One MD’s Journey To Holistic Care
Ear Infections Causes, Concerns & Holistic Solutions
Additives to Avoid in Children’s Food
Swine Flu What You Really Need To Know HOSPITAL BIRTH
DANGERS MOMS FIGHT BACK The Battle Against
BPA issue 23 / fall 09 / $6.95
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editor-in-chief Jeanne Ohm, DC email@example.com advisory board Claudia Anrig, DC Sarah Buckley, MD Bruce Lipton, PhD Stephen Marini, PhD, DC Larry Palevsky, MD contributing editors Alissa Pond Mentzer Lisa Reagan Robert Staeger creative director Tina Aitala Engblom advertising coordinator Crystal Gloistein firstname.lastname@example.org circulation director Howard White Hwhite9611@aol.com
Pathways to Family Wellness is a quarterly publication offering parents articles and resources to make informed healthcare choices for their families. Pathways to Family Wellness provides thoughtprovoking information from the holistic health perspective and invites parents to explore options for family wellness. The individual articles and links to healthcare information in Pathways to Family Wellness are based on the opinions of their respective authors, who retain copyright as marked. The information provided is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. The publisher of Pathways to Family Wellness encourages you to make informed healthcare decisions based on your researched knowledge and in partnership with a qualified healthcare provider. Pathways to Family Wellness is provided to you by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association in collaboration with the Alliance for Holistic Family Health and Wellness. Both organizations are 501-C3 non-profit status organizations and sales of Pathways to Family Wellness support their mission for public education. Images used are for illustrative purposes only. ÂŠ 2009 Pathways to Family Wellness Issue 23, Fall 2009. Printed in the USA.
on the cover Ear Infections ............................................... 6 10 Additives to Avoid ..................................16 Swine Flu.................................................... 53 Hospital Birth: Dangers Revealed.............. 32 BPA: Moms Fight Back................................ 58 One MDs Journey to Holistic Care............... 46
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contents Ear Infections: Causes and Holistic Care Ear infections are some of the most troubling and persistent illnesses children endure. We look at their underlying causes and provide some healthy treatment
6 feature 4 letter from the editor 12 Wellness Lifestyle
The Germ Theory: Two Vital Perspectives
By Daniel A. Middleton, DC, and Kevin Hinton
Better School Food’s List of Unhealthy Ingredients
20 family living
Doing Dinner: Confessions of a Radical Mother
By Maya Talisman Frost
By Alicia Bayer
24 chiropractic for life
alternatives to the pitfalls of antibiotics. By Linda Folden Palmer, DC, and Randall Neustaedter, OMD 42 movement and learning
Hop, Skip and Jump By Rae Pica
Parenting the Whole Child By Dr. Caron Goode
46 holistic healthcare
The Road to Holistic Practice: An Integrated Approach
By Larry Palevsky, MD
53 Current Concerns
By Darrel Crain
What Do You Expect?
By Kevin Donka, DC
Chiropractic and Ear Infections: What We Offer Makes a Difference
58 informed choice
By Jeanne Ohm, DC
Moms Fight Back: The Battle Against BPA
By Jane Sheppard
The Brewer Pregnancy Diet
By Joy Jones, RN
Dangers of Hospital Birth
By Ronnie Falcão, LM, MS
Pathways High Five
36 Birth Resources 38 the outer womb
Car Seats Are for Cars By Catherine McKenzie
letter from the editor, jeanne ohm, dc
A whole new dimension of communication has opened up with Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the so-called “social networking” sites. Far-reaching and instantaneous, they connect many people with each other in a way we’ve never experienced before. I am a lover of communication. I relish all means of connecting with people all over the world, accessing and disseminating information, resources, opinions and perspectives that were once isolated to small and select circles. The dimension that Facebook and Twitter have opened is yet another unprecedented way to reach one another. There is, however, a frantic feeling about them, and this feeling raises some questions for me. Don’t get me wrong: I have a Facebook and a Twitter account. So does pathways, and so does ICPA. With these tools, we have instant access to floods of people who care to check out our updates. I am also greatly appreciative of the endless stream of information from other Facebookers and Twitterers. It was through Facebook that I first saw the CBS HealthWatch report on the new research revealing serious side effects of ADHD drugs, in which the M.D. on CBS suggested that parents try chiropractic for their child as a safe alternative. It was on Facebook that I discovered a Canadian study questioning the mandatory C-section protocol for breech presentations. Through Facebook, I stay in touch with parents and practitioners and their extraordinary efforts to spread the family wellness message. I do all this and more, almost instantaneously. It is an undisputed communication phenomenon. And yet, there is this frenzied Facebook feeling and twitching Twitter tension inside me, compelling me to step back and take a deeper look. I have always said the Internet, as a form of instant communication, is merely a reflection of the underdeveloped yet inherent communication potential we have as human beings. Instantaneous, simultaneous and soul to soul, we have all experienced the ability of our superconsciousness to connect with others. Simple examples of this phenomenon include thinking about a person right before they call or show up, following a hunch only to find ourselves in the right place at the right time, and the myriad ways parents intuitively connect with their children. The ability to instantly connect via social media is but a reflection of our inherent capacity to connect with each other without a technological medium. Does our fascination with the online networking and instant communication really represent our true desire to develop our awareness and use of superconscious connectivity? If so, then by being so absorbed in this material hard copy and its rapid-fire means of delivery, are we enhancing or impeding our potential to recognize and develop these skills from within? Metaphysical scientists and authors such as Gregg Braden, Wayne Dyer, Bruce Lipton, Eckhart Tolle, Lynne McTaggart,
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Deepak Chopra, Larry Dossey, Joe Dispenza, John Demartini and the founders of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, to name some of my favorites, continuously explore our inherent ability to be in constant communication with each other. They refer to this ever-present and accessible communications medium as the “divine matrix,” “the non-local mind,” “the patterns that connect”— in other words, the all-pervasive intelligent energy of the universe. Concepts like tipping point, critical mass, synchronicity, conscious intent and collective consciousness are becoming a part of everyday language, as we embrace our unlimited potential for connectivity. Through our deeper selves, in this newly defined dimension, we are all in constant communication with each other and all existence. However, let us be reminded what the wise ones teach: From a place of love, with grateful expectation and present time consciousness, we are able to access this matrix and connect. So back to my question: Is the exploding popularity of these instant messaging systems like Facebook and Twitter a reflection of our deeper desire and potential for real instant messaging? Will our use of these technological systems assist us in our evolution to be more conscious of the connective divine matrix? Or will they create a false sense of fulfillment and distract us from refining our inherent abilities for a superconscious connection? Facebook and Twitter can be a means of growth, bridging the gap between modern technology and ancient wisdom. We can use them as a practical way to communicate via technology, as well as tools to develop our more subtle, higher connectivity with each other. While on Facebook or Twitter, swept up in the momentum of instant communication, let’s try an experiment. Before our fingers begin automatically typing, let’s take one moment to be consciously present, and from soul to soul, heart to heart, send an intentional blessing of love to the person with whom we’re communicating. Then, with grateful expectation, we can be sure our blessings and messages are traveling not only across our instantaneous social media, but also our inherent superconsciousness. With the frequency that Facebook and Twitter are being used and the amount of people they reach, imagine the momentous ripple effect of each sent message. Wow! I can feel the exhilarated rush in consciousness already. Many Blessings, Jeanne Ohm, DC
issue 23 | pathways
pathways | issue 23
ar Infections Causes and Holistic Care Causes of Ear Infections
By Linda Folden Palmer, DC
iddle ear infections are on the rise. The ailment, also known as otitis media, has become far more prevalent in children throughout the twentieth century, increasing 150 percent between 1975 to 1990 alone. This dramatic increase illustrates the parameters of wise antibiotic use and its abuse, while at the same time revealing the effects of breastfeeding and formula. The middle ear is the part of the ear that is enclosed behind the eardrum. A tiny tube, called the eustachian tube, drains any fluids from the middle ear into the throat. Colds and episodes of allergic runny nose, due to airborne allergens or allergies to cow’s milk or other foods, block this eustachian tube with mucus and inflammation. When this tiny mucous-membrane-lined canal is closed off, inflammatory fluids build up in the middle ear cavity (serous otitis media), sometimes referred to as effusion. Over time, passage of nasal and throat bacteria into this tube, from pacifier use or especially when a child is lying on his back, can seed the middle ear. Bacteria can then multiply to large numbers when finding a friendly fluid-filled middle ear environment, creating painful infection (acute otitis media). The major source of these infections is threefold: the withholding of protective mother’s milk; antibiotic treatment for mild or non-bacterial ear conditions; and inflammatory reactions to certain foods, particularly cow’s milk. The occurrence of otitis media is 19 percent lower in breastfed infants, with 80 percent fewer prolonged episodes. The risk of otitis remains at this reduced level for four months after weaning and then increases. By 12 months after weaning, the risk is the same as in those who were never breastfed. In addition to providing general immunities to the infant, breastmilk also provides specific antibodies that prevent otitiscausing bacteria from attaching to the mucous walls of the middle ear.
© istockphoto.com / wojciech gajda
Misguided Concerns About Infection The presence of fluid in the middle ear from chronic or acute conditions reduces a child’s capacity to hear. This fluid muffles sounds but does not damage the hearing mechanism, so hearing returns once the fluid is gone. While permanent hearing damage does not occur from acute or chronic otitis, chronic interference with hearing can delay language development. In some cases of acute infection, treated or not, the eardrum may rupture. While fear is generated around this possibility, the rupture allows the pus to drain and the middle ear to dry, most likely resolving the infection. The eardrum will then heal with some scar tissue, just as it would have after tube insertion. This scar tissue, found in many an eardrum, typically affects hearing very minimally or not at all. (Drainage from an ear can also be an outer ear infection. This is common after swimming, and the condition will respond to ear drops. Drainage from the ear for more than two days, especially when associated with hearing loss, requires prompt medical attention.) The major concern with ear infections is that infection could develop in the mastoid air cells behind the ear. This rare condition is called mastoiditis, and is primarily of concern because of the proximity to the brain. Mastoiditis, seen as redness behind the ear and protrusion of the outer ear, can occasionally lead not only to permanent hearing loss, but to brain damage as well. Although claims are made that the incidence of mastoiditis has been greatly reduced since the introduction of antibiotics, this is not clear from a review of the literature. After the advent of antibiotics and CT scans, however, it is apparent that serious complications of acute mastoiditis have been reduced, and that the number of mastoid removals (mastoidectomies) has been issue 23 | pathways
Antibiotics do not kill viruses, and can make viral infections worse by wiping out competing bacterial flora and encouraging secondary bacterial infections of resistant strains.
Antibiotic Ills The standard treatment for acute middle ear infections is antibiotic therapy. Alas, antibiotics are prescribed very often when simple fluid buildup is present without infection, as described earlier, or when the eardrum just appears red, suggesting inflammation. At times the eardrum can appear very red just from crying, allergies or a fever of other origin. It is impossible to accurately diagnose infection without puncturing the eardrum and taking a fluid sample. This leads doctors to suspect infection based upon the presence of symptoms, and prescribe antibiotics. One-third of all ear infections are viral, and the distinction cannot be made upon examination. Antibiotics do not kill viruses, and can make viral infections worse by wiping out competing bacterial flora and encouraging secondary bacterial infections of resistant strains. Although seldom recognized, a number of chronic ear infections are actually fungal in nature (candida), produced when multiple courses of antibiotics disrupt the normal floral balance and encourage fungal growth. Many large studies have shown that antibiotic treatment provides only a small benefit over no treatment at all for short-term resolution of ear infections. A 1994 analysis reviewed 33 studies, covering 5,400 cases of acute otitis, and found that spontaneous recovery without medical treatment occurred in 81 percent of acute cases. Short-term recovery occurred 95 percent of the time when antibiotics were used. At least one third of children on antibiotics experienced side effects. Although their rate of short-term resolution was slightly improved, there was no long-term benefit to antibiotic therapy: Medicated children demonstrate no less otitis four weeks after
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antibiotic treatment than those treated with placebos. In fact, there was a higher rate of returning acute ear infection seen in those who received antibiotic therapy, and the return of serous otitis was two to six times higher in those treated with antibiotics. However, when language development is retarded due to prolonged middle ear fluid, the temporary hearing improvement provided by the tubes might be worth the risks. Generally, fever or great localized pain accompany signs of drum inflammation (redness) and fluid buildup (bulging of drum) in a true acute infection. The most sensible modern recommendation regarding ear infection treatment is to use antibiotic therapy only in genuinely acute infections that do not resolve on their own within a few days. This regimen is currently followed in several European countries with positive results; it also reduces the development of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics. A heating pad over the ear affords some relief, and many feel that recovery can be hastened by warm garlic or tea tree oil drops in the ear. Favorite antimicrobial supplements, such as goldenseal or grape-seed extract, may prove beneficial. Fever should not be reduced, as it is the body’s own powerful process for killing infecting microbes. The value of surgical insertion of tubes through the eardrum to treat chronic ear conditions is widely debated. There are many risks involved, including a much greater return of infection once the tubes are gone. In conclusion, medical treatments complicate the picture of middle ear infections without providing long-term benefits. Removing the chief causes of middle ear infections should be the preferred goal. This can be achieved by providing breastmilk, avoiding overuse of antibiotics and recognizing, treating and avoiding exposure to allergens, especially food allergens.
Dr. Linda Folden Palmer is a doctor of chiropractic, a consultant and speaker on pediatric nutrition and natural parenting challenges, a science writer and a mother. She left her chiropractic practice shortly after the birth of her son, when she was confronted with his serious health complications and astounded by the lack of accurate or helpful information from doctors or books. For her son’s sake, she delved deeply into the scientific and medical literature to find answers…which led to further questions and some astonishing realizations. Read about her work here: babyreference.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. This article was adapted with permission from The Baby Bond: The New Science Behind What’s Really Important When Caring for Your Baby © 2009 by Linda Folden Palmer.
