Friday, November 11, 2011

A TCM Perspective On a 3 Year-Old's Anxiety

Yesterday, I took Ari to see my acupuncturist. I was at the acupuncture clinic the other day, and I saw a sign that said "Pediatric Shift, Thursdays." So I thought, what the hell? I made an appointment for him, thinking that acupuncture might help with his insomnia, which he still has, and with his level of anxiety, which seems to be high.

I don't have any pictures of the session, because during the appointment I was much more concerned with keeping Ari calm than photographing him.

When we got to the clinic, Ari was asleep. He had been to art class that morning, and he was worn out. Ironically, the reason we were going for acupuncture was for sleep issues, and here he was zonked out!

I strolled him into the exam room, and Samara and I (the awake ones) met his practitioners, Heather and Rachel. Heather, Rachel and I discussed Ari's sleep issues, he's been crawling out of the crib since 18 months of age, he hates going to sleep at night, whether or not he naps during the day he still goes to sleep and 10pm. They were really nice, and to make Ari feel more comfortable, they removed their white lab coats for when he decided to wake up. Meanwhile, Samara was playing with a metallic space blanket on the floor.

When Ari came to, Heather gave him some paper and highlighters to draw with. Samara continued to try to destroy the space blanket with no success.

Heather and Rachel attempted to get Ari to show them his tongue, for examination, but he adamantly refused and closed his eyes, pretending to go back to sleep while holding the paper and highlighters.

Then, Melanie, the supervisor came in. She was able to convince him to stick his tongue out. She said, based on his tongue coat and color, that he had a lot of heat in his body, and his digestion was aggravated. From examining him, she determined that his diet needed to change.
This was further confirmed when I told her that his diet consists primarily of peanut butter and honey sandwiches and chocolate milk. Granted the bread is whole grain and organic, and the peanut butter are also organic, but still, it's not the most nutritious meal on the planet. After his exam, Melanie said the following:

"You know what you can do? Get some beef bones and boil them for 24 hours in a soup, give him a cup of broth every day, for a week. And sneak vegetables into every meal you can. Make cookies and hide nutritious things in them! He needs to get away from eating all this starch. It's making him more anxious. Change his diet, and I guarantee you'll see a big change in his behavior. Also, give him omega 3's, like cod liver oil, daily. It will help his mood, and his dry skin."

While she was giving me nutritional advice, Melanie massaged Ari's legs and feet hitting various acupressure points for digestion and anxiety.

She decided that since it was his first session, she would skip the needling for today. We may revisit acupuncture points with needles next session.

In the mean time, I'm trying Melanie's dietary suggestions, and hoping for the best. The Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective is very different from what the pediatrician recommends for sleep problems. TCM looks at the overall picture of health, rather than attributing sleep issues to behavioral problems.

Have you ever taken your kid to see an acupuncturist? Would you?


  1. Interesting... Definitely sounds like good advice on the

  2. I haven't, but I agree with the heat in the body thing. We've taken at different times, both of our kids to an Ayurvedic specialist. The girl child, actually just last week, because she has always had reflux, and is constantly sick (she had tubes put in last year, as you recall). She gets RSV every time she's sick, which isn't normal. The Ayurvedic specialist told me that she runs hot too, and it makes sense. She said not to give them so many vitamins, especially ones that are oils (too much oil is hard on the liver because it isn't fat soluble), rather focus on the foods that are high in vitamins, and also gave us transdermal creams (like a Vitamin D3, because it doesn't have to hit the liver to be absorbed). The beef broth makes much more sense, because the fat globules are broken up molecularly, and are much more easily absorbed. I asked specifically about omegas, and she said concentrate on foods high in omegas (she named walnuts specifically, and told me to stay away from flax for her, since she runs hot and her liver was basically on fire right now). She also said to stay away from hard cheeses and yogurt (too hard to digest), especially in the winter. She's pretty well known, and Ayurveda has a long history of success. I have free prerecorded teleconfrences that she's done, if you're interested. I know it's hard, my kids would live on peanut butter and carbs if I let them. And carbs are an important part of a kid's diet. It gives them the energy they need. We're also big on smoothies (smoovies as she calls them), which we put a green foods powder in. Also, we used this same practitioner for the Mini when he was 16 months old, when I first noticed his delays. I credit a large part of her regimen to his healing, and even though he still has a label, unless I specifically told you, you wouldn't ever know he was "on the spectrum." (If he was tested today, he wouldn't even get an ASD diagnosis). You can email me if you want to talk more. Use my name with gmail, it'll get to me faster.


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