Food allergies are on the rise and are most prevalent in preschool children. The increasing number of children with food intolerances and allergies means that there is also an increasing need for effective treatments, and that’s where acupuncture comes in.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common problems associated with childhood food allergies, and discuss how acupuncture could help.
One of the major reasons why childhood food allergies are on the rise is the way that food is now manufactured, preserved, refrigerated, and transported.
While it is generally considered an advantage that we now have access to foods from all over the world, all year round, this unnatural way of eating can have serious repercussions for our digestive health. This is especially true for children, whose digestive systems are less well developed than adults and may be more sensitive to the wide variety of foods which are now available.
To add to the problem, many modern foods are highly processed and contain artificial additives which are difficult for young children’s bodies to cope with.
Recent articles in the media are demonstrating the serious nature of food allergies and raising awareness, but many people still do not understand just how dangerous a food allergy can be.
Food sensitivities can range from mild intolerances which may cause digestive disturbances and changes in mood, to severe allergies which cause acute inflammation and symptoms such as rashes, wheezing, coughing, or vomiting. In some cases, this can lead to anaphylactic shock which causes the airways to swell and, left untreated, is potentially fatal.
However, there are many more possible allergens out there and the only way to know for sure what a child is allergic to is through rigorous testing. Food allergies often go hand in hand with asthma and eczema, complicating the issue even further.
One of the biggest mysteries surrounding food allergies is how they vary by country. There does not appear to be a clear correlation between prevalence of allergies and geographical location or how developed a country is.
Since we still do not know exactly why some people develop food allergies, suitable treatments can be elusive and those that do exist only address the symptoms, not the cause.
For adults, having a food allergy can be inconvenient, but for children it is so much more.
The disappointment of repeatedly being told they cannot have a particular food, coupled with a lack of understanding can eventually lead to anger, resentment, and frustration. Children with allergies may also grow up with feelings of worry or fear surrounding food, either due to their own experiences or conditioning from their parents.
Food allergies can even lead to feelings of social exclusion, as children may not be allowed to eat at their friends’ homes or attend parties for fear of triggering a reaction. This link has been confirmed by research which shows that children with allergies have higher levels of general and social anxiety compared with healthy children.
Treating children with allergies is a unique opportunity to have a lasting impact on an entire family’s quality of life.
Not only can acupuncture calm the acute symptoms of an allergy flare, but it can also help to reduce the risk of reactions in the future. Many people assume that an allergy is for life, but this is not always the case. Many children eventually grow out of their allergies, and acupuncture may help to speed up this process.
In Chinese medicine terms, an allergic reaction is seen as a pathogenic invasion, but there is also often an underlying deficiency which allows this to happen. By looking at the constitutional nature of a person rather than the food substance itself, you have the ability to address the root cause of an allergy as well as the symptoms.
Treatments can be geared towards reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system, and TCM dietary wisdom is a great way to assess appropriate foods based on the person, not the allergy. Following acupuncture treatment, parents often report that their children sleep better, have increased energy, and other symptoms often resolve too. A great result for the child themselves and the whole family!
To learn more about treating children with acupuncture and dietary advice:
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