© istockphoto.com / joa ovirissimo / cheryl casey / yuri shirokov
reduced as well. In fact, antibiotic therapy for cases of mastoiditis appears to be valuable for preventing surgery in 86 percent of cases. Just over half of all mastoiditis cases occur following bouts of acute otitis media. While there are other causes of mastoiditis, fewer than 4 percent of the rare deaths from mastoiditis complications occur in cases that originated as ear infections. Some mastoiditis is blamed on poor antibiotic treatment of ear infections; other cases are blamed on antibiotic therapy itself. At the 1998 meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology, it was reported that serious cases of mastoiditis are rising as a direct result of strongly resistant bacteria developed through the common use of antibiotic therapy for ear infections. Additionally, “masked mastoiditis,” in which the clearing up of the visible symptoms of the middle ear infection mask the existence of the mastoiditis, is a highly worrisome, occasionally seen condition that is directly caused by antibiotic treatment of ear infections. The behavior of the bacteria that promote this condition makes it very difficult to discover, and the condition has a high rate of dangerous complications.
Holistic Care of Middle Ear Problems in Children
By Randall Neustaedter, OMD
olistic care provides comprehensive treatment for the recurrent or persistent ear problems that are so common in young children. The symptoms of ear infections and fluid collection in the middle ear often begin in a baby’s first year, and they can persist into the toddler and preschool ages. Once children reach ages 5 or 6, and their eustachian tubes are more developed, some tend to grow out of these problems. The problems associated with fluid in the ears, including hearing loss, chronic swelling of mucous membranes, lowered resistance to infection and impaired eustachian tube function, can all be addressed using a combined approach of holistic methods. Don’t expect fluid in the middle ear to resolve quickly, however. It takes at least two to three months to resolve the issues that contribute to the fluid buildup and facilitate drainage of the middle ear. The following treatments, when used in combination, should address the problems. Lifestyle Changes Eliminate dairy products from your child’s diet. Milk products are the most common reason for production and stagnation of phlegm in children, and some children are allergic to dairy products. This includes cheese, yogurt and butter. Allergies, of course, can contribute to ear problems and chronic congestion. In older children environmental allergens may play a part, and at any age food sensitivities may be a subtle contributor to these problems. IgG allergy testing can be helpful to assess these sensitivities in children over 18 months. Chinese Herbs Fluid collection in the ears represents just one aspect of the phlegm dampness syndrome that plagues so many children. To address the important issue of mucus production, they often need Chinese herbal formulas as a part of their treatment program. Your herbalist will be able to design a specific individualized program of herbs to help your baby. These may include herbs to bolster immune function, herbs to combat the heat and pathogenic factors that contribute to recurrent or chronic ear infections and herbs to relieve phlegm. One very important formula for this purpose is minor bupleurum (xiao chai hu tang). Blue Poppy Pediatric Formulas makes a modified version of this formula (Bupleurum & Angelica) to specifically target ear problems. The treatment addresses the digestive dysfunction that leads to dampness and phlegm production. According to Blue Poppy, the formula is intended “for the treatment of pediatric food stagnation transforming into heat and ascending through internal branches of the large intestine channel to steam and fume in the region of the ear. This pattern is commonly seen in pediatric otitis media characterized by pain, fever, restlessness, ear tugging, but no purulent discharge.” issue 23 | pathways
Correcting any misalignment of the spine in the neck also improves immune system function, since the first and second spinal nerves have a direct effect on immune system responses.
Other formulas, such as Grow & Thrive by Chinese Medicine Works, promote healthy digestive function and a strong immune system. Specific formulas may be needed to address mucus production if it is a prominent factor in the child’s condition. There are many such formulas for your herbalist to prescribe. Other symptoms, such as coughing or accompanying allergies, may indicate the need for a staged program of herbal treatments that heal the various layers of a problem. Nutritional Supplements Mucus collection in the ears or sinuses signifies an inflammatory process; omega-3 supplements, in the form of fish oil, help to relieve this state. Since infection is commonly a component of the middle ear problem, a probiotic formula supplement can normalize the flora and prevent infections. Other immune system activators will also help prevent these infections. These include colostrum, whey protein (in the absence of dairy allergy) and mushroom formulas (reishi, shitaki, cordyceps). Chinese Medicine Works’ Resilience, a liquid extract of mushrooms, can be used for older babies. Additionally, vitamin D is essential for adequate immune system function. During the winter months when there is minimal sunlight, all babies should be given a 1,000 IU vitamin D supplement. Older children should receive 2,000 IU.
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Chiropractic Adjustment Classical chiropractic theory recognizes that misalignment of the spine in babies can pull on the muscles of the neck, causing tension and dysfunction. Proper function of the eustachian tube depends upon balanced head and neck musculature. Correcting an imbalance in these structures allows for healthy function of the eustachian tube, draining fluid from the middle ear and distributing air to the middle ear cavity. Correcting any misalignment of the spine in the neck also improves immune system function, since the first and second spinal nerves have a direct effect on immune system responses. The eustachian tube resides in a bony canal of the skull and passes through the temporal and sphenoid bones. A misalignment of these bones in babies can put pressure on the eustachian tube. Cranial adjustment and restoration of proper alignment of these bones and the cartilage of the eustachian tube will take pressure off the tube and help restore normal function. These spinal misalignments also impair normal nerve and immune system function, hampering a child’s innate capacity for health. As part of a complete holistic program, chiropractic care will work to normalize function of the structures in the ear and bolster the health of the child’s immune system.
Dr. Randall Neustaedter has practiced holistic medicine, specializing in child healthcare, for more than thirty years in the San Francisco Bay area. A licensed acupuncturist and doctor of Oriental medicine, as well as author of Child Health Guide and The Vaccine Guide, Dr. Neustaedter is the father of five children. Visit his website, cure-guide.com, to register for a free newsletter with pediatric updates. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. Adjusting photo courtesy Stacey Cantrell, DC, FICPA, of Women’s Wellness Comprehensive Care in Portland, Maine.
© istockphoto.com / homeopathy: jozsef szasz-fabian
Homeopathy Homeopathy provides a powerful tool for improving the constitutional health of babies with ear problems. It also has specific remedies for improving the function of the eustachian tube. The most commonly indicated homeopathic remedies for middle ear effusion, according to nineteenth century homeopathic ear specialists (and confirmed by clinical experience since then), are Kali muriaticum and Mercurius dulcis. Kali muriaticum (potassium chloride) is more often called for when children have a white or greenish yellow nasal discharge, enlarged tonsils and a stuffy sensation in the ear with hearing loss. Mercurius dulcis (mercury chloride), by contrast, should be used when the child has thickened, retracted eardrums with more scarring and a granular appearance to the tonsils. Merc-dulc shares similar symptomatology with other forms of homeopathic mercury, including diarrhea with greenish stools. A differentiating point in older children is that cold drinks ameliorate the conditions of Merc-dulc, but cold air and cold drinks aggravate the conditions of Kali-mur. Kali-sulphuricum is another important remedy for consideration in middle ear effusion. Kali-sulph discharges tend to be thin, yellow and sticky, accompanied by hearing loss from the effusion. Noises in the ears are common in older children, with itching of the ears and evening pain. It is often important to treat the underlying constitutional
picture with a deep-acting homeopathic medicine that addresses the entire symptom complex of the child. This stimulates an adequate healing process and facilitates the cure of the underlying immune dysregulation that accompanies these symptoms.
ÂŠ istockphoto.com / steve cole
antibiotics and ear infections Linda Folden Palmer, DC
n cases where the immune response lags behind a bacterial infection that is dangerously decimating the body, the 1950s advent of antibiotic medications saved the lives of millions of people who would have otherwise succumbed. However, the overzealous use of these wonder drugs has now created a new realm of powerful diseases we are unable to fight with existing antibiotics. Once a resistant bacteria has been created in response to antibiotic therapy, it has the power to transfer its resistance to other microbes, developing new resistant strains. This has been an especially significant issue for the young, who have been chief targets for antibiotic misuse because they are more susceptible to infections and infections are more worrisome in them. Powerful, antibiotic-resistant strains spread easily around day care centers. Tuberculosis and pneumonia were once conquered with antibiotics, but we are now threatened again by TB epidemics and increased pneumonia deaths. The excitement over antibiotics has also led to reduced hygiene in hospitals. Hospital sanitation peaked decades ago, when its importance was first widely recognized. Now 10 percent of the patients in hospitals acquire infections, a large portion of which are resistant to antibiotics due to their expansive use in hospitals. Three percent of these patients die from their infections. Antibiotics have many possible side effects, including diarrhea, malabsorption, cramping, yeast infections, agitation, rashes and blood disorders. By wiping out much of the normal flora throughout the body, antibiotics leave patients, especially children, far more vulnerable to other infections, such as thrush (oral yeast), and dangerous intestinal microbes that cause diarrheal illness. Infectious diarrhea follows antibiotic use at rates ranging from 5 to 39 percent, depending on the drug. The most common intestinal infection caused by antibiotics is colitis from clostridium infection, which has a 3.5 percent mortality rate. Significantly, antibiotics are generally inappropriate for treating ear infections. They have no effect on viruses and are certainly inappropriate for colds and flus, where they can lead to secondary infection. Yet the majority of children visiting physicians with these complaints will receive antibiotic prescriptions. This is unfortunate. Most of the time, children are better off left to fight illness with their own immune systems, while their parents and physician provide careful monitoring. issue 23 | pathways
ÂŠ istockphoto.com / rosemarie gearheart
pathways | issue 23
y r o e h T m r e g e Th Two Vital Perspectives
The following article is contrib
uted by two writers, a chiropracto
r and a naturopath.
Each offers a unique and vitalist
A Chiropractic Look at the Germ Theory By Daniel A. Middleton, DC
he germ theory states that diseases are due to specific microorganisms, which are capable of transmission from body to body. Yet although it is widely accepted by medical professionals, forming the basis for billions of dollars of healthcare spending (actually sickness care, but that’s another article), the fact that so many people believe it to be true doesn’t make it so. This is one of the classic logical fallacies: argumentum ad populum, the appeal to the majority, where a thing is stated to be true simply because so many people believe it. That didn’t work for the belief that the earth was flat, and it shouldn’t work for a theory of disease that is increasingly coming under fire from the scientific community and whose fundamental premise was known to be flawed almost from the beginning. I am reminded of the famous quote by Anatole France: “If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” Everyone has heard of the Black Plague that swept through Europe in the Middle Ages, resulting in the death of nearly a third of the European population (25 million people dead over the five-year period between 1347 and 1352). What is most interesting, however, is the other two-thirds—the ones who didn’t die. Many times the survivors were members of the same family as the victims, sharing a home and meals across the same family table. What about them—why didn’t they ‘catch’ the disease? Were they just lucky? I’m not denying that the disease itself existed; it’s well-documented. The Bubonic Plague, associated with the bacterium named Versenia pestis, was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history—and one of the most studied. Instead, my argument is against the ‘germ theory of disease’ itself, the overriding idea in many people’s minds that exposure to a germ almost “If the germ theory always equals disease, when common sense tells us that this simply is not the case. The germ (or virus or bacteria) might well be the agent of disease, but the cause is much of disease were true, more complex than that. Otherwise, as chiropractic pioneer B.J. Palmer said, eventually no one would be alive to tell you about it! If our bodies can be kept whole and healthy, then the germs, there wouldn’t be which we come into contact with every day, would have no purchase. One of the goals of chiropractic is to have your body function at such a level that you don’t get sick very often—and that anybody around to when you do, your immune system, stronger because of more efficient body-brain communication, is better able to fight off the disease, letting you recover more quickly. tell you about it!” Chiropractic is a vitalistic way of looking at our ideas of health and wellness, of how we get sick and why. Very often, it’s at odds with the predominant (mechanistic) model of health that —B.J. Palmer, from everyone is used to. With the number of drug ads on television and in magazines, and news shows touting the latest medical advancement to treat this or that disease (many of which show up later Conflicts Clarify with unpredicted—maybe even unpredictable—side effects or problems) and the countless TV issue 23 | pathways
When I first started my practice, one of my patients came in and announced, “Well, my sister has a really bad cold, so I guess I’ll be next.” I happened to be holding a pen at the time, and I tossed it in his direction. It bounced off his chest. He handed it back, puzzled, and I said, “Let’s try that again.” This time he caught it with no problem. When I asked what the difference was, he replied that the second time he was “waiting for it.” “Yeah,” I told him. “You catch a cold the same way.” There are many things that can contribute to disease and health. Don’t allow yourself to accept the idea that sickness is inevitable—especially now, during the so-called cold and flu season —just because you’re around sick people.
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Dr. Daniel Middleton is a 1991 graduate of Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic and has been in practice in the upstate South Carolina area for over fifteen years. Even before he began to explore chiropractic as a profession, Dr. Middleton understood and appreciated the philosophy of life and health that it represented—a philosophy surprisingly similar to the Asian philosophy of health and healing he was familiar with from his practice of martial arts with which he has been involved since 1973. Aside from his core passions of chiropractic and the martial arts, Dr. Middleton is also a writer whose articles have been featured in national martial arts publications. Read about him here: adjustingroom.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.
