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Helping ADD/ADHD Children Get Well Using Safer and Natural Treatments

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Sadly, more and more children in the United States are being diagnosed with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) by their doctors. There are about 6% of girls and 11% of boys with this controversial condition according to the AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). The most common pharmaceutical drug prescribed by Western physicians for ADHD is Ritalin, a very harmful drug that has extremely adverse side effects but still given nevertheless to younger and younger children. It has been shown that between 1991 and 1995, 106% of girls and 78% of boys younger than five years old diagnosed with ADHD were prescribed with stimulants by their doctors. This alarming penchant of doctors for prescribing toxic substances to their young patients has forced many parents to seek out alternative and safer treatments for their afflicted kids.

The United States which comprises just 5% of the world’s population somehow manages to consume 90% of the Ritalin sold in the global market. In other countries, particularly, in China, the symptoms of ADHD are addressed in quite a different manner. The Chinese, for example, think that certain ADHD symptoms are actually normal behavior of preschool children and when these children start school, this behavior can be modified. Of course, some children would find it difficult to adjust and this is the time tests for ADHD are administered to them. Instead of Ritalin, Chinese herbs, food elimination tests, and allergy desensitization are used to treat ADHD as they are deemed to be safe and effective treatments for this condition.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Based on the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), ADHD is the result of Kidney Yin deficiency. To address this deficit, Chinese herbal tonics loaded with Yin energy (Qi) are usually used. The most common formulas given for ADHD include remedies containing Dioscorea opposita, root of Acori graminei, Polygala radix, bark of the Phellodendron tree, Anemarrhena radix, and Rehmannia radix. A 1987 Chinese study was done in which 325 participating children all diagnosed with ADHD ranging from the ages of four to sixteen were given Jing Ling Extract, a Chinese herbal remedy. The conductors of the study observed that around 32% of the children was cured (no sign of ADHD for six months, negative coordinate movement test, vast improvement in academic performance, and the removal of all clinical symptoms). A similar study also done in China using the same Jing Ling formula showed a 93% effectiveness rate in 103 girls and 454 boys with ages four to sixteen. The formula was administered two times a day for half a year. About 26% of these children were cured.

In 1995 another Chinese study was conducted and a 94% rate of effectiveness rate was achieved including better academic performance, better attentiveness and lessened hyperactivity when the subjects were given an herbal formula known as Tiaoshen Liquor. Another Chinese study done in 1994 involving 67 hyperkinetic kids showed an 85% effectiveness rate when these children took an herbal syrup called Yishi syrup. The children showed soft neurological signs, better school records and a major improvement in their behavior.

Chinese herbal formulas will rarely have one active herb in them. Multiple herbs are mixed into a single tonic to neutralize the side effects and boost the potency of the medicine. No available research study is available using single herbs for the treatment of ADD/ADHD; the aforementioned studies showed great promise and are worthy reasons for performing future huge controlled trials.

Allergy Desensitization

A great number of clinical data point to the fact that a significant number of ADHD/ADD cases are related to environmental and food allergies. A lot of ADHD children also seem to suffer from a weak immune system attributable to environmental toxins. Probable autoimmune reactions against the neurotransmitters and nervous system were also observed using a diagnostic procedure known as the electrodermal technique. Immune reactions due to deficiency to amino acids, vitamins and other nutrients as well as food and environmental allergies lead to neurotransmitter deficiency and nervous system dysfunction. A new treatment procedure known as BioSET technique, involves a combination of food allergy management, allergy desensitization, Enzyme treatment, and detoxification of neurotoxin has shown great promise for the treatment of ADHD. These days, the BioSET technique is almost often used during the early phase of ADHD therapy. Once the stabilization of the immune system is achieved, other modalities such as nutritional supplementation and Chinese herbal medicine are utilized to address the deficiency in the body.


Acupuncture has shown to be an excellent adjunct therapy for children with ADD/ADHD. One type of acupuncture known as ear acupuncture has provided consistent results in the treatment of this condition.

Ear acupuncture or auriculotherapy has been practiced in China for thousands of years but only in the past 50 years been the time that the entire somatotopic and microsystem maps were developed. Ear acupuncture may be used as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with body acupuncture to address the condition via the activation of acupoints using devices such as laser, electricity, or needles. Because there are now other techniques for this procedure besides the needling process, acupuncture can work fine with children. Some acupuncturists will place acupuncture beads on their young patients’ ears. A study in which seven children participated involved the attachment of beads into the subjects’ ear. The bead was massaged for half a minute thrice a day. The outcomes showed a substantial improvement in behavior, better academic performance and a reduction of the ADHD symptoms of these children.

