Thursday, February 19, 2009

Book Review: Keeping Your Child Healthy With Chinese Medicine

My sister had a baby last year, the first one in our lot to do so, and for the last year I have been pre-occupied with pediatrics. As we've noted in some of our past posts, Chinese medicine is very effective at treating most childhood illnesses with little to no side effects. Since we are focused on the physiology and not just the disease, we can help the little ones recover from their diseases at the same time as correct the physiological imbalance that brought on the symptoms in the first place.

I understand that when a child is sick, however, that a parent would want to do everything they can to make sure their child gets better. We are taught in the US that the only way to cure diseases is to take drugs prescribed by a medical doctor. What if we could save those medicines for when they are truly absolutely necessary, making them more effective in turn, and instead adopt a model of graduated care where parents can be consulted to treat their children naturally first and allopathically when needed.

This would require teaching consumers of medicine of all the things that Chinese medicine can successfully do for them and their kids. Being in school for the last four years, and surrounding myself with other students and doctors of the medicine by default, makes it easy to forget that we use a completely different language to describe the anatomy even though we're speaking English. People like my sister, who has little knowledge of health care let alone Chinese medicine, need information that is straightforward, easy to understand, and comprehensive. The book Keeping Your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine: A Parent's Guide to the Care and Prevention of Common Childhood Diseases does just that.

The book starts with a nice introduction on TCM, and goes into comparing the benefits and drawbacks of both Chinese and Western allopathic medicine. Bob Flaws, the author, does a great job of describing each of the commonly encountered illnesses in pediatrics, including ones that are not in Chinese medicine textbooks from China. He explains that because our lifestyles are different from those in China, including our overuse of antibiotics, children suffer from different kinds of recurring illnesses here in the West. He also advises parents on when to trust the wisdom of Chinese medicine, and when it would be better to see a Western MD for the treatment of more severe cases.

As the title suggests, it is a parent's guide, and does not go into great detail about the actual treatment of illnesses or their protocol. It does provide readers with an understanding of how Chinese medicine would go about treating these diseases, and what to expect from a TCM physician. It has a great chapter on how to go about finding a TCM practitioner, and what kinds of questions to ask when looking for someone to treat your children.

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