© istockphoto.com / aleksej kastin
“How do we catch a cold?”
shows idolizing medicine (e.g. House, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Nip/Tuck, etc.) all the way back to the early days of television (City Hospital and The Doctor first appeared back in 1951, with the more well-known and iconoclastic Dr. Kildare and Ben Casey showing up ten years later). Is it any wonder that we all grew up believing in the medical model of health care? After all, surely we could trust Robert Young’s kindly and grandfatherly Marcus Welby, M.D. In fact, we trusted him so much that Young made a subsequent commercial for a popular pain reliever (“I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV…”) that became a well-worn cliché. But what if the foundation on which the entire medical model rests is flawed? What if the “germ theory of disease” is not quite so cut and dried as we’ve been led to believe? Highly controversial when it was first proposed, the germ theory is now the cornerstone of modern medicine, and its chief proponent, Louis Pasteur, a demigod in the medical canon. But is what we remember Pasteur for the last he said on the subject? Everyone is familiar with Pasteur’s name, but one of his contemporaries and chief opponents was a scientist named Claude Bernard (1813–1878), who argued that it was not the ‘seed’ (the germ) that caused disease, but was instead the ‘soil’ (the human body). Bernard argued that germs are nothing more than opportunistic organisms. It was an argument that persisted throughout their careers, and for his entire life Pasteur was convinced that germs lay at the cause of all disease. Only on his deathbed—with Claude Bernard present—did Pasteur finally admit that Bernard was right. In the end, Pasteur came to realize that the germ was not the only element in determining who became sick and who remained well. What this tells us is that modern medicine (or Big Pharma, as the pharmaceutical companies with revenues exceeding $3 billion are often called) has based its fundamental premise on a theory that even its most well-known proponent—as Pasteur arguably was—recanted in the end. For the past one hundred years, modern medicine has pursued a theory that is, at best, only a single aspect of the cause of disease and, at worst, a theory flawed at its core. How much better spent would our health dollars be—in treatment, education and research—if they supported instead research into how to make the “soil” less hospitable to the “seed,” rather than chasing cures and potions for every collection of symptoms that can be named? Just as in a court of law deathbed confessions are given an extra weight, so too should we regard Pasteur’s final comment on his most famous theory: “Bernard avait raison. Le germ n’est rien, c’est le terrain qui est tout.” (“Bernard was right. The seed is nothing, the soil is everything.”)
Too Hot to Handle By Kevin Hinton
magine that you forget: That the coffee was made with boiling water. That the tea kettle just came off the burner. That the car radiator fluid was boiling as you removed the cap. How long before you remove your hand from the source of the heat and pain? Not long, I’ll bet. In fact, it’s almost instantaneous. Such is the power of recognition within the organism— the ability of each and every cell to respond. How long before the body recognizes the presence of pathogens—be they infinitesimally small, microscopic in fact—with names like: germs, bacteria, viruses? Not long, I’ll bet. In fact, it’s almost instantaneous. Such is the ability of each and every cell to respond. At a critical point of pathological accumulation, the skin opens and squeezes out the accumulation of wastes in the circulatory system. The kidneys go into overdrive and filter out the heavies. The lungs inflate, pump up and exhale noxious gases. The body’s temperature usually rises to provide the heat necessary to accomplish these extraordinary efforts. These are signs that the body is trying to normalize—to regulate itself and return to a state of homeostasis. And in this process of normalization—in this process of getting rid of the offending pathogen—a footprint is created. The science of naturopathy recognizes these prints as beneficial and natural. But those who believe in the germ theory
of disease causation see this process as threatening and fraught with danger. They call these footprints diseases and illnesses—and to this end they attack the prints with all the power in the chemical world. This, then, is another attempt at describing the difference between pure naturopathy and mechanistic forms of health care. You either believe in the power of the body to heal itself, or you place your trust in the power of the pill. All matter is in motion; there is no need for a mover. The body heals itself; it needs no healer. We need carers—people who facilitate the environment so that the body can accomplish its task with the least amount of stress. Kevin Hinton is a renowned natural health educator and advocate who has helped a broad range of people reinvigorate their lives through common-sense natural health practices. He is a trusted advisor to many in the corporate world in Australia and North America who recognize the life-improving value of natural health habits. Hinton’s experience reveals that adopting practical natural health habits usually helps drive success in other areas of life. Meet Kevin and his wife Katy here: thehealtheducator.com.au. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.
BRAIN,CHILD z i n e m a g a
t h e
f o r
i n g t h i n k
r s m o t h e
2 Volume 9 Issue
for Inappropriate Children your kids? Can you protect Should you?
d The Needle anon D es di other e the Stu A scientist-m es
looks at vaccin
FOR ALL THE ISSUES THAT GO UNSAID AT THE SOCCER GAME OR IN THE WAITING ROOM, THERE’S BRAIN,CHILD MAGAZINE. Just a sampling of why you’ll laugh, cry and think:
PLUS FOR THAT? KIND OF OLD ISN’T FORTY G MEMOIRS ON PARENTIN FATHERS TAKE DREAMS, INTERPRETED CY YOUR PREGNAN
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One mother’s report on short-term homeschooling
A diaper-free infant: smart or crazymaking? When another mother LOSES IT—and when that mother is you
The great VACCINATION debate
An investigation into the ECO-HOUSEWIVES movement
Essays by Barbara Kingsolver, Jane Smiley and other great writers
Spectacularly average kids
Better School Food’s and other food additives to avoid when raising healthy children Better School Food, an organization devoted to promoting healthy meal choices in our nation’s schools, researched and compiled this list of common lunchtime foods. Each ingredient is defined and listed with some of its known side effects. We hope you’ll work to remove these ingredients from your school cafeterias, vending machines and any other areas where food is involved. For further information, visit the Internet resources listed and search the suggested websites for each specific ingredient.
Partially Hydrogenated Oil
Semi-solid shortening made from liquid oils (such as canola and soybean) by reacting them with hydrogen • Contains high levels of trans fats • Gives baked goods and snacks a longer shelf life • Used in more than 40,000 food products in the U.S. according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) • Trans fats increase harmful LDL cholesterol and decrease good cholesterol; both effects contribute to heart disease For more information: bantransfats.com, sanstrans.com, transfreeamerica.com, cspinet.org, americanheart.org, pubmed.gov
pathways | issue 23
Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO)
BVO is an additive created by mixing vegetable oil with the element bromine • Gives the flavoring oils in soda the same density as water • The emulsified flavor oils stay suspended in the drink, boosting flavor in many citricbased fruit and soft drinks • Causes a significant increase of triglyceride and cholesterol content in both heart and liver • Residues accumulate in body fat, damaging organs, including heart, liver, thyroid, testicles and kidneys For more information: pubmed.gov, cspinet.org
Artificial food additives color, flavor and preserve the foods our children eat. Unfortunately, they’ve been linked to high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more. Use this guide to limit your exposure…and your risk.
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
HFCS was developed in the 1970s because it was cheaper than cane and beet sugar • Easier to blend into beverages; maintains sweetness better; prevents freezer burn; reduces crystallization; keeps baked goods soft and helps them brown • With a high glycemic index, it converts to fat more readily than any other sugar • Alters the metabolic rate in a way that favors fat storage • Research suggests that it is a major factor of obesity • Increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, and cancer • Not easily metabolized by the liver For more information: mercola.com, newstarget.com, pubmed.gov
Artificial Colors & Flavorings
Artificial colors are chemical compounds made mainly from coal-tar derivatives • Food coloring is used to give color, lost during processing, back to food to make it more attractive • Artificial colors have been linked to allergic reactions, asthma, skin rashes, hyperactivity, headaches and fatigue • Artificial flavors are cheaply produced chemical mixtures that mimic a natural flavor • Artificial flavors also linked to numerous sensitivities For more information: consumerhealthreviews.com, feingold.org, pubmed.gov
Benzoate Preservatives: BHT, BHA, TBHQ
Benzoates are antioxidants normally used as sodium, potassium or calcium salts and their derivatives • Benzoate preservatives are phenolic compounds often added to foods to preserve fats and prevent the fats from becoming rancid; also used as a de-foaming agent • Often used in cereals, butter, meats, baked goods, snack foods, dehydrated potatoes and beer • Can result in hyperactivity, asthma, urticaria, rhinitis, dermatitis and angiodema • Believed to cause tumors in lab rats • Benzoate preservatives are (weakly) estrogenic For more information: ncbi.nih.gov, pubmed.gov, feingold.org
issue 23 | pathways
Caffeine is a mildly addictive stimulant • Increases heartbeat, respiration, basal metabolic rate, gastroenteric reflexes and production of stomach acid and urine • Affects the kidneys, increasing urination, which can lead to dehydration • Metabolized by the liver • Can lead to osteoporosis, infertility, heart disease, jitteriness, headaches, irritability, sleeplessness, possible birth defects and depression For more information: cspinet.org, kidshealth.org, pubmed.gov
Acesulfame-K: commonly used in sugar-free baked goods, chewing gum, gelatin desserts and soft drinks. • May be a carcinogen • Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet): can cause sensitivities resulting in headaches, dizziness, and hallucinations • Saccharin: has resulted in cancer of the uterus, ovaries, skin, blood vessels and other organs in lab rats; may cause bladder cancer • Sucralose (Splenda): artificial sweetener used mainly in diet foods; made by chemically reacting sugar with chlorine • Sorbitol: a sweetener used as a thickening agent; maintains moisture in dietetic drinks, foods, candy, shredded coconut and chewing gum; commonly has a laxative effect For more information: cspinet.org, cancer.gov
pathways | issue 23
MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
MSG is an amino acid flavor enhancer • Flavor enhancers are believed to stimulate the appetite, contributing to obesity • Used mainly in restaurant food, salad dressing, chips, frozen entrees, soup and chips • Sensitivities to MSG include headaches, nausea, weakness, wheezing, edema, change in heart rate, burning sensation and difficulty breathing • Flavor enhancers destroyed nerve cells in infant mice For more information: cspinet.org, msgtruth.org, mercola.com
Other Useful Online Resources
thewaytoeat.net • theportionplate.com • cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
Olestra is an indigestible fat substitute used mainly in foods that are fried and baked • It is a non-absorbable lipid-like substance that inhibits the absorption of some vitamins and other nutrients • Linked to gastrointestinal disease, diarrhea, gas, cramps, bleeding and incontinence • Olestra can collect and assimilate fat-soluble vitamins present in other foods, reducing their ability to be absorbed. Long-term use of Olestra can reduce fat-soluble vitamin (including E, A, D and K) absorption. For more information: hsph.harvard.edu, ifst.org, americanheart.org
Sodium Nitrite and Nitrate
Preservatives used in preserving, coloring and flavoring cured meats and fish • They prevent botulism and are a color fixative • Nitrites/nitrates can combine with chemicals in the stomach to form nitrosamine, a highly carcinogenic substance For more information: cspinet.org, cnn.com/health/indepth.food/additives/ table.html
About Better School Food Better School Food is an organization of concerned parents, educators, and health professionals devoted to improving the diet of our nation’s youth in the place where they come together and do much of their eating: at school. The group works with communities to provide better meals and increase awareness of the connection between good nutrition, good health and the ability to learn and retain information. Seen this way, lunch isn’t something kids do between classes—instead, a healthy lunch is an essential part of the education process. Better School Food was founded by Dr. Susan Rubin as a way to provide resources and guidance to parents and educators who wanted to improve the health and nutrition of the children in their care. Some of the resources included on the organization’s website (betterschool food.org) are tips and instructions about starting a school garden and farm-toschool programs. Both approaches bring fresh, whole foods into the educational ecosystem. School gardens, in particular, give students hands-on experience with planting and growing their own food— experience which enriches every meal. Among the changes the organization would like to make in school food are the following: eliminating the use of partially hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup; providing a vegetarian option every day and serving more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans; shrinking portion sizes to reasonable levels; and allowing more time for students to eat lunch. These changes would result in healthier, happier students, with body chemistries more conducive to learning.
issue 23 | pathways
Confessions of a Radical Mother
By Maya Talisman Frost
I love slow living. Itâ€™s peaceful, meaningful and even downright radical in a go-go world. According to a recent article in, appropriately enough, Time magazine, groups of harried parents across the United States are joining a wave of slow-living advocates by doing something really revolutionary: having one sit-down dinner at home with their kids each week. I donâ€™t know whether to applaud or cry. The idea that parents are willing to undertake the Herculean task of rearranging their schedules to fit in a single dinner at home is laudable. The fact that it requires such superhuman effort is terribly sad. How did we get here? The article states that back in the 1980s, sociologists decided that providing structured activities for kids would prevent juvenile delinquency. In addition, education experts suggested that American children needed to study harder to compete academically in the global market. At the same time, American business leaders looked around and discovered U.S. corporations were losing their edge. They bumped up hours
pathways | issue 23
and production rates in an effort to keep ahead of burgeoning Asian countries. This new competitiveness spilled over into the home, where mothers fresh from the workforce took the corporate ideal of high productivity to the playgrounds. Yikes. I spent most of the eighties living and working in Asia, including five years teaching English in Japan, so I’m all too familiar with the “education mama” syndrome. What’s interesting is that American mamas have taken that same emphasis on competition and achievement and focused on sports or other activities. Although we don’t have to suffer the unfortunate consequences of despondent students going through the Japanese exam system, we have burned out 15-year-olds having knee surgery for ten years’ worth of soccer injuries and families who can’t remember their last no-TV, no-phone, real-food meal at home. Somewhere between a manic preoccupation with education and a rabid adherence to frenzied activity schedules, there is a happy medium. It’s called dinner. People in Europe and Latin America are horrified to hear of families in the U.S. gulping dinner in their cars on a daily basis.
It makes me feel terribly guilty. Shouldn’t I be exhausted and irritable, battered by constant demands for rides and juice packs? It’s not that my kids don’t do anything. They’re into all kinds of activities—drama, music, dance, volunteer work and even jobs. Two are gearing up for lacrosse, another is interviewing for a year-long exchange program and the oldest is in her senior year, doing the college application dance. It’s a busy time. And yet they still eat a real dinner at home most nights. All of us—singles, married couples, young families and empty nesters—can benefit from the dinner ritual. By adopting and continuing the tradition of shared meals and conversation, we are emphasizing the importance of thinking and sharing ideas. If we want our culture to value thinking, we’ve got to start by offering a tribute to it on a daily basis. Okay, so my kids may never get athletic scholarships. They may never meet a single university athletic director before choosing which college to attend. They won’t be the next Olympic gymnast or ice skater, and they’re not likely to be conducting symphonies by the time they’re 25.
Somewhere between a manic preoccupation with education and a rabid adherence to frenzied activity schedules, there is a happy medium. It’s called dinner.
