Tag Archives: children_s health

Meditation Improves Children’s Attention

A new study published in the International Journal of Yoga found that when children are trained to practice meditation, their attention spans are significantly increased.

The researchers tested two yoga-based relaxation practices involving specific meditation and rest techniques with 208 school children (132 boys and 76 girls) between the ages of 13 and 16 years of age. Their attention spans were tested before and after practicing the two techniques: meditation and rest.

Both meditation and rest improved the childrens’ attentiveness significantly but meditation had the greatest impact on the attention scores, regardless of gender or age of the children.

The study shows that meditation training may be valuable in improving attention in all children, but may especially have a role in the treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), particularly since there are no negative side-effects. 

STOP Drugging our Kids!

Alternatives to drugging our children

A recent article by Megan Johnson in U.S. News & World Report explored 9 natural, drug-free treatments for ADHD that have all shown to have promise and positive outcomes for the children involved. Her list includes; positive parenting, treatment programs, neuro feedback, interactive metronome training, meditation, a natural environment, better sleep, diet, and exercise.
Positive Parenting: Apparently there has been research that shows some similarities among the parents of ADHD kids. A study published in Clinical Pediatrics,suggests that having a child with ADHDelicits high levels of parental stress and maladaptive parenting.The presence of parental psychopathology (mental difficulties in the parent) is common and influencesthe parent’s response to the child’s ADHD symptoms. The implication being that whether the ADHD came first or the parenting challenges came first, an improvement in parent-child relationship can have a positive influence on the overall success of the child moving forward in life. Sadly too often, due to social and medical pressure, lack of resources to make real change and simple lack of information, parents turn to medication to solve the difficulties the child has with mandated sitting still and focusing on often irrelevant information and exercises. As a culture we all can share the responsibility for this reality, collectively we have become reliant upon drugs to fix our so called problems of daily life. We have given the power of our own health away and bought the story that we are all frail, weak, broken, diseased, chemically imbalanced and simply deteriorating as we age, and that as a result we need medication to maintain life as we know it. And perhaps that right there is the heart of the issue, life as we know it. Rather than medicating our kids, medicating our elderly, medicating our pets, medicating ourselves, in order to fit into life as we know it, we need to examine life as we know it as perhaps the problem.
Treatment programs:  It might be a surprise to learn that some of the most effective treatment programs are in fact parent skills training programs. Parent skills training has been used for years to improve the behavior of kids with ADHD. Consider for a moment here that this research is saying that improving the parenting skills helps to treat a medical condition called ADHD, I can’t think of another so-called medical condition that is successfully treated by changing the behavior of the parent of the sick person. These programs teach parents skills such as making clear, specific requests of children and using praise and rewards for good behavior far more often than punishment. 
The results have shown to be effective enough that last fall the British government mandated parent training as the first choice for treatment in many cases. In England, parents of children with ADHD are offered free government-funded classes where they learn to set clear limits for the child, be consistent in enforcing those limits, and reward good behavior.
There are also skill building programs for children that focus on listening and following directions, homework, organizational skills, effective communication, and problem-solving. These have shown a fairly good rate of success. (And really what youngster wouldn’t benefit from some extra training in these areas, I know I would have)
Neuro feedback: This is essentially training the brain and consciousness to gain conscious control, or at least influence, over the areas of the central nervous system that are typically only influenced sub-consciously. There is a growing body of research supporting this as a possible palliative therapy for the symptoms of ADHD, though more research is needed to verify it in the eyes of the mainstream scientific community for ADHD treatment.
Interactive metronome training: “IM is a neuro-motor assessment & treatment tool used in therapy to improve the neurological processes of motor planning and sequencing. The human brain’s efficiency and performance depend on the seamless transition of neuronetwork signals from one area of the brain to another. Findings in a recent study by Neal Alpiner, MD, "Functional MRI Study of the Effects of IM on Auditory-Motor Processing Networks", suggest that IM works by augmenting internal processing speed within the neuroaxis. The key regions of the brain that are affected appear to include the cerebellum, prefrontal cortex, cingulate gyrus and basal ganglia. These parts of the brain are responsible for human timing as well as other day to day functions such as: sustained attention, language formulation, motor coordination and balance.” (From the website for Interactive Metronome therapy, http://www.interactivemetronome.com/IMPublic/Home.aspx)
MeditationThere have been many studies linking regular mediation practice with greater mental clarity, sense of well-being, decreased stress and improved mental focus. Recently there have been a few studies looking directly at the effects of mediation on ADHD symptoms and have shown some promising results in improving attention span, decreasing anxiety and improving organizational skills. (http://cie.asu.edu/volume10/number2/index.html, http://jad.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/11/6/737)
A natural environment: A study published in the American Journal of Public Healthshowed that outdoor activities reduced the symptoms of ADHD more than activities performed indoors. This was true across all age ranges and other individual characteristics. Other studies have shown that children who spend more time in the woods or other park settings have a greater improvement in ADHD symptoms than those that spend less regular time in these settings. As humans, we are nature; we need regular interaction with nature to allow us to reconnect with the true essence of who we are. We need time away from the many distractions of modern life; our phones, computers, TVs, the focus on others and outside problems and issues. We require the nutrition of time spent in solitude in the natural world to live a balanced and fulfilling life. 
Better sleep, diet, and exercise: These are the basic tenets of good health whether or not one has the symptoms of disease or not. For our bodies to function properly we need proper amounts of sleep, a balanced health promoting diet, and regular exercise for our bodies and minds. The benefit of these activities has been researched and proven ad nauseum. For the purposes of this discussion let it be said that you can’t go wrong for any health and wellness concerns by getting a healthy dose of these three things. And perhaps our overall dependence upon medications would be greatly reduced if everyone committed to these three basic tenants of good health living.
Why do we so often turn to drugs for our children? This is a complex and multi-faceted issue. Sometimes parents are pushed to their wits end and believe they have nowhere else to turn. Often there are strong social and peer pressures to medicate an active child. Unfortunately 2 primary reasons have to do with what I consider a breach of trust; Doctors and pharmaceutical companies. Too often when a person turns to the expert for help in a challenging situation with a child they look to a psychiatrist for, and this almost always ends with a prescription for a psychotropic drug. Since they are the “expert” why would a concerned parent question it?   Particularly when they are not fully informed of the potential deadly side-effects. The other culprit here is the marketing and research branches of pharmaceutical companies. If you watch TV or read mainstream magazines you are constantly bombarded with advertisements that suggest there is something wrong with you, that you need medication to help you, that you should “talk to your doctor” for help and that your doctor should put you on this drug to make everything better. “Talk to your doctor” was one of the most brilliant and devious marketing ideas ever devised by the drug industry. There was a time not too long ago when if you thought something was wrong with you, you would go to your doctor and ask them to figure out what was wrong and then advise you of the best treatment options. Those days are gone, now the public is asked to self-diagnose and then go to their doctor as a dispensary of the latest drugs being pushed on TV. In fact, the underlying suggestion that is often in practice is that if your doctor won’t prescribe the drug that you have seen on the commercial you can go to the doc down the street who will. Therefore a doctor who conscientiously won’t overprescribe medications is risking their own livelihood. 
These are our children, one of our most precious resources. When I look into my 2-year old daughter’s eyes and think of the over medicating of children in our society I feel sadness and then anger. The anger is because the perpetration of this atrocity is being done purposefully and with full knowledge of the consequences, and yet still being done simply for money, for status and for power.
Please go here and spend some time watching and educating yourself further: http://www.cchr.org/#/home

