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Stress disorders the immune system, even of children. Alternative medicine may help prevent coughs and colds.
 
A paediatrician in infectious diseases, Dr Micheal Cantwell is a lead integrative medicine physician at the Health & Healing Clinic, California Pacific Medical Centre, San Francisco. He is a board certified paediatrician and a specialist in paediatric infectious diseases. He calls himself a ?whatever works doc.?   His combination of medical training and open-mindedness will dispel any worries about the mysteries or risks of alternative medicine for children. ?To be effective, you need to approach the child holistically.? says Cantwell, ?Consider the mental or emotional overlay to the disease and address that first, since that?s where the disease may originate.?
 
Stress, for example, is one of the things that can imbalance the immune system. So if a child is coming down with a cold, it may be worth teaching him or her a relaxation therapy. As Muslims we should encourage children to engage in Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah, Almighty), Tilaawah (recitation of the Quraan) and Salawaat (conferring salutations) upon Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Supporting the body is not the same as taking an antibiotic ? there is no quick fix. Learning to relax properly takes more time than popping an antibiotic.
 
 
A low risk option
 
Cantwell is reassuring about the risks of alternative medicine. It is true that there has not been a lot of scientific study of most alternative therapies, especially in the treatment of children, but Cantwell says that using them presents few risks, ?Nobody is going to die from an overdose of guided imagery or craniosacral therapy,? he says, ?Even most herbs are fine as long as you consult a practitioner or a reference book for the proper dosage.
 
Some of these treatments may be better suited to children than adults. Young people may be more responsive because their immune systems haven?t yet been compromised by years of disease or abuse. According Dr Guy Asgburner, an osteopath in Cape Town, the younger the patient the better in regards Osteopathy, which taps into the body?s own self-correcting mechanisms. He explains, ?Children are like bent twigs because they?re still growing. If we intervene early, we could remove a potential lifelong problem.?
 
 
It?s your choice

You can ask your family paediatrician to work with an alternative medicine practitioner of your choice. A doctor should be at the top of what is happening in all of medicine. It?s your right as a parent to feel good about your child?s medical care. Do not be pressured into accepting a treatment you are not comfortable with. You know your child best.
 
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