© don lavange
It’s appalling to them that there are actually campaigns to reintroduce the concept of sitting down to eat. Coming from cultures where families gather for meals every afternoon and again late in the evening, they view this obsession with achievement as baffling, alarming and pitiful. And they’re right. The truth is, it’s pretty hard to lose control of your family’s activities if you make dinner a priority most nights. It’s simply not possible to attend multiple practices each night if you’re expected at the dinner table from 6:30 to 7:30. When I tell people that I have four teenage daughters (ages 13, 14, 16 and 17), they look at me with a mixture of horror and pity. Life must be tough at your house, they say. You must live in your car, they tell me. Um…no. My idea of multi-tasking is breathing, talking and hiking in the woods—all at the same time. My family eats a relaxing dinner together at home—by candlelight!—at least five nights a week. It’s the best part of the day. Don’t get me wrong. Sports are great for kids. So is drama. And music. And debate. But dinner matters, too. I figure that my kids aren’t going to be living with us forever, and while they’re here, it’s a lot more important to have dinner together than it is to have the girls sign up for every sport and activity on earth. What they lack in basket-shooting ability, they’ve gained in conversation skills, thoughtfulness and an appreciation for family and shared meals. They don’t eat yogurt from a tube while riding in a van, then race home to study. Here’s a typical scene at our house: four girls sprawled on the floor in front of the fireplace, doing homework or reading. This is after we’ve had an enjoyable dinner and they’ve cleaned up the kitchen.
They’ll have to settle for being happy, smart, kind, aware, motivated and full of enthusiasm for the world and their place in it. Their father and I will just have to be satisfied with lasting memories of a slow life with our cherished children, and our daughters will strive only to duplicate this same lifestyle for their own families someday. Radical, isn’t it?
Maya Frost has taught thousands of people how to pay attention. Her eyes-wide-open approach to everyday awareness has been featured in over 100 media outlets worldwide. Having turned her attention to education in the last few years, Maya is the author of The New Global Student and head cheerleader for Smart Education Design. She teaches parents how to help their kids get a personalized and exhilarating global education that doesn’t cost a fortune. Visit her website at massage yourmind.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 23 | pathways
pathways | issue 23
By Alicia Bayer
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her beautiful surroundings. I’m usually very appreciative of the distinct beauty of my own Minnesota landscape, but my friend’s view was so breathtaking that for a few minutes my place in the heartland seemed a little paltry. When I realized what I was doing, I mentally shook myself back to my senses and did a little internal thanks-giving for the incredible life we have. While I don’t have a view down a moun-
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tain, I have a home I never dreamed of, with some pretty breathtaking views of its own. There is nothing like waking up after an unexpected ice storm in the fall to find every late rose, marigold and blade of grass encased in its own tiny ice sculpture. When the sun hits it all, it’s as if the world is made of spun glass. Or the way ice-covered snow in the fields reflects the color of the sunset…or the deep-blue skies over the rich green and blue
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Alicia Bayer lives in rural Minnesota with her husband and four children, ages 2 to 11, whom she homeschools. Alicia has maintained the nonprofit website A Magical Childhood for the past eight years, offering parents support, humor, crafts and a little bit of whimsy to help make childhood (and parenthood) more magical. Read more here: magicalchild.com. View article references and author information at pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.
of our thousands of lakes in the spring and summer. Daryl and I often point out the beauty as we drive, and we’ve wondered how many people don’t even notice in their rush to get home. I know so many people who covet. It’s so inane, and such a waste of your own happiness. Someone is always going to have a nicer house, more money or a more romantic Valentine’s Day gift. Even the Queen of England doesn’t have the best figure, and probably doesn’t have as good friends as I do. Love what you have, and if what you have is truly wretched then find a way out. In my experience, if you surround yourself with good people, the rest is easy. I read last week that every year, half of us will lose a close friend or
family member to death. I lost my mother last Easter, and many of my friends have been rocked by deaths in their own families. Truly, there is nothing like a loss of that magnitude to make you cherish what you have. I have heard so many people in mourning say they wish they had appreciated what they had when their loved ones were around. It sounds morbid, but I occasionally think of losing my husband to snap me out of caring whether he’s wearing the same shirt for the third day in a row and wanting to bean him with canned goods over it. I think about how many parents are watching their children struggle with terminal illnesses, and it makes me ache for them and grab my children and hug them tight. If that were ever my child, I know I’d be down on my knees saying, “I don’t care about anything, just make my child well again and we’ll be so happy.” So why not appreciate it now, without the wake-up call? So here’s your assignment: Make a list of 100 things you’re thankful for. Count your blessings. And don’t even think of saying you don’t have a hundred! Be thankful you’re not allergic to chocolate, that your mother taught you how to cook, that you have cool toes, for friends and family and all the little things that make you happy. And if anybody special is one of your blessings, make sure you tell them! And if you care about my list, I’ve shared some of it with you. :)
“In an experiment by Dr. Robert Emmons at the University of California-Davis, people who kept a ‘gratitude journal,’ a weekly record of things they felt grateful for, enjoyed better physical health, were more optimistic, exercised more regularly, and described themselves as happier than a control group who didn’t keep journals.” —Marci Shimoff, from Happy for No Reason issue 23 | pathways
chiropractic for life
Chiropractic and Ear Infections
What We Offer Makes a Difference By Jeanne Ohm, DC
any parents bring their children into our office asking us to treat their ear infections. My first response is that the purpose of chiropractic care is not the treatment of conditions or diseases; rather, it is the restoration of normal body function. I explain that as chiropractors, we work with the nervous system via gentle spinal adjustments. We reduce stressrelated interference to the nervous system, thereby enhancing all overall body function. I further explain that all systems of the body—muscular, glandular, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, eliminatory, hormonal and immunological—depend on the optimal function of the nervous system. With chiropractic, we focus on nerve system function to enhance all the body’s systems. Because many parents are unaware of the variety of options available for the treatment of ear infections, I continue, “As a parent, you have some choices to make. You can either treat the ear infection, or not—that’s your right as a parent. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a watch-and-wait approach, because the evidence-based research about antibiotics is showing that not only are they ineffective at treating ear infections, but they will actually lead to repeated ear infections in your child. As a parent, you can choose to treat or not to treat. “If you do choose to treat, you again have some options. You can treat the ear infections allopathically (the typical medical/drug route) or naturally. If you choose to go the usual route to a pediatrician, she may take a watch-and-wait approach.
pathways | issue 23
More likely, she will prescribe an antibiotic. If, however, you would prefer to treat the ear infections more naturally, there are several options for you to consider. A naturopath will explore herbs and nutrition; a homeopath will assess your child for a specific remedy; an acupuncturist will work with specific meridian points for healing. “It is so important that you as a parent realize you have choices, and the right to make these choices for your family. “Regardless of the choices you make, the chiropractic approach will improve your child’s inherent ability to function. Doesn’t it make sense to have your child function at an optimal level for healing no matter how (or if ) you choose to treat? We will assess your child’s spine, make the necessary adjustments to improve nerve system function and offer lifestyle suggestions to reduce nerve system stress for your child. We will also support any decision you make in your choice to treat the infection or not. This is your right as a parent, and we stand behind informed choice.” It is important that parents realize the role chiropractic plays in whole-body wellness. So, too, is it important for parents to know, when reading the following testimonials, that chiropractic adjustments have allowed these children to express a greater state of health and wholeness, and that their systems were able to overcome repeated infections because neuro-immunology function was restored.
photo courtesy of ohm chiorpractic
Taking our daughter to a chiropractor was the best thing we could have done for her! We canceled her surgery, and she has not had one ear infection since we started going.
Goodbye to Drugs
Christopher was on his fourth round of antibiotics when I first brought him to the chiropractor. Since beginning chiropractic care, he has not had an ear infection! Before chiropractic, it would take him three weeks to get over a cold (no kidding), and the doctor would put him on so many meds, decongestants, antihistamines, cough suppressants and antibiotics. He hasn’t taken one prescription since beginning chiropractic care. I noticed changes immediately. Chiropractor: Dr. Dennis Brown Location: Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Chiropractic—The Best Thing We’ve Done!
I started taking my 2-year-old daughter to the chiropractor as a last resort. She had had monthly ear infections for about nine months. We had recently scheduled surgery for her to have tubes put in, but it just didn’t feel right to put her through surgery without exhausting all of our other options. Taking her to a chiropractor was the best thing we could have done for her! We canceled her surgery, and she has not had one ear infection since we started going. It’s a miracle, especially since she has had a couple of colds that would have definitely turned into ear infections without chiropractic care. We took her to the chiropractor immediately after she came down with her last cold, and the cold was practically gone the next day. We have also seen an improvement in my daughter’s temperament since we started care. She gets sick less often, and seems more content overall. I recommend chiropractic for anyone wanting to improve his or her overall health and well-being. Chiropractor: Dr Debra Bell Location: Cary, NC Watching Her Innate Power at Work
Our chiropractors have educated us that the body’s innate ability to heal itself can only work when subluxations (nerve interferences) are not present. That is why when my 3-yearold daughter, Anna, woke up and couldn’t open her eyes, like they were glued shut, I knew what had to be done. We brought her in to our chiropractor and within a couple of hours after just one adjustment, her eyes had cleared completely. It was amazing to watch Anna’s innate power at work! That power needed to be turned on again the next day. She worked just fine, but later that day, she developed an excruciating earache. I drove her to our chiropractor for another adjustment, and her earache was gone just a short while later. The pain never returned. And now? We return for regular adjustments and always will. If your family is sick, don’t feel pressured by society to give them Tylenol, Motrin and antibiotics. Give them a gift from God…chiropractic. Chiropractor: Dr Felicity Keough Location: Englewood, FL
Committed to Lifetime Care
CJ was about 2½ years old when I hit the end of my rope with traditional medicine. We had gone to so many doctors, all of them poking him in order to give us their two cents. None of their advice had made a difference in the long-term healing of CJ’s most serious issues. He had GERD, chronic ear infections and reactive airway disease. The pediatrician put him on expensive medications, changed his formula and sent us home. As CJ grew, the reflux and ear infections got worse and the medications got stronger. The ear infections started to impair his hearing. At 14 months of age, he had ear tubes put in. I was told that things would get better. Twenty ear infections and about one year later, I received a fact sheet from one of my friends about chiropractic and ear infections. I had gone for adjustments myself a few times and felt comfortable with this chiropractor, so I brought CJ in for an evaluation. CJ loved it from the first moment. The difference in him from when we walked in to when we left was indescribable. In a very short and happy time, CJ has gone from having weekly ear infections to NO ear infections. CJ and I are now committed to lifetime care! I feel like I have done a huge service for my son by not listening to people who do not understand. CJ has become a happier little person who no longer aches constantly. Go with your gut and make the commitment. Chiropractor: Dr. Damien Ciasullo Location: Philadelphia, PA
Jeanne Ohm is an author, instructor and practicing chiropractor whose special emphasis is on chiropractic for children and in pregnancy. She is the executive director of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association and can be reached on Facebook. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness .org/references.html.
issue 23 | pathways
By Joy Jones, RN
The Brewer Pregnancy Diet
pathways | issue 23
The Brewer Diet consists of 14 food groups from which a mother can choose on a daily or weekly basis. However, the diet plan can be summarized as having four basic components: 2,600 calories, 80 to 120 grams of protein, salt to taste and unrestricted weight gain.
he specifics of the diet (available at tinyurl.com/brewer diet) were compiled by Dr. Tom Brewer, an obstetrician, after years of studying research on the effects of nutrition in pregnancy. He lived to see his philosophy used to prevent or treat various complications of pregnancy, including pregnancyinduced hypertension, pathological edema, eclampsia (toxemia), pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, premature labor, anemias, placental abruption, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and low birth weight. All of these problems have a common source— food deficiency and low blood volume.
istockphoto / alexey2075/ tom young
The Importance of Blood Volume One of the main functions of the pregnant body is to preserve the pregnancy and nourish the baby. The body’s ability to do this well depends a great deal on its ability to increase the mother’s blood volume. Normally, this blood volume is expected to increase by 50 to 60 percent by the end of the second trimester. From there, the body needs to maintain this expanded blood volume throughout the third trimester. For a woman with a pre-pregnant weight of 130 pounds, this would be a increase of about 2.1 quarts of blood (from about 3.5 quarts at the beginning of the pregnancy to about 5.6 quarts at the end of the second trimester). The pregnant woman’s liver makes albumin to facilitate this expansion of blood volume. When albumin is in the mother’s bloodstream, it creates strong colloid osmotic pressure, which pulls extra fluid out of her tissues and into the blood circulating in her blood vessels. The only way that the liver can make this albumin is from protein eaten by the mother. However, if the mother is trying to restrict her weight gain to someone’s “ideal” number—either by eating less food, or by going on a high-protein, low-calorie diet, much of the protein that she eats will get burned up for energy. Brewer found that when a woman eats one-third fewer calories than the 2,600 he suggested (about 1,700 calories), half of the protein that she eats gets used for energy. In that case, only 60 of her 120 grams of protein is available to make albumin (and baby cells, and uterine muscle cells), and she will probably have trouble expanding her blood volume adequately. Salt also creates osmotic pressure in the bloodstream, which helps to pull extra fluid out of the tissues and into circulation. While salt restriction may be helpful for pregnant women who have unhealthy hearts or kidneys, it is dangerous in healthy women. A healthy woman’s taste buds are usually the most accurate indicator of the amount of salt she needs, and studies have shown that it is not possible for a healthy pregnant woman to eat too much salt. Her kidneys will simply excrete whatever extra salt that she eats. In fact, it has also been shown that after just
two weeks of using salt in moderation, the expectant mother’s blood volume will begin to drop. When a mother’s blood volume starts dropping, or simply stops increasing too early in the pregnancy, the body has no way of knowing that she is just eating less food than she needs. All the body knows is that the blood volume is less than it’s supposed to be. So it starts the same processes that it uses when the blood volume is dropping due to hemorrhage. The kidneys produce an enzyme called renin, which causes the arteries to constrict. During hemorrhage, this response is a stop-gap measure, decreasing the amount of blood in the limbs and sending more to the internal organs to keep the body functioning until help arrives. During pregnancy, however, when no hemorrhage is occurring, this arterial constriction causes a rise in blood pressure. Attempting to treat this rising blood pressure with a salt or weight restriction only causes the blood volume to drop even more, leading to further production of renin and more arterial constriction. And the blood pressure continues to rise. Meanwhile, the kidneys are desperately trying to increase blood volume by reabsorbing as much water and salt as they can from fluid that they filter out of the blood. They return this reabsorbed fluid and salt to the bloodstream. However, since there isn’t enough albumin and salt in the mother’s blood to create enough osmotic pressure to hold this reabsorbed water in the circulation, much of it leaks out into the tissues. The kidneys keep reabsorbing water at one end of the process, and the water keeps leaking out of the capillaries at the other end. The mother sees rapid swelling in her ankles, fingers and face, and experiences rapid weight gain from the extra water in her tissues. At this point, the mother is developing pre-eclampsia. If her nutrition is not improved quickly, or if diuretics are prescribed (in medications, herbal teas or supplements), her blood volume will continue to drop, and she will develop eclampsia (toxemia). Toxemia can culminate in convulsions, coma, HELLP and death. Many sources maintain that there is no known cause of toxemia, and therefore many practitioners continue to try to manage the situation by treating the symptoms alone, but they do so without success. The symptoms not only persist, but the mother will also continue to experience one complication after another. Some pregnancy teas, supplements and juices contain nettle, dandelion, alfalfa, bilberry or celery—all of which have diuretic properties and should be diligently avoided in pregnancy. It is vitally important for pregnant women and those who care for them to understand that there is a huge difference between the edema and hypertension of non-pregnant people with heart or kidney disease and the edema and hypertension of normal, otherwise-healthy pregnant women. The edema and hypertenissue 23 | pathways
Helping the pregnant mother to eat more calories, more salt and more protein is the therapy which will help her body expand its blood volume to the level needed to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Treating Pre-eclampsia One way to treat pre-eclampsia is to educate the mother about its relationship to nutrition and blood volume. Once she understands the physiology, we can strongly encourage her to eat according to the Brewer Diet plan. As part of that plan we can suggest that she eat something every hour that has protein in it, and that she work at increasing her salt and calorie intake. We can also sit with her and obtain a lifestyle history, and work with her to match her nutrition to her activity level and environment. This will help her balance her calorie/salt/protein intake and her calorie/salt/protein expenditures. The goal is to customfit the Brewer Diet to each individual mother. Start with the Brewer Diet’s Basic Plan as the minimum amount of food to build on, and add calories, salt and protein according to her unique needs and lifestyle.
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When the problem demands a more immediate response, a doctor can give the mother albumin intravenously, and sometimes put her on antibiotics (to lessen the load on the liver by aromatic toxins from the intestines). Dr. Brewer would often tell of one woman who, unable to find a doctor who would give her IV albumin, brought her blood pressure down by eating 52 eggs and drinking 6 quarts of milk over a period of 3 days. Anne Frye, a midwife and author in Washington, recommends having the mother eat a high-protein item every waking hour. “Initially recommend an increase to 150 to 200 grams of protein daily (250 to 350 grams or more with multiple gestations), with 3,000 to 4,000 calories and 500 mg of choline daily,” she suggests. “If the woman has a history of liver disorders, recommend less protein (120-150 grams for a single fetus); her liver may be overwhelmed otherwise, and monitor her lab work closely for changes…. Once liver enzymes and blood proteins have normalized, the hemoglobin has dropped appropriately, the fetus is an appropriate size for dates and secondary symptoms have subsided, the woman can cut back to 100 grams of protein daily (150 grams with multiples).” Other Complications of Malnutrition All of the complications mentioned thus far are related to blood volume, but also to a lack of adequate nutrition. If the malnutrition is not corrected, some liver tissue can die and hemorrhage, leading to small hemorrhages in the mother’s adrenals, lungs, brain and the lining of her heart. The cells lining the capillaries in the kidneys can be damaged as well, and the falling blood volume can cause kidney dysfunction. Abruption of the placenta can happen
istockphoto.com / anthony hall / roman sigaev
sion of the diseased body is caused by an abnormally expanded blood volume, and must be treated with therapies which help the body deal with that expanded blood volume—therapies which may include diuretics. The normal pregnant body that is developing pathological edema or hypertension is suffering from an abnormally contracted blood volume—and the only way to turn that condition around is to assist the body in its efforts to expand the blood volume again. Diuretics counteract the pregnant body’s efforts to increase the blood volume and can lead to the mother’s developing hypovolemic shock. Helping the pregnant mother to eat more calories, more salt and more protein is the therapy which will help her body expand its blood volume to the level needed to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
when the blood volume is so low that the maternal pool of blood that is normally behind the placenta begins to clot as the flow through that arteriovenous shunt slows down. Intrauterine growth retardation and low birth weight can result from lack of nutrients in the mother’s blood, and from low pressure of the blood behind the placenta. Babies can suffer neurological impairment due to this lack of nutrients and calories when their brains are at the most critical stage of development. Ninety percent of premature labor is caused by inadequate nutrition and falling blood volume. The blood volume necessary to prevent premature labor increases with the number of babies the mother is carrying. The exact mechanism is unknown, but there is speculation that it is due to the fact that an undernourished placenta is less capable of producing the muscle relaxant which keeps the uterus quiet during pregnancy, or that an inadequate blood volume somehow triggers an increase in the production of oxytocin by the pituitary. In any case, premature labor due to an abnormally low blood volume can be prevented with a proper diet, and it can be stopped with the use of IV fluids (without medications added) or IV albumin. In addition, inadequate nutrition in pregnancy can lead to several labor complications. 1) Inadequate nutrition can mean that a smaller baby can be more difficult to push out than a larger one is. When the baby is small because of food deficiency, the uterus will also be malnourished, and less capable of functioning at its full potential. A non-pregnant uterus weighs 2 ounces. At the end of pregnancy, the uterus alone weighs about 2 pounds. This means that during the pregnancy the uterus needs to grow 1 pound 14 ounces of new muscle tissue. If the mother is eating less food than she needs, her uterus won’t be as strong as it would have been had she eaten well. Her uterus will also be more prone to dysfunction during the labor process. Eating well will give the mother a larger baby, but will also give her a stronger uterus, more capable of pushing out that baby. 2) The pelvis is designed to stretch during labor. A wellnourished placenta will produce good amounts of the hormones needed to loosen pelvic ligaments so that it can stretch to allow the baby through. Therefore, it can be easier to push a larger baby through a more-stretchy pelvis than it would be to push a smaller baby through a pelvis unable to yield. 3) With a lower-than-normal blood volume, a mother is also more prone to dehydration. In the event of extra bleeding, she won’t have the fluid reserves to draw from—fluids she would have been building had she been on a better diet. A mother who enters her labor with a well-expanded blood volume from an excellent diet during her pregnancy, and who continues to eat real, solid food and drink nutritious fluids during her labor, does not need the added insurance of IV fluids during her hours of labor. 4) In fact, postpartum hemorrhage is more likely with a malnourished mother, since the liver damage malnutrition causes can make her clotting mechanisms malfunction. The liver has at least 500 metabolic functions, and pregnancy puts a lot of stress on it. But the liver is designed to deal with the
stress of pregnancy, as long as the mother eats well enough to provide all the nutrients it needs. As previously mentioned, one of the liver’s metabolic functions during pregnancy is to make enough serum albumin to help the mother’s blood volume expand by 50 to 60 percent. Another of the liver’s most important tasks during pregnancy is manufacturing essential clotting factors to prevent abnormal bleeding during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. When the liver becomes damaged in pregnancy from an inadequately expanded blood volume or the use of anti-hypertensive drugs, the manufacture of essential clotting factors can become compromised. This could lead to the development of HELLP syndrome and abnormal bleeding. The judicious use of the Brewer Pregnancy Diet can prevent these complications. When is the Diet Important? The Brewer Diet is important in all three trimesters of pregnancy. In the first trimester, the Brewer Diet is important to prevent ketosis, and to help prevent or minimize morning sickness. It also promotes blood volume expansion and tissue building (baby cells and uterine muscle cells). Since the placenta is small in the first trimester, the mother can start with a lesser version of the Brewer Diet and gradually work her way up to the complete Basic Plan by the end of the first trimester, being careful to stay in tune with her overall needs.
NATURAL PREGNANCY, NATURAL BABY Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth and Post-Partum Discomforts
by Sunshine Coast chiropractor
Dr. Stacey Rosenberg
“Natural Pregnancy, Natural Baby” is Dr. Stacey Rosenberg’s first book. It features 150+ pages of prevention, tips, techniques, remedies and resources to help ease the common complaints of pregnancy. It includes nutrition, pre-natal bonding, comfort measures, herbs, homeopathy, ergonomics, chiropractic, acupressure, yoga, breast-feeding advice, Hypnobirthing® and much more! For more information, including ordering and a list of retailers “Natural Pregnancy, Natural Baby”, visit Dr. Rosenberg’s website: www.GibsonsChiropractic.com issue 23 | pathways
istockphoto.com / dblight
The Brewer philosophy is that the number of pounds gained by a mother during pregnancy is not as relevant as the kind of food she eats to gain those pounds. In the second trimester, good nutrition is important for optimal placental development. If the mother doesn’t smoke and has been on the Brewer Diet, she won’t have to worry about the placental function decreasing if the baby happens to become overdue. In the third trimester, the diet is important to maintain fluid reserves for labor, and to ensure that the placenta is well nourished. It is also important to eat well because the baby’s brain goes through its most rapid rate of growth in the last two months of the pregnancy. It’s at this point when the problem with limiting a mother to a certain number of pounds presents itself. Mothers will often reach that number before their due dates, and many will starve themselves for the rest of the pregnancy, to the detriment of the child’s development. Some birth attendants discourage mothers from using this diet, predicting that the weight gained will be difficult to lose after the baby is born. This concern often shows an unfamiliarity with the weight loss usually associated with breastfeeding. It can also show that they are not properly weighing the risk against the benefit of this nutrition therapy. When this test is applied to the Brewer Diet, the benefits of avoiding severe complications with the pregnancy, labor or baby easily outweigh the risk of possibly being slightly overweight for a year or two after the baby’s birth. The Brewer philosophy is that the number of pounds gained by a mother during pregnancy is not as relevant as the kind of food she eats to gain those pounds. The average weight gain on the Brewer Diet seems to be about 35-45 pounds. However, if a woman can show that she is eating well, and that she’s not trying to artificially limit herself to a certain number of pounds, a weight loss of 5 pounds might be healthy, and a weight gain of 60-80 pounds (or more, for a multiple pregnancy) could also be healthy. The bottom line is that the first question for a pregnant woman arriving for a prenatal visit should not be, “What have you gained this week?” Rather, the first question for every mother should be, “What have you been eating?”
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Taking Care of Your Nutrition 1) Check your diet. Copy the weekly record from the Brewer Pregnancy Diet website and post it on your refrigerator (home.mindspring.com/~djsnjones/id89.html). No protein or calorie counters are necessary. All you have to do is put a check mark in each box. When you have filled all the boxes, you will know that you have fulfilled the basic minimum of 2,600 calories, 80 to 120 grams of protein and salt to taste. 2) Try eating frequent small meals, or hourly snacks such as nuts, cheese, eggs or yogurt, along with some kind of fruit or vegetable. 3) When choosing a prenatal class, find out if the Brewer Diet is taught there. The Bradley Method, for example, teaches the Brewer Diet, and the HypnoBirthing (Mongan Method) class teaches something similar. 4) When choosing a birth attendant, find out if he or she supports the use of the Brewer Diet and unrestricted weight gain. For a list of pro-Brewer professionals, check the Brewer Pregnancy Diet Registry (home.mindspring.com/~djsnjones/ id97.html), which includes caregivers from 13 countries and 49 American states.
Joy Jones, R.N., is a midwife’s assistant and the creator of the Brewer Pregnancy Diet website (home.mindspring. com/~djsnjones/). She has worked as a childbirth educator, doula, breastfeeding consultant, author and conference speaker. She and her husband are parents of two grown sons who continue to make them proud. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.
DANGERS of H ospi tal B i rth Why Birthing in a Hospital Can Cause More Problems Than it SolveS By Ronnie Falc達o, LM, MS
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There’s a saying that birth is as safe as life gets. There are times when birth can become dangerous for the baby or, very rarely, for the mother. This is when hospital-based maternity care really shines,
risk of becoming very sick from infections that are very difficult to treat. The overall infection rate for babies born in the hospital is four times that of babies born at home, and these infections are more likely to be antibiotic-resistant. Ninety thousand people die every year from hospital-acquired infections. That’s more than from all accidental deaths put together: 70,000 people die from motor vehicle crashes, fires, burns, falls, drownings and poisonings combined. An additional 98,000 people die each year from general medical error.
and we’re able to save mothers and babies who a hundred years ago might have died. Thank goodness that there are skilled surgeons who can come to the rescue when truly necessary.
© istockphoto.com/ roberto sanchez
There’s also another saying: When you’re holding hammer, everything looks like a nail. Likewise, for hospital-based birth attendants, it is easy to become accustomed to treating every birth as a disaster waiting to happen. Many obstetricians have lost touch with the possibility of normal birth, so much so that even labor that includes a pitocin induction with an epidural, a fetal scalp electrode and a vacuum extraction is called a “natural” birth. Some hospital staff seem offended by the idea of minimizing interventions, as if preferring not to have a needle the size of a house nail inserted near your spine is the same as declining to have a second piece of Aunt Sally’s fruitcake. Sadly, some of today’s younger doctors may never even have seen a truly physiological labor and birth—a birth completely without medical intervention. This is how the saving grace of the hospital can become the scourging disgrace of maternity care. In their rush to prevent problems that aren’t happening, hospital personnel may aggressively push procedures and drugs that can actually cause problems. Pitocin can cause uterine contractions so strong that they stress the baby and cause fetal distress. IV narcotic drugs can affect an infant so strongly that he might not breathe at birth— a second drug is used to counteract the narcotics to help these drugged babies breathe. There is considerable debate as to how epidurals affect the progress of labor, but they certainly diminish a woman’s ability to get into a squat, which opens the pelvic plane by 20 to 30 percent; anyone can understand that this could affect the possibility of the baby’s fitting through the pelvis. Epidurals can lower the mother’s blood pressure so that the baby isn’t getting enough oxygen through the placenta. This can cause fetal distress and the need for an emergency caesarian section to rescue the baby. In addition to the specific dangers of individual obstetric intervention, hospital births suffer the effects of any form of institutionalized care. Perhaps the best-known risk of hospital birth is hospital-acquired infections. The people most susceptible to such infections are those with compromised immune systems, such as newborns. In particular, a baby is born with a sterile skin and gut that are supposed to be colonized by direct contact with the mother’s skin flora. If antibiotic-resistant hospital germs colonize the baby’s skin and gut instead, the baby will be at high
DIVISION OF LABOR Another obvious risk of institutionalized care arises from the piecemeal nature of the care. Because there are so many different kinds of personnel performing so many different procedures, there is a lot of potential for miscommunication about critical matters. In an astoundingly progressive admission of institutional shortcomings, Beth Israel Hospital in Boston published a paper about a tragic miscommunication that resulted in a baby’s death. To their great credit, instead of covering up this horrible mistake, Beth Israel used it as a wake-up call to revise their protocols, in an attempt to reduce miscommunication and increase safety. Unfortunately, other hospitals are slow to adopt their reforms. One of the most dangerous aspects of hospital care is that those providing most of the direct care (i.e. nurses) are hierarchically subservient to those managing the care from a distance (i.e. doctors). This power structure can prevent knowledgeable nurses from mitigating potentially dangerous actions of a misunderstanding doctor. Many people feel that a hospital must be the safest place to give birth because of all the equipment it has. But equipment is only as good as the people using it. In many hospitals, there are not enough registered nurses to cover all the patients, so they use medical technicians, who are trained to perform procedures but not necessarily trained to interpret fetal heart tracings. Most labors start at night, especially for women birthing second or subsequent babies. This is the time when the senior staff are off-duty, because their seniority allows them to opt for the more desirable daytime shifts. A recent study confirmed that birth outcomes are worse during the night. Even the most sophisticated equipment is useless in the wrong hands. (For the record, many homebirth midwives now carry equipment that is as sophisticated as that in most hospital birth rooms. This includes continuous electronic fetal monitors and equipment for performing neonatal resuscitation if necessary.) Institutionalized care also suffers from the economic pressures of running an efficient organization, regardless of how this might interfere with the normal process of labor and birth. Sometimes issue 23 | pathways
Because hospital birth is focused on medical procedure, staff sometimes miss the fact that they are interfering in a delicate time in a new baby’s life.
doctors recommend pitocin without true medical necessity, simply to hasten the birth. This may be due to a need to free up a birth room to make room for other patients, or because the doctor has other responsibilities elsewhere. Stimulating labor artificially overrides a baby’s ability to space out the contractions if the labor is too stressful. This increases the risk of fetal distress. Hospital staff have a strong bias towards confining laboring women to the bed and requiring them to push in a reclining position. This often puts a baby’s weight on the placenta or umbilical cord, possibly restricting the baby’s supply of oxygenated blood from the placenta. In contrast, upright positions put the baby’s weight downward, toward the open cervix and away from the placenta and umbilical cord, reducing or eliminating fetal distress caused by cord compression. A rush to clamp and cut the umbilical cord within seconds after birth is one of the most dangerous hospital practices. This premature severance of the umbilical cord cuts the flow of oxygenated blood to the baby before the baby has established the lungs as the source of oxygen. Premature cord clamping also deprives the baby of the blood that would naturally fill the pulmonary vasculature as it expands in the minutes immediately after the birth. This practice has been documented to increase the risks of neonatal hypoxia, hypovolemia and anemia, thus increasing the need for blood transfusions. There is some very new research showing that placental tissue itself may be a rich source of pluripotent stem cells (cells which can give rise to any cell type) in addition to the blood stem cells in blood drawn from the umbilical cord. We do not yet know whether premature cutting of the umbilical cord halts the migration of pluripotent stem cells from the placental tissue into the baby’s body to repair damage from even minor birth trauma. SEPARATION ANXIETY Perhaps the most egregious and unnecessary interference with the normal birth sequence is the separation of mother and baby immediately after birth. Even a ten-minute separation is too long during this critical first hour after birth—it prevents the natural nipple stimulation that increases the mother’s oxytocin, which will contract the uterus and prevent a postpartum hemorrhage. Instead of baby-provided nipple stimulation, hospitals are now routinely using synthetic oxytocin by IV or injection after the birth to control bleeding. Similarly, early cuddling of mother and baby stimulates oxytocin production in the newborn, thus raising the baby’s body temperature to help with the adaptation to the extrauterine environment. A mother’s body is a newborn’s best warmer. Because different personnel are involved in providing piece-
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meal care for mothers and babies, providers do not always see how their actions in one area may cause problems in another. For example, because obstetricians are not involved in breastfeeding issues, they may not realize that cutting an episiotomy hampers a woman’s ability to sit comfortably in order to nurse her baby. Likewise, pediatricians may not realize that separating the mother and baby right after the birth in order to do a routine newborn exam also interferes with breastfeeding. Nursery nurses often do not seem to appreciate the importance of minimizing the separation of mother and baby, and thus also unwittingly interfere with breastfeeding. They tend to ignore the World Health Organization’s recommendations to delay initial bathing of the baby until at least six hours after the birth, even though bathing can cause a baby’s temperature to drop so dangerously low that they do not return him to his mother for an hour or more. I emphasize the hazards to the breastfeeding relationship because breastfeeding is so vital to a newborn’s well-being, reducing infant mortality by 20 percent. This is a huge health benefit, and hospitals should be taking the lead in tailoring their routines to support breastfeeding. But because the functions of caring for mother and baby are separated into the roles of maternity nurses (who care for the mothers) and nursery nurses (who care for the babies), sometimes the mother and baby are also physically separated. Most of the time, there are no lactation consultants in the hospital—they are often only available during weekday business hours. But babies need to be fed around the clock, and if a lactation consultant isn’t available to help a struggling mother/baby pair, it might become necessary to feed the baby artificial breastmilk with a bottle, which further interferes with successful breastfeeding. Because the entire model of hospital birth is based on birth as a medical procedure, hospital staff seem to miss the fact that they are interfering in a delicate time in a new baby’s life. Perinatal psychologists describe the first hour after birth as the “critical period,” during which the baby will learn how to learn and whether or not it is safe to relax and to trust the outer world. This has tremendous implications for mental health and stressrelated disorders. A NATURAL PROCESS There was a time when cesareans were acknowledged to be a risky surgery reserved to save the life of the mother or baby. Now even cesarean surgery has become almost routine. Some obstetricians and hospital administrators are advocating for a 100 percent cesarean rate as a solution to liability and scheduling problems that are inherent in providing maternity care. Unfortunately, cesarean surgeries increase risks for the mother
and child. They also increase the risk for subsequent pregnancies, with higher rates of placenta previa and placenta accreta, and introduce a small but non-zero risk that a pre-labor uterine rupture could result in the baby’s or even the mother’s death. When someone needs to be in the hospital receiving medical treatment for a lifethreatening condition, the risk-benefit trade-off comes in heavily on the side of benefit. But for women who are hoping to have a drug-free birth, it makes no sense to expose themselves and their baby to the various infection risks associated with simply being in the hospital. Most people know that it is unwise to take a newborn baby out and about in public because of the risk of exposing the baby even to ordinary germs. It is an even worse idea to expose the baby to the antibiotic-resistant strains of germs commonly found in hospitals. When a woman planning a homebirth needs medical care and care is transferred to a hospital-based provider, the phrase “failed homebirth” is often written in her chart, even if she goes on to have an outcome that is better than if she had started out in the hospital. I would like to propose the concept of a “failed hospital birth” as any birth where hospital procedures specifically cause more problems than they solve. When you consider hospital infection rates, surgical complications and the damage to the breastfeeding relationship caused by routine separation of mother and baby, we might find that close to 95 percent of planned hospital births are failed hospital births. They failed to support the mother in an empowering birth experience to better prepare her for motherhood, and they failed to satisfy the baby’s overwhelming need and desire to enter and adapt to the outside world as nature intended. Our society has an obligation to improve maternity care services as much as possible. Consider that the countries with
the safest maternity care rely on midwives as the guardians of normal birth, reserving risky medical procedures for cases of true need. “In the five European countries with the lowest infant mortality rates, midwives preside at more than 70 percent of all births,” reported Caroline Hall Otis for the Utne Reader. “More than half of all Dutch babies are born at home with midwives in attendance, and Holland’s maternal and infant mortality rates are far lower than in the United States...” A Return To Midwives The United States needs to return to a model of midwives as the default maternity care providers, reserving the surgical specialists for the highest-risk patients. We need to educate pregnant women so that they understand that the choices they make about drugs during labor affect their baby, just like the choices they make about drugs during pregnancy. We need to offer women realistic pain relief alternatives to dangerous pharmaceuticals; warm water immersion during labor provides risk-free pain relief that many women find as satisfactory as an epidural. (Mothers who are uncomfortable with the idea of water birth can easily leave the tub to give birth “on land,” while still deriving the tremendous comfort and safety benefits of laboring in water.) Hospitals need to develop new routines that protect mother-baby bonding and the breastfeeding relationship as if they are a matter of life and death, because they are. Obstetricians would do well to practice according to the wisdom contained in the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This means supporting healthy women with normal pregnancies in birthing at home if they choose, and encouraging women planning hospital births to work with them to minimize interventions that turn normal births into risky medical procedures.
Ronnie Falcão is an author and homebirth midwife in her Silicon Valley home of Mountain View, California. She can be reached at her website: gentlebirth.org. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html. issue 23 | pathways
B i r t h Re s o u r ce s Association for Pre- & Perinatal Psychology and Health In the last 25 years, the APPPAH community has fundamentally redefined the nature of the human prenate as an aware, communicative and vulnerable being; re-set the starting time for parenthood from after birth to before conception; and revealed the hidden connections between the quality of conception, pregnancy and birth and the quality of individual wellness, public health and a compassionate society. birthpsychology.com Birthing the Future An inspiration behind the Birth Movement, Suzanne Arms’ second book, Immaculate Deception, was named a New York Times Best Book of the Year and has inspired thousands of midwives, nurses and physicians, as well as parents-tobe. birthingthefuture.org Birthworks A nonprofit organization with certification programs for childbirth educators and doulas. The programs have an innovative and experiential design embodying a philosophy that develops a woman’s self-confidence, trust and faith in her innate ability to give birth and nurture her child. birthworks.org Childbirth Solutions This organization informs women worldwide about all of their childbirth options so that they may make choices for the most empowering birth experience possible. childbirthsolutions.com The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services CIMS promotes a wellness model of maternity care that improves birth outcomes and substantially reduces costs. The evidence-based MotherFriendly Childbirth Initiative (MFCI) evolved from the collaborative effort of many individuals and more than 26 organizations focused on pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding during meetings spanning nearly three years in the 1990s. motherfriendly.org
International Cesarean Awareness Network Women’s rights, legal advice and advocacy for VBACs (vaginal births after cesareans) are found here. The site also includes a tool to find a local support group or ICAN professional. ican-online.org International Childbirth Education Association Family-centered maternity care is ICEA’s primary goal and the basis of ICEA philosophy. The birth of a baby represents the birth of a family. Family-centered reproductive care recognizes the importance of these new relationships and responsibilities, and has as its goal the best possible health outcome for all members of the family. icea.org Doulas of North America DONA is the oldest, largest and most respected doula association in the world. DONA International certification is a widely respected measure of quality and professionalism. DONA is an international, non-profit organization of doulas that strives to have every doula trained to provide the highest standards for birth and postpartum support to birthing women and their families. To that end, we promote continuing education for doulas and provide a strong communication link among doulas and between doulas, expectant families and the medical birthing community. dona.org International Chiropractic Pediatric Association Articles, organizational resources and videos on the importance of chiropractic care in pregnancy. Members of the ICPA respect and encourage parents to make informed healthcare decisions throughout pregnancy, birth and childhood. Find an ICPA trained and certified chiropractor here. icpa4kids.org
Great Reads and Websites Spinning Babies Stories, pictures of poses and articles on yoga for fetal positioning. Spinning Babies is a unique, step-by-step approach to Optimal Fetal Positioning. Certain positions of the baby make labor easier than others. spinningbabies.com
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Kellymom Developed to provide evidencebased information on breastfeeding, sleep and parenting, at Kellymom you can find forums for interacting with other parents, printable handouts and other valuable resources. kellymom.com
Midwifery Today Born of the need for a unifying force in the midwifery movement, Midwifery Today magazine has been supporting, encouraging and educating midwives and other birth practitioners since 1987. midwiferytoday.com
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issue 23 | pathways
the outer womb
ÂŠ istockphoto.com / judson lane
CAR SEATS are for CARS Children who are consistently carried in car seats instead of held close to mom suffer adverse physical and psychological effects By Catherine McKenzie
“You know, you’re the only mother here who doesn’t carry her baby in a car seat,” commented the receptionist at my midwife’s office.
My daughter was several weeks old at the time and I’d left her seat in the car, mainly because I didn’t feel like lugging it all the way up the stairs to the clinic. I looked around the waiting room and realized that we were the odd ones out. It seemed true wherever we went. At the library, the shopping mall and the drop-in center for parents, the babies were all in infant seats—parked next to waiting-room chairs, snapped into matching strollers, clipped onto shopping carts or carried by handles and trailing a woolly blanket. No longer just a safety device for automobiles, portable infant car seats are now an important part of “travel systems”—sets that include an in-car base, a stroller and a car seat that snaps into both. They’ve been called the SUVs of the stroller world, and a quick glance in any baby store will show you how popular they’ve become. Infant seats, whether sold as part of a travel system or alone, now sometimes include a cold-weather boot, a head hugger and an adjustable base that stays in the car. Most can be used only until the child reaches 20 pounds, which may be as early as three or four months. They often cost as much as longer-lasting, convertible car seats, which can be used in both rear- and front– facing positions and can accommodate children weighing from 5 to 40 pounds. That doesn’t discourage most families, however, who consider the infant seat an essential item for a baby’s early months. Many parents don’t think twice about using an infant seat as an all-purpose baby carrier. But is there any harm in relying so heavily on a single piece of baby gear? issue 23 | pathways
the outer womb
Do the portability and convenience come at a price? As it turns out, there are good reasons why you should consider leaving the car seat in the car.
Spending excessive amounts of time in an infant seat deprives a baby of touch and stimulation.
pathways | issue 23
Physical Strain for Parents An infant car seat can weigh nearly as much as the newborn inside it. Yet it’s common to see people walking around a shopping mall or grocery store, holding a car seat by the handle, the baby strapped inside. This can be hard on anyone’s back, but new mothers are particularly vulnerable. A woman “maintains [the hormone] relaxin in her system for a good nine months after birth, and relaxin makes the joints loose,” says Dr. Ohm. “That’s something you need for birth to be able to open up the whole pelvic opening, but it’s a weakening factor, in a sense, if you’re going to do some heavy lifting.” Infant seats are designed to be portable, but they are still awkward to carry, according to Ohm. “You have to hold it away from your body so your leg isn’t kicking it, so your whole upper spine is tilted over.” Ohm often sees new mothers with injuries from this kind of lifting, and discourages them from doing it unnecessarily. If a parent does want to keep her child in the car seat while out on a trip, using a compatible stroller or universal car seat carrier (a stroller frame that accommodates different brands of car seats) is much easier on her back than trying to carry the seat by the handle.
© istockphoto.com / rich hobson
The Rise of Flat Head Syndrome Medical professionals have begun to notice an alarming rise in the incidence of a skull deformity in infants called “flat head syndrome.” Plagiocephaly, the medical term for this flattening of the skull, can occur as a result of consistent pressure on a particular spot. It is a cosmetic condition, but one that can be permanent if left untreated. The increase in plagiocephaly is frequently blamed on the fact that babies are now placed on their backs to sleep, a position that has been shown to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). If a baby’s head is always in the same position, the pressure can deform the skull. However, back-sleeping is not the only factor. Extended periods of time spent in a baby seat can also contribute to this condition, as can long periods in strollers, swings, and other devices that put babies in a back-lying position. Thomas R. Littlefield, M.S., is affiliated with an Arizona clinic that treats plagiocephaly. In an article in the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics, he notes that 28 percent of infants who attend the clinic spend 1.5 to 4 hours daily in car seats or swings, and nearly 15 percent are in them for more than four hours per day. Another 5 percent of infants are allowed to sleep in these devices. Littlefield observes that cranial distortion resulting from overuse of car seats and swings is more severe and complex than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress. Consequently, he recommends reducing the time spent in car seats and swings, if possible. Concern over plagiocephaly also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to suggest in 2003 that infants “should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning.” When infants must be in a back-lying position, moving their heads occasionally can help reduce pressure and avoid developing a flat spot. The simplest and most effective prevention, however, is to decrease the cumulative time an infant spends on her back.
Poor Positioning for Infants Plagiocephaly is not the only problem associated with heavy use of car seats. According to Dr. Jeanne Ohm, executive coordinator of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (icpa4kids.com), many infants in strollers or car seats constantly tilt their heads to one side or the other. “That’s a good indication that their upper cervical spine is out of alignment,” says Ohm. Short periods spent in a car seat are fine, but “keeping them in that position where it’s easiest for their head just to fall to the side—that leads to further spinal stress later on in life.” Ohm prefers to see parents carry infants in their arms and use different types of carriers. “Using a variety of carriers supports correct postural development for the child.”
The Burden of Baby Baggage It’s not the baby that so weighs down new parents in the weeks after their child is born—a newborn weighs, on average, less than eight pounds. Instead, it’s the bulky diaper bag, the stroller, the spare clothing—all the trappings that modern parents feel obliged to carry. The infant car seat has become part of that baggage. One of the main reasons that parents buy portable car seats is so they can remove a sleeping infant from the car without waking him. There are certainly times when this is handy, but the strategy can easily backfire. I remember several shopping trips that began with my daughter asleep in her car seat, but only ten minutes later she was awake and screaming to be held. I would end up carrying her and the car seat—separately—for the rest of our trip. I discovered that it was often simpler to wake her and put her into the sling, where she would frequently fall back to sleep again anyway. Besides, an infant seat is usually an inefficient way to transport a baby. When placed on the floor of a doctor’s waiting room, it is at the perfect height for being accidentally tripped over or kicked. It’s downright hazardous when placed on a chair or table—something most manufacturers advise against. Outside the car, the seat becomes just one more thing to lug around. Leave it in the back seat and you may find yourself feeling remarkably light and free. Lack of Touch Recently, friends of ours came over for dinner with their six-weekold son. He had been sleeping in the car, so they left him in the car seat and set it down near the dining table. When he woke up, they amused him by rocking the seat and dangling toys in front of him. We decided to go out after dinner, so they clipped the seat into their compatible stroller and we went for a walk. Finally, when it was time for them to go home, they put the seat back in the car and drove away. Their son had spent the entire three hours of their visit in his infant seat. Spending excessive amounts of time in an infant seat deprives a baby of touch and stimulation. Imagine, for a moment, what would have happened had our friends left their baby seat in the car. Their son would have been held in someone’s lap, jiggled, walked around, perhaps put on the floor with a few toys. In all likelihood, he would have been talked to more, and made eye contact with the people around him. It would have been a little less restful for his parents, but more interesting for him. Andrea, a mother from Oakville, Ontario, was given a travel system when her first son was born. “It was a neat gadget to have,” she says, “so we used it a lot in the first couple of months. It was convenient to take him in and out of the car without disturbing him.” But by the time Andrea’s second son came along, she and her husband had mastered the use of their baby sling. “We made a conscious choice to carry him often to promote attachment,” she says. Andrea’s decision may have been an intuitive one, but it is well supported by research. In a study at Columbia University,
researchers gave either a baby seat or a soft, wearable infant carrier to mothers of low socioeconomic status who had recently given birth. After 13 months, the researchers found that the babies who had been transported in wearable carriers were significantly more likely to demonstrate a strong attachment to their mothers. Car seats are very good at doing what they are supposed to do: protecting children in the event of an automobile accident. But there is no evidence to suggest that staying in a car seat after the ride is over offers a child any benefit. Using a car seat as a baby carrier for hours each day, as many of the parents in Thomas Littlefield’s study did, is a practice well worth questioning.
Catherine McKenzie is a freelance writer and La Leche League leader living in Oakville, Ontario. She has two young daughters: Delia, 5, and Jillian, 1. She can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness .org/references.html.
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movement and learning
ÂŠ fotoIE / istockphoto.com
Hop, Skip AND Jump Physical activity molded our past. Can it shape our future? By Rae Pica
pathways | issue 23
Once upon a time, children were almost never indoors, preferring to play outside. Nor were they ever still for long. They skipped and galloped, climbed trees, jumped rope, played hopscotch and rode their bicycles for blocks. They ran screaming through each other’s yards and even down the middle of the streets.
They played touch football, hide-and-seek and tag. They raced each other to the sliding board and swingset, chased butterflies and got filthy rolling around on the ground. It’s no wonder no one ever worried about them getting enough exercise! Today, it’s the rare child who has similar experiences. Instead, children watch TV and DVDs and play not on jungle gyms, but on the computer. And they don’t walk—let alone run, as we did—to and from school. They either take the bus or their parents drive them. (Parents drive their kids everywhere these days.) And during the school day? Physical education and recess, which we had twice a day, are swiftly going the way of the dinosaurs. The reasons for this drastic change in the landscape of childhood are many and varied. For one, there has been a shift in educational priorities from active learning to “accountability.” And because the prevailing belief is that the mind and body are separate entities (and that the functions of the mind are superior to those of the body), adults fail to see the educational values of play and movement. Thus, today’s children are more often than not expected to “sit still and learn.” At the same time that educational priorities were shifting, so were parental priorities. Childhood became an exercise in achievement, which meant that children no longer had time to play. Of course, there’s also the space factor. Even if children somehow have the time and the opportunity to play outdoors, most of them don’t have the wide-open fields, empty lots and traffic-free streets that were available to their predecessors. Should children venture outdoors, there’s virtually no room to roam. Rhonda Clements, Professor of Education at Manhattanville College and former president of the USA Affiliate of the International Play Association (ipausa.org), sees the following as problems: • City planners are not required in many parts of the country to provide outdoor play areas. • Many municipal recreation areas post “keep off the grass” signs, as if the green vegetation is only to be looked at. • Crowded apartment dwellings force children to be fairly still, lest they break things, and building cooperative boards instill rules about where children may not play. The results of all these changes in childhood are varied. Aside from “nature-deficit disorder” (a phrase coined by Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods), there are the health issues. Outdoors, children can practice and refine their emerging motor skills, such as running and jumping. These activities strengthen bones and muscles, improve aerobic endurance and stimulate growth of the heart, lungs and other vital organs. And it is in the
outdoors that children are more likely to burn calories—an excellent and easy antidote to the frightening problem of childhood obesity. The consequences for a generation of children suffering from nature-deficit disorder and poorly developed motor skills have yet to be seen. But we do know that among the staggering consequences of overweight and obese children are shorter lifespans, heart disease risk factors evident in preschoolers—yes, preschoolers—and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the possibility that one in three American children born in the year 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes—formerly called “adultonset” diabetes because it was so rarely seen in children. Clearly, these trends cannot continue. The future must involve returning play and physical activity to childhood. The first step toward change must be a new shift in priorities—on the home front and within communities. Parents, educators, and policy makers must realize that the mind and body are interdependent and that children need to play and move in order to function optimally—both physically and intellectually. They then will ensure that, whether at home or at school, children get a healthy, daily dose of play and physical activity—preferably outside. (Among other things, recess and physical education should be a regular part of the school day.) Communities also must become play- and movement-friendly. That means providing places to bike and walk (shifting priorities from vehicles to people). We need safe, well-supervised parks and playgrounds. (According to the National Program for Playground Safety, public playgrounds often are sub-par in terms of design, maintenance, and supervision.) Because parents comprise one-third of potential voters, they can and should use their considerable power to influence policy makers. Whether parents advocate for recess, physical education, safer playgrounds or pedestrian-friendly communities, politicians will have to care about what parents care about! We may not be able to return to the “yesterday” of play and physical activity on every corner, but we can take steps today to ensure a more playful, healthy and well-rounded tomorrow for our children.
Rae Pica is a children’s physical activity specialist, author and host of Body, Mind and Child Radio. She offers insight and wisdom on her site, movingandlearning.com, and hosts informative radio interviews on bodymind andchild.com/radio, where numerous shows are archived. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.
issue 23 | pathways
ÂŠ istockphoto.com / gaby j albert
Whole Child Nurturing the Connections Between Emotion, Intellect, Body and Spirit By Dr. Caron Goode 44
pathways | issue 23
ur western worldview has given us a fragmented picture of the self. As a result, we have developed segmented disciplines in our society. Medicine treats the body’s symptoms; psychology deals with the emotions; education trains the intellect; religion cares for the soul. Yet our mind, body and spirit together make up one network of connected systems of energy, biochemistry and behavioral responses. The Concept of Wholeness Around the world, traditional medicines have always perceived the interconnection of the mind, body and soul, treating mental, physical, emotional and spiritual sickness as aspects of the same system. In some ways, western medical science also supports the concept of wholeness. This is evidenced by discoveries in cellular biology, immunology, neuropsychology and other fields, which now acknowledge how energy systems coordinate thoughts, feelings and biochemistry. But how does this concept of wholeness translate into parenting? What does it mean for rearing happy, successful children? We know what touching and bonding provide for hurt, stressed or sick children. We know what emotions to nurture for positive mental and physical health, and we know that negative emotions and limiting beliefs correlate to poor health and depression. We know the food, exercise, breathing styles and sleep patterns that are needed by children of different temperaments. But can we use this knowledge to fulfill the needs of the whole child? What are the building blocks for wholeness? The Paradox of Whole-child Parenting Some see parenting the whole child as a paradox. It implies that we honor our children’s wholeness while we dissect and discuss the parts of the whole—physical body, mind, emotions and spirit. It may indeed be paradoxical, but it’s our way of understanding how the parts contribute to the whole. e consider our children’s wholeness when we: W • Bear in mind the emotional and mental factors that contribute to strep throat. • Look to a biochemical problem associated with a child’s temper tantrums. • Consider the negative self-talk and thoughts that can float around in the head of a depressed teen. • Regard childhood patterns from a holistic perspective. These can include a child who falls down all the time, one who has allergies, one who is shy and sensitive, one who doesn’t want to be touched, and so on. We want to help, but do we help their biochemistry, their behavior or their spirit? • Think about how children spend their time, and if their activities are balanced between stimulation and quiet. Bundles of Energy The foundation of whole-child parenting is understanding that our children are bundles of energy in the form of thoughts, physical activity, emotional expression and inner spirit. Rather than thinking about managing our children, think about managing their energy.
The energy of the body needs food, touch, air and water. The energy of the emotions needs positive input like optimism, smiles and support. The energy of thought needs inspiration and imagination, or it gets bored. The energy of the spirit needs connection, faith, compassion and quiet. The energy of the body needs food, touch, air and water. The energy of the emotions needs positive input like optimism, smiles and support. The energy of thought needs inspiration and imagination, or it gets bored. The energy of the spirit needs connection, faith, compassion and quiet. It needs calm moments of awareness. Most of us know these things and have our own intuitive ways of mothering and fathering our children. In fact, the joy of parenting the whole child is discovering how much you already know and do. The ease of whole-child parenting is that when one avenue doesn’t work, there is always another way. For example, because we know that the nature of emotional energy can be chaotic, we can find several ways to structure and channel positive emotional energy with our child. We might follow schedules, share meals, read books or see a heart-warming movie. A Soul Living in a Child’s Body Thinking of a child as an “energy bundle” helps us take our parenting less personally when a child screams, “I hate you.” What we want to take to heart is that this soul is living with us in a child’s body. We are responsible for helping this child to develop in the best, most fulfilling way possible. Parenting is really about educating the mind and body so our children are happy, successful and healthy in body and soul. Working with the mind-body connection is the foundation for parenting the whole child.