No substantial data about the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating ADHD has been found yet although auricular acupuncture for the treatment ADHD has provided encouraging results. It is recommended that numerous clinical studies be made on auricular acupuncture for the treatment of ADD/ADHD in the near future. In 1993, the NIH has actually financed a laser acupuncture study for the treatment of this condition.

It has been shown in some clinical researches that acupuncture combined with Chinese herbs can be utilized as an alternative treatment for ADHD. Primary treatment for mild cases of the condition can include nutritional supplements (amino acid therapy), ear acupuncture, Chinese herbs and BioSET technique. For severe cases, they can be used as adjunct therapies to help lower the required drug dosage and to neutralize the side effects of the drug.

Davis Acupuncture Clinic
2043 Anderson Rd
Davis, CA 95616
(530) 400-1239

Written by Valerie

December 30th, 2014 at 2:59 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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Acupuncture for ADD

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Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing art that has been practiced in China for over 5,000 years. It helps to restore balance to the flow of vital energy known as qi and blood throughout the body.  For over four decades, acupuncture has gradually increased in popularity in the United States and now there are tens of thousands of licensed acupuncturists practicing this oriental therapy all over the union.  The huge popularity of acupuncture is reflected in the statistics of the US Food and Drug Administration which revealed that 12 million Americans have consulted with acupuncturists during the year 1993. Acupuncture is utilized to maintain and/or support good health, although there may be others who use it to relieve symptoms of ADD/ADHD as well as emotional conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Acupuncture background

A component of traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, acupuncture is often combined with other TCM modalities like meditation and Chinese herbal therapy to treat certain health conditions.  Acupuncture and the other modalities of TCM are grounded on the principle that the person’s mind and body are closely associated with each other.  TCM practitioners believe that certain parts of your body are linked by a vital energy known as Qi or Chi. This energy travels all over the body energizing the entire body in the process. Any blockages to the flow of will impact your health and give rise to disease, disorders and illnesses. Acupuncture’s objective is to restore the flow of Qi by removing the obstructions to its flow.  If you are sick, acupuncture will remove the blockages in the pathways where chi travels, helping your body to recover.

Qi travels over energy pathways known as meridians. These meridians connect to your internal organs. According to TCM, each person possesses a dozen primary meridians each associated with a certain major organ system in your body.  There are also 8 secondary meridians besides the 12 major ones. With acupuncture therapy, reed thin acupuncture needles are inserted into specific localized points to orient Qi flow through each of the concerned meridians.

There are certain suppositions on how acupuncture actually works. The two most popular theories go like these:

– when stimulated, the acupuncture points help the body produce endorphins and other “feel-good” chemicals in the body.

– the acupuncture points lie along important nerve centers in the body, and each of these points stimulates the nervous system in a unique way.

Whatever the case, the longstanding practice of acupuncture implies that it holds significant therapeutic benefits for a lot of people.

Exploring the process

The body has over 2,000 acupuncture points scattered across its surface.  The acupuncturist should be trained well enough to know what point to needle to bring about the desired outcome.  This may mean performing a uniquely TCM diagnostic process that often includes:

Questions to ascertain the patient’s health history and symptoms – the questions may be about the patient’s tolerance to cold or heat, sleep patterns and the patient’s eating habits. The answers will help the acupuncturist get a clearer understanding of the patient’s condition.

Examination of the patient’s pulse – in TCM, the pulse indicates to the acupuncturist the state of the patient’s health.  This examination is different from Western medicine wherein the doctor will merely check the speed of your pulse. The acupuncturist will determine the pulse’s rhythm and strength as well.

Examination of the patient’s tongue – TCM believes that the tongue of the patient can reveal a great deal of information about his/her health.  Therefore, the acupuncturist may want to observe it as well.

After this physical examination, the patient is asked to lie down and relax.  The acupuncturist then proceeds to insert needles in specific parts of the patient’s body. The needles should not cause pain at all. They are incredibly thin and small and so can only penetrate superficially into the skin.

