, the needles I use for pediatric patients are even thinner than the needles used for adults (which are already extra thin to begin with). Unlike with adults where the needles are left in the patient for 20-30 minutes while they rest in the treatment room, with pediatric patients, I will do a quick in and out with the needle for younger children/babies. For older children, I can leave them for 5-10 minutes depending on the child's comfort and stillness level. Acupuncture is very beneficial because it uses the body's own healing response mechanism, unlike micro current or pellets/magnets, which requires an outside source to trigger the healing response. Because it penetrates the skin, it has the strongest stimulatory effect and healing will be faster than the above methods listed.
How long are pediatric wellness visit? The first visit will last approximately an hour. Follow up visits will be approximately 15-30 minutes long.
What happens after a treatment? Depending on the complexity of your child's case and his/her sensitivity, you may see your child more energized after the treatment, sleep very well through the night, have a more stable emotional equilibrium, reduction of inflammatory conditions, more regular bowel movements, improvement in appetite -- or experience a healing crisis where your child may experience, say the eczema they're battling with, flare up and then significantly subside, or their cold symptom get worse, but see significant improvements the following day. This is called a healing crisis.
How often should we come and see you? Please consider coming for a minimum of 3 months initially for chronic conditions. At that point, we will reevaluate the progress of your child's condition and referrals may be provided if other adjunct care will improve your child's condition. For acute conditions, your child may only need one or couple visits. For wellness visits, I recommend parents bring their children in the beginning of cold/flu season, when they start school after holiday breaks, and if they are going through environmental changes or emotional upheavals at home. Holistic pediatric care will help your child transition through the seasonal, environmental, and emotional changes that occur in a child's life.
Hi Moms and Dads,
Did you know Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), is an excellent adjunct for conventional pediatric care? Asian Medicine is a complete medical system - which also includes pediatrics - in continuous practice for over 2000 years. Compared to conventional pediatric medicine, which is only about 150 years old in the way it is practiced today, Chinese Medicine was already talking about unique characteristics of children physiology as early as 400 BC. There were already significant numbers of pediatric texts by the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China.
The practice of pediatrics continues very actively today, with hospitals in China that specialize in Chinese medicine pediatric care, hospitals that combine both conventional and traditional medicine, and private Chinese medicine doctors practicing Chinese pediatric medicine. In Japan (as in my clinic), there are specialized pediatric acupuncturists that practice only shonishin, a non-needling acupuncture system, in clinics and in their private home offices.
There is a growing number of pioneering acupuncturists here in the States that are getting into pediatrics, including myself, because we know it is a much needed area that can address many aspects of pediatric care that cannot be addressed in conventional medicine. It is our focus to promote the principles of wellness, health and resolution of illness. Our strength is in viewing the body as a whole, disease prevention, recovery of health after an illness, and addressing conditions that are chronic and/or subclinical. This means conditions like colds and flu, eczema, asthma, "picky eating," slow development, tantrums and emotional instability, food sensitivities, lack of concentration, and so forth. Where western medicine would prescribe antibiotics, psychiatric drugs or steroidal creams – or worse yet, say “nothing can be done”, we Physicians of Asian Medicine prescribe Food as Medicine and dietary modifications, exercises, herbal prescriptions, heat therapy, pediatric massage and acupressure/acupuncture for illness resolution and disease prevention.
Want to try PAM for your child? Contact me! Let's see how I can help you.
For those who are ready to bring your child in for a holistic pediatric wellness visit at Iyashi Wellness, I have some Pediatric Frequently Asked Questions that will help to facilitate a smooth and stress-free first visit for you and your child.
More on Pediatric Wellness Care:
My 8-Part series on Healthy, Happy Eating that the Whole Family Can Enjoy starts here: