Childhood is a vital time for healthy development and learning. The transition to adolescence is a time the body is going through rapid changes in a relatively short period of time. The teen years are a crucial period for establishing positive health and social behaviours.
With such significant changes throughout this period revealing different developmental patterns, the journey can be challenging for both young people and primary carers.
Research has shown that complementary medicine in Australia is utilised extensively, with 1 in 2 adults serving their use, yet children were less likely to be taken to see a complimentary medical (CAM) practitioner such as a Naturopath (Lucas, S., Kumar, S., & Leach,2015).
One study draws the attention to this and shares that many parents prescribe CAM medicines themselves for their children, buying them over the counter (Robinson,N., Blair, M., & Lorenc ,A., et al.,2015).
It is understandable that Parents and Carers are looking for something more than the orthodox model of care, yet it appears there is an explicit need to understand how Naturopathy can be used in the paediatric population.
Some reasons you may bring your child or teen in to see a Naturopath:
- Attention deficit problems
- Allergies and Asthma
- Colds and Flu (especially in winter!)
- Fussy eaters
- Growing pains
- Study stress
- Upset tummies
How can Naturopaths support children?
Because each child has their own health and wellbeing needs, Naturopaths specialised in Paediatric Care can support children to thrive to their fullest potential.
Treatments may include:
- Nutritional and dietary support
- Nutritional supplements
- Herbal medicines
- Flower essence
- Stress management
From the food they eat, the water they drink, to the environmental pollutants and toxins they absorb, and to their thoughts, each child has their own manifestation of wellness and illness. This is because of the unique way in which their individual biochemical and genetic makeup interacts with everything they are exposed to on a daily basis.
Naturopaths see the WHOLE child (body, mind, emotions, spirit and, relationship with others) and place an emphasis on finding the root cause of any presenting problems. They listen to parent's and carer's concerns and preferences and choose from a variety of specialised treatments validated by recent evidence-based medicine and traditional methods.
Teens are not yet young adults from a Biological standpoint. Their brains still function quite differently and when entering puberty, the brain goes through a rapid growth spurt and hormones rapidly change. The teen years are a time when many chronic illnesses are first diagnosed because these rapid changes mean that health concerns may arise for the first time. This is a time when healthy habits are vital to support long term wellbeing.
By the time children reach adolescence, the nutritional patterns for their lifetimes have been established, making it even more important for your teen to gain nutritional education and counselling.
As Naturopaths, we want to enhance the curious and creative minds of young people by helping them make good decisions that will not contribute to long term health issues and may help prevent the progression of many ailments in the future.
Some conditions we support can support in teens:
- Acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions
- Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder
- Digestive complaints – stomach pain, IBS, nausea, constipation, diarrhea
- Fatigue and low energy
- Headaches and migraines
- Hormonal imbalances
- Hypothyroid and hyperthyroid
- Insomnia and sleep disorders
By prioritising optimal nutrition and healthy development during the early stage of life we can enhance the health of our growing people.
Feriyal Glaidous is a qualified naturopath and herbalist with more than a decade of knowledge and practice working with teens as a youth worker. Feriyal has a special interest in treating young people of all ages. Her empathetic and quirky nature instils playfulness and confidence when providing advice and discovering solutions for health concerns.
Lucus S, Kumar S, Leach M. 2015. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in children: research opportunities and challenges in an ever growing feld. Australian Journal of Herbal Medicine 27(4):136-141
Robinson N, Blair M, Lorenc A, Gully N, Fox P, Mitchell K. 2008. Complementary medicine use in multi-ethnic paediatric outpatients. Complement Ther Clin Pract 14:17-24.
Surette S, Vanderjagt L, Vohra S. 2013. Surveys of complementary and alternative medicine usage: a scoping study of the paediatric literature. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 21(1):S48-S53.