If the patient feels a lot of pain when the needles are inserted, this means that the needles aren’t inserted properly. You may want to go a much more experienced acupuncturist the next time then. The most sensation you should experience is a slight pricking when a needle is inserted. The inserted needles are left in place for 20 minutes to a full hour. After that, the needles are removed and the patient can leave.

What to expect

If you are suffering from ADD/ADHD, your acupuncturist will need to concentrate on the areas important for the improvement of your condition.  The objective of acupuncture is to remove any obstacles to the flow of Qi and blood and this applies to ADD/ADHD conditions as well. This will mean getting a customized form of therapy that addresses your specific needs.

Usually it may take a number of sessions to receive any significant improvements to your ADD/ADHD symptoms. Your acupuncturist will give you an idea after your physical exams on how many sessions of acupuncture therapy you need to undergo and if there will be need for follow up treatments.

Finding a provider

Although there may be a lot of licensed acupuncturists these days, it may be difficult to find one who specializes in ADD/ADHD conditions.  You may find some helpful information from your doctor, your family and your friends especially the ones who have undergone it. You can do an online research for a licensed and specialized acupuncturist near your area.

Written by Valerie

April 18th, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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Acupuncture for ADD/ADHD

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Diagnosing a hyperactive child with ADD (attention deficit disorder) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a very controversial issue among some doctors. They argue that a lot of children in the past have this kind of characteristic and it was not really considered a type of health condition all throughout those years. Nevertheless ADHD is one of the most common conditions diagnosed in children in the United States today. In terms of gender distribution about 5% of girls and 10% of boys have this disorder. This statistic comes from the AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology).

ADD and ADHD conditions are usually addressed by very dangerous medications such as Ritalin (methylphenidate).  What’s worse this drug is now being given to younger and younger children.  These drugs have dangerous side effects and parents are wary of having their children take these types of drugs. Because of this apprehension, more and more parents now are seeking for safer, more natural and effective ADD/ADHD treatments for their children.

The addictiveness and nasty side effects of Ritalin is making this drug less and less popular especially among parents who only want natural treatments for their kids as much as possible.

These past few years, more and more people are beginning to see how acupuncture can be an ideal complementary therapy for children suffering from ADD/ADHD.  One very potent treatment is ear or auricular acupuncture. Depending on the acupuncturist, ear acupuncture can be the sole treatment for ADD/ADHD or it can be combined with body acupuncture. Acupuncture is widely known to address dozens of illnesses via the stimulation of target points on the body using reed-thin needles or with other devices such as laser or electricity. Since auricular acupuncture is a noninvasive procedure (as with all types of acupuncture procedures), using it on children is okay.

Acupuncture belongs to an oriental type of medicine called traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. This system has its own way of evaluating a patient particularly focusing on their bodies, problems and personality. ADHD treatment using TCM and acupuncture is considered a lot differently in western medicine. While western medicine views ADD/ADHD as a complex neuro-developmental disorder, TCM sees these conditions as either the result of orifice blockage by static phlegm or blood, spirit agitation by some type of heat or nourishment deficiency of the spirit. Static blood may likewise lead to poor blood flow which may result in insufficient nourishment of the spirit.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be modalities to address ADD/ADHD.  A treatment plan involving ear acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be utilized as primary treatment for children with mild ADHD. They can also serve as an adjunct therapy for extreme types in order to help lower the dosage of the medicine and lessen its effects.

The United States considers ADD/ADHD a condition and because of this it is almost the only country in the world that uses Ritalin on its children.  Most countries handle the problem very differently.  The Chinese, for example, think that certain ADD/ADHD symptoms are normal characteristics of the way many preschool children behave. As the child ages by 6 or 7 years old, his behavior can change. In cases where behavior became worse, the child is given tests for ADD/ADHD.  Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are usually the primary option for children with these problems simply because these therapies are very safe for children.  For more than 3 decades, countless clinical trials have been done to see how Chinese herbs alone can treat ADD/ADHD children and the results have been encouraging so far.

Parents who are interested in trying out acupuncture treatment for ADD/ADHD for their children should talk to a licensed acupuncturist or a licensed TCM practitioner, preferably one who specializes in ADD/ADHD treatment. The good news is that many health insurance companies now cover full or partial costs of acupuncture treatments.

Written by Valerie

March 28th, 2014 at 7:36 am

Posted in Acupuncture

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