Green Pediatrics For A Healthier Child

Dr. Lawrence Rosen created a philosophy of whole child care. Some people have named this philosophy Green Pediatrics.  In his model children are more than just physical beings, which is true. Just like the rest of us they have a mind, a body, and a spirit. All of which are important to the whole. Just as someone who suffers mentally have issues in other spectrums, so do our children.

Green pediatricians believe that a child’s health is not just dependent on their physical state, but also how they interact with their parents, family and community.  And all those systems have an impact on the child’s health. To me this makes a lot of sense.  Environment is just as important, if not more important than genetics in many cases.  There is a reason for the saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” A child is raised by all the elements in their lives from schools, to doctors, the parents, and all the way down to the social groups they end up participating in.

While the philosophy behind the practice is important, what impresses me the most about this method is the how a green pediatrician handles the child’s health.  The focus is on preventative and natural treatment. There is a large focus on letting the body create its own defense and only incorporating outside chemicals (medications) when absolutely necessary.  Rosen tells it like it is when he says that there are no magic pills or quick fixes in medicine. And that’s a lie that we’ve been fed by big pharma and Western medicine for years.

These integrative pediatricians are searching for healthier ways to treat the symptoms of childhood illnesses. And while it is great to have the newest tech, they are realizing that they have to have a gentler touch. These doctors are now realizing that sometimes it takes a simpler touch. Yes, it’s great to have the high tech tools and medicines if you need them, but they are not always needed.

Diet and Holistic Treatment

The emphasis is on more holistic therapies where possible. This is where occupational therapy, horse therapy, water therapy, psychology, and even reiki are being used by some of these doctors. All of this is in an attempt to keep the body from being harmed by unnecessary toxic contamination in the form of pills or other interventions.  They are putting greater emphasis on nutrition and diet as well. And it all makes sense. How can we treat a sick body when we keep feeding it foods that will only make it sicker?

Let me give you an example. I have two cousins who have a number of developmental issues. At one point both of them were really sick.  Their mom eventually started going for more natural foods for her children. It started with driving two hours to Louisville just to find a health food store (Indiana isn’t known for its health and they live in the boonies). Eventually she bought them chickens and a goat to keep as pets and they harvested their own eggs and milk. They don’t feed the goats or chickens antibiotics or chemicals unless absolutely necessary.

And you know what happened? The girls became healthier as their body managed to eject the toxins. They weren’t allergic to the processed foods per se, but their bodies simply couldn’t function optimally on sub par nutrition. Now it’s great that she had the money to do that, but where does that leave the rest of us? The answer is doing the best we can with what we have and making as many adjustments or investments as we can afford to.  It’s a process, but one that is well worth it.

And those are just two hallmarks of green pediatrics. First, a turn away from using medication for every single cough or sniffle and, second, an emphasis on nutrition as a means of preventing chronic illness.

I love this for Freya. We go to a green nurse practitioner and she’s actually better than just about any doctor I’ve ever met….and I’ve met a lot of doctors over the years due to my mother’s health issues. She listens to our concerns. She is willing to work with us. Best of all, she wants Freya’s immune system to do the work, rather than a medicine, whenever possible.

Vaccines

This is a topic of debate even for green pediatricians. Some believe that you should and some believe that you shouldn’t. In the end you have to weigh your options, do the research, and determine what is best for your family.

I personally believe that vaccines are not evil in and of themselves. I think that mumps, measles, rubella, are all necessary. I don’t necessarily think that the flu or chickenpox vaccines are a good idea however. Those are constantly changing bugs that we are only making stronger through continuous intervention. Not to mention, I’ve had horrible luck with the flu vaccine. Every time I’ve had it I’ve gotten the flu and it always seems worse than the years I haven’t gotten the vaccine.

