Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Your Child

Baby with doctor.

When deciding if CAM treatments are best for your child, be sure to thoroughly research the treatment and clear it with your child’s doctor, before starting a regimen.

Although traditional medications and remedies are the go-to choice for most parents, recently there has been a shift in perceptions regarding other less popular forms of healing. Many people are now looking into complementary and alternative medicines (referred to as CAM).

When a child is experiencing problems, most parents want to ease their suffering, any way they can. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 12% of American children (younger than age 18) have used or been given a complementary health product or practice.

Complementary and alternative medicines are basically any healing practices not part of mainstream medicine, and are not widely taught in medical schools. What really sets CAM apart is its focus on treating the whole person, including spiritual and emotional needs, not just the physical needs. There are four general areas of CAM care.

4 Types of CAM Care Include:

  • biologically based practices, such as herbal remedies, vitamins and supplements, foods, teas and extracts. Beware, these are not regulated by the FDA.
  • manipulative and body-based practices, such as massage therapy. These practices are based on manipulations and movements of the body to aid in healing.
  • mind-body medicine, such as prayer, meditation, yoga, and music therapy. These practices are thought to influence the mind’s ability to affect the physical body.
  • energy medicine, such as acupuncture, which is believed to work off of energy fields surrounding and penetrating the body.

Though CAM care is becoming more widespread, it is important to note that the majority of practices are not yet covered by insurance, because so few studies have demonstrated solid conclusions regarding their effectiveness.

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However, there are new centers for integrative medicines, which offer both traditional and alternative treatments; and they may even be covered by some insurance carriers. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), located at the National Institute of Health (NIH), is currently the lead agency in scientific research of CAM.

What do you think?

Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Your Child

Tell us what you think!

9 comments

  1. Profile photo of LIZ says:

    very important info tnx

  2. Profile photo of gfeld gfeld says:

    Some people take alternative medicine too far though. They forget that its their child and they are responsible whatever will happen if it takes a wrong turn, heaven forbid. Then they may regret it, so why risk it to begin with?

  3. Profile photo of EbyMom EbyMom says:

    I believe there is nothing wrong with traditional medicine just check the ones you give your little ones that is all. Doctors visits is also important to keep them safe.

  4. Profile photo of Tola Tola says:

    I think CAM has its place, you just have to do your research and be well informed. Before modern medicine, there was traditional medicine….

  5. Profile photo of Destiny Destiny says:

    I have only taken my daughter to the dr once other than well visits. the well visits stopped before she was 6 months and i would not let them give her any shots. I had no experience with ear infections before that dr visit. now that i know what the problem is I know how to prevent/treat it at home. I have been learning herbal remedies on my own for years now and have a close group of people that I go to for consult. my daughter has never had another ear infection.

  6. For the most part I tend to go to the dr’s but there are a couple things I do that I think would classify in this section as being a CAM. I use essential oils for colds and constipation(I would use them for more things but I haven’t had the opportunity to buy any more). I also use massage on my baby when she isn’t feeling well. I believe reflexology and foot mapping are great for helping with certain symptoms and wish I knew how to do more than I do now so I could help my little one at a greater capacity

  7. Profile photo of Nat Nat says:

    because so many CAM treatments can be found in your own back yard and don’t make drug companies big $$$ they will never have any testing done and hence the FDA can touch them…so these are really poor excuses to not try. Most drugs on the market started out as natural plant extracts that the drug companies “found” away to make synthetically so they can patent them to make big money. Yes plants can have strong compounds in them but if everybody was taught to respect the power in nature as past civilizations did this would be less of an issue. Even your everyday natural whole foods are very capable of healing, the saying “you are what you eat” is very true, and there are many studies that prove that!

    • Profile photo of Melanie DenneyEditor Melanie Denney says:

      Agreed, “you are what you eat”. I often wonder why it is popular to treat ailments with questionable, synthetic ingredients.

      • Profile photo of gfeld gfeld says:

        Sure thing! Well said. I would try natural if possible at first. If there is no improvement then I would turn to traditional meds. My dr also likes alternative natural methods of healing which is great. Most drs won’t stand for them.

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