If homeopathy here in the United States has a leader at all, it has to be Dana Ullman! Chances are the first book you bought on homeopathy was by Dana Ullman. Chances are the first introductory course you bought on tape or CD was by Dana Ullman, and chances are if you ordered homeopathic books from a catalogue, it was Dana’s! The books Dana has written include, Everybody’s Guide to Homeopathic Medicines, Homeopathic Medicines for Children and Infants, and Homeopathy A-Z. There are 7 books in all as of this writing and I dare say there will be more. As a matter of fact, Dana created the curriculum in homeopathy for Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona! Unfortunately, Dana couldn’t be with us tonight…. Ha-ha! Just kidding!
Dana, you’ve written a book about treating children with homeopathy. (And before I go any further, let me give out your website: www.Homeopathic.com)
As I was saying, I find it hard to convince parents that their children aren’t being as well-served by their pediatrician as they might think! Do you have any suggestions on how to talk to parents about homeopathy?
Before I answer, let me just say, hi Elaine, and thanks for having me here. “First, do no harm” was Hippocrates’ most famous words, and they are particularly important in the care and treatment of infants and children. Most people don’t know it, but most conventional drugs are tested on adults, and then, doctors estimate (or guess-timate) the appropriate dosage for children on such crude measures as a child’s weight. Worst still, in the United States, approximately 20% of pediatric visits leads to a prescription of more than one drug at a time. Once a second drug is given to a child, the doctor is not prescribing based on any research at all because the original research was not conducted with multiple drugs, the doctor doesn’t know the interactions of the drugs together.
The fact that so many conventional doctors are experimenting on our children is truly horrifying, and yet, few people and few doctors are sounding the alarm.
It is quite fascinating that so many children are fearful of their doctor, and I believe that these children are more sensitive and aware of the problems that doctors are creating than we adults realize. It is quite rare for children to experience this same degree of fear when they enter the office of a homeopath.
The number one reason that parents bring their children to a homeopath is because homeopathic medicines are so much safer than conventional medicines.
The second main reason that parents bring their children to homeopaths is that children respond so well to homeopathic medicines. You can really change a child’s life, both physically and psychologically, with the correct homeopathic remedy. And you can help make a parent’s life much easier and much better.
I should also mention that I have a special place in my heart for pediatric care. My father is a pediatrician, and I am a father myself. In preparation for fatherhood, I wrote Homeopathic Medicines for Children and Infants, which is the most popular guidebook in America for teaching parents how to treat their children with homeopathic medicines.
How do children respond to homeopathic remedies?
Children respond extremely well to homeopathic remedies, even when the perfect medicine is not always prescribed. It is as though the intelligence in their body is so high that their internal radar is scanning for any energetic medicine that is even close to being the best one. Famed astronomer Johann Kepler once said, “Nature uses as little as possible of anything.” The fact that children respond so well to homeopathic medicines is one further example of this.
I wish I had known that before consuming an entire bowl full of chocolate mousse! Anyway Dana, the homeopathic case-taking with children, what is that like?
I call homeopathy “Dragnet medicine,” named after the popular American detective television show from the 50’s: Who, what, why, where, when? These are the questions that chief detective Sgt. Joe Friday continually asked. “Just the facts, ‘mam” is what he insisted upon, he didn’t want any theories, only facts.
I talk to the child as much as possible, and only later do I talk with the parent.
I watch the child, both in the waiting room, as she or he approaches me, and throughout the interview. I have a lot of respect for children, and I try to show them this respect by talking directly to them, and usually in a quite adult fashion. If they are at least four years of age, I can carry on some type of interview with them. If so, I ask them:
- What hurts the most?
- What things make the pain worse and what things make the pain better?
- What other “hurts” do you have and what makes those worse or better?
- I then do a “body scan” in which I list a specific part of their body, and they tell me if they have been having any symptoms with that part of their body.
The following questions help me understand the child:
- Describe yourself a couple of years ago.
- How might your brothers and sisters describe you?
- How would one of your friends describe you?
- How would one of your enemies describe you?
- These questions help the child to distance him or herself from their reply in order to provide a more accurate picture.
- I ask them what is the worst punishment their parents could ever give them.
For children who can’t talk, I observe them and ask many of these same questions to the child’s parents. I also ask the parent:
- What does your child seem to value most?
- What emotions does the child seem to experience and how are they expressed?
- Tell me about the pregnancy and labor.
- One really stark difference between homeopaths and regular pediatricians is the way the pediatrician will rush in with drugs to stop a fever and consequently, most parents are terrified when their child gets a fever!
Most often, one needs to treat the parent’s anxieties and fears more than the child’s fever! The best way to treat these fears is with education about the wisdom of the body and about fever as an important defense. I say this because physicians and physiologists today recognize that fever is a useful response of the person’s body to infection. While it is true that certain high or long-lasting fevers need to be treated or suppressed in some way, such fevers represent an extreme minority of fevers in children.
I am quite concerned about the overuse of conventional drugs to lower fevers. Homeopaths assert that a lot of chronic disease is created when acute illness is suppressed.
I am often amazed at how well and how fast homeopathic medicines work in fevers. Because a fever is a defense, the body will make good use of additional tools that it is given to help in its defense. This is distinct from conventional drugs, especially anti-inflammatory drugs that ultimately are obstacles to the true cure.
I can and will refer the child for immediate medical treatment if fever is experienced in newborns (within first 4 months) that does not respond to homeopathic treatment within two hours, or if a fever in any child is over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees F) and doesn’t respond to home treatment after 6 hours, or if high fever in any child leads to great lethargy and neck stiffness.
Dana, children seem to get a lot of ear infections and, of course, antibiotics are the only treatment offered. Is there anything wrong with this?
Antibiotics may have a place in treating ear infections but not necessarily as a treatment of first choice. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidelines for the use of antibiotics in acute ear infections in children is actually that they should be avoided for the first three months. It may surprise some people to learn that a meta-analysis of the best studies on ear infection (British Medical Journal, 1997, 87:pp.466-74) found no benefit in using antibiotics as compared to placebo!
To make matters worse, some evidence suggests that administration of antibiotics leads to three times the number of ear infections as those children left untreated. Part of the problem with antibiotics is a basic premise of healing that is commonly ignored; that is, anytime you get something done for the body, the body doesn’t learn to do it on its own, or at least not as well.
In the U.S, it is too common that antibiotics are prescribed to newborns, even for simply having a reddened ear. The long-term consequences are unknown and scary. This over-prescribing of antibiotics for both newborns and any child is a part of what I call “medical child abuse.” I look forward to the day that homeopathy gains more respect and is added into the medicine chest of more parents and doctors.
What can homeopathy do for ear infections?
Homeopathy is magnificent for the treatment of ear infections. It is often as simple as ABC + P: Aconitum, Belladonna, Chamomilla, & Pulsatilla…with less common use of Mercurius, Mercurius iodatus flavus., Mercurius iodatus ruber, Hepar sulphur, and Silicea. Results are often rapid, but even when they aren’t, it seems as though these children still aren’t getting as many ear infections as those for whom antibiotics are prescribed.