Reprinted from: http://doctorellisor.com/wellness/stop-drugging-our-children


Additives In Our Vaccines?

There’s so much controversy surrounding vaccines. I’ve read that they can cause autism and neurological problems. In California and some other states, you can get an exemption or vaccination waiver at schools if you are philosphically opposed to immunizing your child. But at my daughter’s summer sleepaway camp they have a mandatory rule that every child must be vaccinated. For 2009, the count was 15. Next year, more will be added. New Jersey now has mandatory vaccination laws for all children. From what I’m reading, there is a push to have mandatory vaccinations for everyone in the US.

This makes me nervous.

So I started researching what goes in vaccines and discovered they are filled with additives. I went onto the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) website and found their 2009 Factsheet called Additives in Vaccines.

Here’s a partial list of the additives being used:

Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum, which are added as something called adjuvants, which helps the vaccine stimulate a better response. Now, research shows that aluminum is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and people are encouraged not to use aluminum cookware.

Antibiotics, which are added to prevent the growth of bacteria during production and storage of the vaccine. Aren’t we now trying to stay away from meat and poultry containing antibiotics because we as a nation are becoming resistant to antibiotics when we might actually need them?

Formaldehyde, used to kill unwanted viruses and bacteria that might contaminate the vaccine during production. Here again, in my book “Super Natural Home,” I write about the dangers of using personal care products that contain formaldehyde because it is suspected of causing cancer in humans.

Monosodium glutamate or MSG, which is used as a stabilizer to help the vaccine remain unchanged when it is exposed to heat, light, acidity, or humidity. Again I point out in my book that Dr. Russell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, calls MSG an excitotoxin in our brains and should be avoided.

Thimerosal which is a mercury-containing preservative that is added to vials of vaccine that contain more than one dose, to prevent contamination and growth of potentially harmful bacteria. Here again, haven’t we been warned about the toxic effect of mercury in our bodies?

Here is the link to a 1979 CBS “60 Minutes” episode about the 1976 swine flu pandemic in the US and the fact that 4,000 people developed neurological damage as a result of getting vaccines. It is now being released publicly on the internet for the first time, after 20 years. http://loveforlife.com.au/node/6636

At the International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego recently, researchers presented a study showing that the flu vaccine – which has been a “must have” for children with chronic illnesses – isn’t effective in preventing flu-related hospitalizations in kids, especially ones with asthma.

The results showed that kids who had received the flu vaccine had three times the risk of hospitalization, compared to kids who didn’t get the flu vaccine. For kids with asthma, there was even a higher risk of hospitalization when they got the flu shot.  So this raises a red flag for me against vaccinating kids for the flu, especially those with asthma.

I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts?

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