Wholistic pediatrics and Asperger's Syndrome
from the viewpoint of chinese medicine
Already since my training and first occupation as occupational therapist I asked myself and my teachers profound questions. I wanted to gain a deeper knowledge about: What are the true reasons for developmental retardations and sensory integration disorders? Why are children hyperactive, unconcentrative or autistic? I started to study the wholistic medicine, turned into a naturopath and acupuncturist.
I found many answers in the traditional chinese medicine. For example - did you know, that an assumed learning disability could also be generated by phlegm-producing foods? Or did you know that hyperactivity can be caused by so-called "hidden pathogenic factors" that can remain in the body after a certain illness such as a cold? The chinese medicine has understood these correlations differentiated and detailed. Through the precise knowledge of the causes it is possible to treat and cure in a profound way.
Since working with acupuncture in the therapy of children I found impressive outcomes in the treatment of children with the dianose "early childhood autism" or "asperger's autism". Within five to ten acupuncture treatments, that take part once to twice a week, I can report a significant improvement of their behaviour.
Julian Scott, a well known children acupuncturist from Great Britain writes: "From time to time we are asked if acupuncture can be helpful here. The answer is definitive yes. We could help all children enormous that were brought to us with "autism".
What is Asperger's autism from the point of view of the chinese medicine?
From the point of view of the chinese medicine the causes for Asperger's autism are multifactorial: first we can differentiate between the physical and the emotional factors. But there are also physical factors that can have an effect on the psyche. In this article I want to write about three common etiologys: suppressed anger, birth trauma and remaining pathogenic factor.
Suppressed anger: This pattern has its origin in the early childhood. Maybe the child had experiences that showed him that it's not good to show his emotions. For example the parents find the emotion anger undesirable and divert the childs attention to something else. Or they punish the child for being angry. So the child encloses the anger inside. In the next stage the child seems sad or apathic to us. The longer this state of mind exists, the harder it will be for the child to open up again. The regression is evolving to a habit.
In this case an acupuncture treatment can lead to a quick improvement, because it is possible to move the stagnated feelings and dissolve them. The anger comes out like a clearing thunderstorm and in the same moment the child is able to get into closer contact.
Birth trauma: As example a child that was stuck in the birth canal. In this moment there is the physical and the emotional factor: the physical factor is that the child is eventually stuck for hours in a very uncomfortable position "... while the head is pressed with the full power of the contractions of the womb against the birth canal. (...) When the Qi in the head is not in a gentle flow, the child suffers from a more or less permanent headache and wishes to hide from normal contact."* The emotional factor during the birth process is also massive. The child that is connected to the mother emotionally experiences this situation supposably as frightening and threatening. So the child retreats into his shell.
In this case the acupuncture should be acompanied with a gentle manual therapy, like craniosacral osteopathy.
Remaining pathogenic factor: What is the meaning of remaining pathogenic factor? From the view of chinese medicine it can happen that after a certain illnes a pathogenic factor (for example wind, cold, heat) remains in the body as a hidden pathogene. This can appear through different symptoms: chronical eczema, developmental retardation, chronical infections and fatigue.
A controversely discussed theme that is connected to remaining pathogenic factors are the vaccinations. From the point of view of the chinese medicine every vaccination is the "entering of a hot toxine" into the organism. Depending of the constitution of the individuum this pathogenic factor is faught effectively or ineffectively. In the last case the toxine remains in the body as a "hidden pathogene" and causes the mentioned symptoms. Recent esearch investigations from Great Britain and the USA** show a possible connection between the MMR Vaccination and autism. In many cases children turned out to show autistic behaviour verifiable after having the MMR vaccination. Here the acupuncture can help to divert the pathogenic factor.
Acupuncture without needle - the gentle treatment of children: For the gentle treatment of children it is possible to use different treatment techniques. The children usually show a good compliance to these treatments like: Laser acupuncture, acupressure, chinese meridian massage (Tuina), japanese children acupuncture (Shonishin - a method where meridians and acupressure points are treated with a special acupressure tool) and Phonophorese (treating the acupuncture points with tuning forks). In some cases it can be important to work with needles, but this affects only some symptoms or indications.
"My child has Asperger's syndrome. Should he be treated with acupuncture techniques?"
Acupuncture can lead to surprising outcomes in the healing of developmental retardations and Asperger's syndrome. It is always worthwile to consult an experienced acupuncturist to conduct a chinese medicine diagnostic.
*Julian Scott, Teresa Barlow: "Akupunktur in der Behandlung von Kindern", VgM
** Julian Scott, Teresa Barlow: "Akupunktur in der Behandlung von Kindern", VgM and "Autism made in the USA" (documentary)
Interesting Documentary (German Subtitles): "Autism made in the USA"