My personal issue with vaccines is the lack of research on how multiple vaccinations interact with one another. There are some states that schedule three or four vaccines for one visit. Not only are our bodies not designed to fend off so many problems at once, but the interactions between most of these vaccines have never been tested. We know they are safe by themselves, but we have no clue what they do in our bodies when combined. Worse yet, there is enough anecdotal evidence concerning vaccine injuries that we should be worried about these un-researched interactions. That is why we do our best to split up Freya’s shots, even if that means an extra appointment.

Still, I want to highlight a potential drawback of vaccines, if for no other reason than to make you aware that they exist.

1.The rise in vaccines. Vaccines are sometimes considered medicine’s greatest lifesaver. And while they have been used to eradicate or control many contagious diseases, we’ve added lesser diseases to the list. Some of this is in an attempt to see what we can quick fix and some of it is to keep kids from missing school quite as often.  However did you know that when most of us parents were little we were given no more than ten to fifteen vaccines? Or did you know that in the last twenty years that number has risen to, on average, forty nine doses of vaccines before the age of six? It’s a big jump and often an unnecessary one.

The chart below is an image from Growing Up Green. It shows the differences between a child vaccinated in 1983 and one vaccinated in 2007.

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It’s a big jump. You can see the current schedule on the CDC website.

2. There are some advocates that are worried that too many vaccines can cause even more health problems. If you look at the list above, you might assume that we have the healthiest children in the world, but the sad truth is that the opposite is true. Even more so, in other countries doctors have proven, even in a court of law, that vaccines are not necessary, just useful tools. And one of my favorite health websites, Mercola, posted this article, which also shares the potential dangers of vaccine.

3.While rare vaccine injuries and adverse reactions do exist. Very few parents seem to realize this and even less do research on the topic. Unfortunately our current system fails to realize that each child is different and doesn’t take into account other health concerns related to their past or current issues. Just as we don’t expect our children to fit in a one size fits all mold for anything else, we shouldn’t expect that to work here. Dr. Rosen has been advocating for prescreening children (not sure how) to make sure that the vaccine schedule meets their individual needs and concerns.

Normal vaccine side effects include fever and irritation. More extreme reactions to watch out for are anaphylactic reaction, rashes and swelling, extreme sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, behavior change, convulsions and shock. In the most extreme cases children with vaccine injuries have gone from normally functioning toddlers to being unable to walk or speak, but this is VERY rare.

If your child ever experiences any of these more extreme reactions, the CDC recommends that you call the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System by phone 800-822-7967 or online at www.haers.hhs.gov And for more information on contradictions to vaccines, see the CDC”s contradictions to vaccines chart on their website.

4. Some vaccines contain additives and preservatives that should raise concern. While they are used to stabilize, prevent germ growth, and prevent spoilage, some of these ingredients greatly concern me as they have been linked to other health issues. Aluminum is used to help stimulate the growth of antibodies. However, it has been suggested that it may toxic to the neurological, respiratory, reproductive, and cardiovascular system. It’s also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Antibiotics are used, which we all know that overuse of antibiotics can lead to resistance later in life when our bodies have greater need of them. Egg protein, which little children can be allergic to is found in vaccines as is formaldehyde, which kills unwanted bacteria. Some vaccines even have MSG, which has been linked to several health issues. Vaccines can even contain mercury, to which it has been determined there are no safe levels of mercury contamination.

All of these issues make me very cautious to use some vaccinations. It makes me want to do a lot more research into the recommended vaccinations my child is going to be receiving in the future. We all need to be careful and ask to read the insert in those vaccine boxes. You may meet resistance, but that may mean you don’t have a green doctor or a doctor willing to listen to your concerns. Never forget that you are a consumer buying a product. If you aren’t happy with the practice, find another one. Until we know the full effect of these vaccination cocktails on our children’s delicate and immature immune systems, we should all use caution.  Don’t be intimidated and stand your ground if you have any concerns about your child’s health. That’s our job as parents.

There are too many doctors who are more concerned with protecting themselves than the potential hazards some interventions may pose to our children.

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