Dr. Caron Goode is a psychotherapist, author and inspirational speaker. Gifted with compassion and a deep desire to assist others in living their passionate purpose, Dr. Goode has become a respected leader in the parent coaching industry. In addition to founding and operating the Academy for Coaching Parents International (which trains students in the empowerment model of parent coaching), Dr. Goode has shared her holistic approach to achieving parenting success and managing family relationships in magazines, newspapers and radio. She is the author of twelve books, including The Art and Science of Coaching Parents (2007) and Raising Intuitive Children (2009). Find her here: inspiredparenting.net. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 23 | pathways
By Larry Palevsky, MD
The Road to Holistic Practice AN INTEGRATED collaged with images from istockphoto
Every doctor spends years gaining an education and training for his or her career. Medical school and internships present crucial opportunities for learning. But the education doesn’t stop once the training ends. Sometimes, in order to be the best doctor you can be, you have to be ready to unlearn the things you were told were true, and consider the evidence right in front of your eyes.
fter four years of pediatric residency and fellowship training, I spent nine years caring for sick children in pediatric emergency rooms, delivery rooms, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units and in-patient wards in the New York City hospital system. I developed a large bag of tricks to give quick help to sick children. Children with asthma seemed to respond well to treatment with inhalers, steroids and leukotriene inhibitors. Yet these same children kept coming back on a regular basis, with recurrent symptoms of cough, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Similarly, children with ear infections always received antibiotics. They often returned to the ER, however, presenting sick again after completing their 10-day courses of medicine. Newborns who appeared depressed and lifeless after difficult births were vigorously resuscitated and invariably admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for observation and treatment since they didn’t perk up quite enough to go to the regular newborn nursery. Often, it took them days to recover and develop adequate tone in their bodies, or demonstrate the ability to feed properly. My medical training prepared me to intervene during a crisis. I was not prepared, however, to understand the contributing factors that led children to develop acute and chronic childhood illnesses. I was also not taught a vital piece of information, which has transformed my thinking about how to properly treat children: that children’s bodies are working to get well when they are sick with the symptoms of common acute and chronic illnesses. Instead, I was trained to stop children’s symptoms and illnesses at all costs, using as many over-the-counter and prescription drugs as I could, to make all the pain and suffering go away. We are taught, after all, that illness and symptoms are bad and must be stopped, especially in our children. I have come to understand, however, that with our use and abuse of over-the-counter medicines, antibiotics and prescription drugs, what we are often really stopping is the natural process of healing and maturation in our children. This medical approach, combined with children’s regular exposure to toxins, is directly responsible for creating the chronic illnesses in a quarter to a third of the children in our society. Gradually, I began listening to and learning the philosophies and scientific teachings of other healing practices—nutritional and functional medicine, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, chiropractic, naturopathy, osteopathy, homeopathy, Reiki, essential oils, energy medicine, shamanism and more. I was exposed to new and exciting ideas about health, wellness, illness and healing. They made a lot of sense to me. Many ideas were contradictory to what I was trained to believe, yet I knew I had opened a door to a perspective on health that resonated with a deeper wisdom.
I began to discover that I could help families learn about prevention and safe treatments for their children when they were sick, assisting them through their symptoms without suppressing them. These children were invariably stronger after recovering from their illnesses. I was surprised to learn that children have the innate capacity to heal. The basic sciences of physiology, immunology and neurology that we learn about in medical school demonstrate how inherently resilient children are, and how capable they are of keeping well and growing stronger if we don’t interfere with their biological systems. This scientific and philosophical understanding about our bodies is embraced by every method of healing around the world...except western medicine. A World of Toxins The transition to these new ideas was not easy. Colleagues, residents and medical students did not want to hear that the chemicals in children’s bodies that triggered their inflammatory symptoms of asthma, eczema and other acute and chronic health conditions were produced directly from the accumulation of toxins in children’s lives. They were in the foods they ate, the air they breathed, the skin products we were putting on them and the ingredients of their vaccines. Even the intensity of their nervous system stimulation was detrimental. A simple change in their diets, an improvement in their intestinal health and a decrease in stimulation could not only treat their acute or chronic conditions, but actually prevent them from recurring. I thought my colleagues would be intrigued. I know I was. It was science, after all. Decrease the toxic load entering the children’s bodies and strengthen their inherent physiology, and they would stop being sick, or recover easily when balance was restored. Nonetheless, the other doctors continued to prescribe the medicines to children to suppress their symptoms, often unaware that the symptoms of illness were part of their normal biology to expel accumulated toxic chemicals. Instead, with these medications, they were pushing these toxins further into their bodies until the next time the children attempted to get sick, which would be suppressed with medications yet again. In this cycle, children with frequent acute childhood illnesses would end up developing chronic medical conditions. Their bodies would no longer be strong enough to completely expel the increased load of toxic chemicals they accumulated. These new ideas challenged the very foundations of the conventional medical model in which we as doctors were trained. “Nutrition is not a field of medicine,” were some of the first words I heard when I began medical school in 1983. Through my issue 23 | pathways
own education and experiences, however, I have come to see how important nutrition and the health of the intestines are to the overall health of our children. We can find the basis of these truths in the teachings of both western and eastern medical sciences. A Change in Diet I have worked with children with asthma who no longer needed medication after they cleaned up their diets, ate whole foods and made water their main beverage. Some of them weathered upper respiratory infections without wheezing for the first time in their lives. I have helped clear up the skin of infants and children with eczema after supplementing them with nutrients and removing foods which stressed and inflamed their digestive systems. Supportive topical treatments were added, stressors were eased at home, and no suppressive oral or topical medicines were needed. Most of all, I have been amazed at the quick improvements in children with chronic ear fluid after a simple change in their diets, giving their intestinal systems, damaged from the side effects of multiple courses of antibiotics, a chance to heal. Children with poor hearing and speech began hearing and speaking normally. Children who had been told they would require ear tubes never needed surgery. I saw a large number of infants and children with puffy eyes, often with dark circles around them. These circles were an outward expression of the digestive and adrenal strain going on inside their bodies. Many children had persistent nasal congestion, thick white coats on their tongues, allergic nasal symptoms and other digestive and behavioral/neurological complaints. Most often these symptoms were related to sensitivities to dietary choices and environmental stressors. These stressors included over-scheduling; lack of rest and sleep; off-gassing from paints, clothes, dry cleaning, new furniture and plastics; and exposures to heavy metals and electromagnetic radiation. Once the parents decided to clean up their children’s diets and reduce stressors, their children’s symptoms dissipated. Children who had been taking allergy medicines were able to stop their prescriptions. There was even a subset of children with nighttime bedwetting who, after removing certain foods and chemicals from their diets, stopped wetting their beds. The chemicals had been inflaming and irritating their nerves and immune cells, and stimulating their kidneys and bladder. I worked with one adolescent boy in particular who suffered from a minor motor tic disorder. He was a super bright kid with whom I enjoyed working, but he was also shy and hesitant to make eye contact. He spoke quietly, with lackluster energy, and needed to be encouraged to speak up and answer questions. He was prone to angry outbursts, and the tic movements of his face and tongue would increase under the stress of being addressed directly. During the first year I worked with the family, he tried nutritional supplements, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy and behavioral therapy. Despite these treatments, the tics persisted and began to worsen. His parents were ready to start
pathways | issue 23
him on medication to control the tics. From our initial meeting, I had been encouraging them to make dietary changes, especially in light of the deep-red puffy circles under his eyes. Finally, he and his parents were willing to give it a try. One month later, after the family changed his diet, I witnessed a different child. He was energetic, expressive and happy—so talkative and engaging that he dominated the conversation. The tics, while still present, were more in his control and had begun to subside, along with the angry outbursts and the circles under his eyes. His social life had improved. Most of all, he and his family had experienced the profound effects that good nutrition could have on a person’s health. As a result, he was more open to a successful outcome from the other treatment modalities. Most important, the family was willing to look at the factors that had created the agitation in his immune and nervous system in the first place. The entire experience offered me a profound understanding of the powers of holistic medicine. This boy transformed his own life, and the lives of the people around him. Experiences With Reiki Along my path, I became a Reiki II practitioner. Children in the pediatric intensive care unit, recovering from spinal or other serious surgeries, required less pain medicine after I gave them Reiki treatments. Often I would watch them simply drift off to sleep. I saw critically ill neonates increase their oxygen saturation and lower their heart rates while receiving Reiki as well. My most fascinating experiences with Reiki were in the delivery room, caring for infants born in distress. Many of these babies were born and placed on the infant warmer without movement or even a single cry. I would assess them to make sure they had adequate vital signs and were breathing on their own. Many were breathing rapidly and with some difficulty, while others would need a little assistance to start them breathing properly. As long as the newborns were breathing and moving air, and had an adequate heart rate, I would prop the oxygen masks in their faces, turn the overhead lights off, decrease their stimulation and give them Reiki, usually lasting about 10 to 15 minutes. Nurses and doctors hovered over me, trying to get near the babies to startle, slap and stimulate them to get them to cry. I knew that as long as the babies had an open airway, were breathing and had adequate heart rates, they were safe. I watched closely for changes, for better or worse. Invariably, these depressed, initially unresponsive infants would slowly emerge, open their eyes, move their hands, arms, feet and legs, and begin a slow squirm in my hands, normalizing their tone, color and behavior. They appeared to let out a cooing noise, so gentle and appreciative. Vital signs remained stable; their breathing normalized. I would wrap the babies up and give them to their parents. Afterward, I made several follow-up visits to the newborn nursery to make sure the infants were doing well. No admissions to the intensive care unit were necessary for these newborns.
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Similarly, I once saw a two-year-old girl in my office with a high fever and a layer of fluid in her right ear. Clinically, she otherwise appeared well. She received cranial osteopathic treatment in my office, and soon after showed almost complete resolution of the fluid. The child went on to have a full, uncomplicated recovery of the febrile illness, requiring no medication. Not only did I have the opportunity to witness the healing potential of cranial osteopathy, chiropractic and energy medicine in children with acute and chronic symptoms—especially for ear pain and upper respiratory symptoms—but I also witnessed how powerful these modalities were in helping to maintain children’s health when parents used these therapies for prevention and maintenance of well-being.
As a scientist, I wanted to know the answers to these questions. I was, and am, amazed that the science to answer these questions does not exist. The science we do know, which sheds light on the dangers of vaccines, is kept out of the public eye to protect the vaccine program. The rigid standards we were taught in medical school are not adhered to when vaccine studies are conducted. What disturbs me most is how few in the medical and scientific community are interested in finding out the answers to these questions. Thankfully, parents have been, and will continue to be, the force behind getting doctors and scientists to provide the answers to these questions and making sure they become public knowledge.
No Safe Level I continued to be exposed to new information and experiences while working in the conventional medical world. The moment that had the greatest impact on me, and continues to fuel my scientific inquiry to this day, was when I learned in 1997 that vaccines contained mercury. I had been working with children for a dozen years, since I was a third-year medical student in 1985, but I had never thought to question the ingredients in vaccines. I don’t even remember our instructors mentioning how the vaccines were made or what they contained. There is no health benefit for any child to be injected with even the tiniest amount of mercury, no matter what disease we are trying to prevent. Mercury is a neurotoxin, and can poison other organ systems as well, whether it is injected or ingested. There is no such thing as a safe level. I continued reading vaccine package inserts to find that, along with mercury, vaccines contained aluminum, formaldehyde, gelatin, antibiotics, polysorbate-80, yeast, human and animal cells, live and killed viral particles and other chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens in lab animals. In the world of conventional medicine, vaccines are heralded to have saved many lives from infectious diseases and possibly even death. Yet questions remain. Is there a cost to giving our children vaccines, with an ever-increasing vaccine schedule? Are the side effects of vaccines fewer and less severe than the likelihood of serious complications or death from any of the infectious illnesses we vaccinate children against? Do any of the vaccine ingredients, and the contaminants that sneak into the vials, damage the immune and nervous systems of our children after they are injected? How do individual vaccine ingredients affect children’s bodies? We don’t know. How do their properties change when they interact with each other upon injection? We don’t know. Most importantly, how great a load of these chemicals do infants receive, how many of the ingredients are toxic, and what are infants and children able to detoxify at any stage of their development? We don’t know. What are they unable to detoxify that might accumulate in their bodies over time? Does this accumulation impair any of their proper brain, immune or nervous system functions? We don’t know.
A Parent’s Choice I began to meet parents who believed their children were damaged by vaccines. I also began to meet parents who were afraid to inject these ingredients into their children. Some came to my office having been thrown out of their pediatrician’s office for even questioning the safety or efficacy of vaccines. Many expressed an interest in choosing which vaccines they wanted for their children and which they did not. Others wanted to delay them or spread them out. Most parents wanted an empathetic ear, and did not find it in their physicians. Many did not trust the science behind the vaccine safety and efficacy studies, and with good reason. They were learning how crude and unclean the vaccine manufacturing process was. Parents were also learning about the influences of special interests on vaccine policies and manufacturing. A growing number of them expressed an interest in holistic and alternative medicine, emerging with a different view of health, wellness, illness and healing than what is forced upon us by conventional medical culture. Somehow, they were learning that vaccines were not always the best and only way of preventing illness in their children. Clearly, my training was challenged by my newfound education and exposure. Who was I supposed to listen to and believe? As a young resident, I remember my mentors expressing how important it was to listen to parents. “Who knows the children better than their parents, especially their mothers?” they would say. Yet so many parents were witnessing the regression and decline of their children’s health soon after the administration of single or multiple vaccines, only to be ignored, refuted and belittled for even thinking that the events were related. I chose to trust the parents, and believe what they were saying. Vaccine adjuvants, ingredients and contaminants, along with the very process of injection of foreign materials, interfere with the natural development of balanced, healthy immune systems in our children. Scientific evidence is mounting linking vaccines to the development of chronic debilitating medical conditions. If we are willing to understand the contributing and causative factors that bring on acute and chronic diseases in children, we must include a discussion about the potential side effects of single or multiple
pathways | issue 23
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vaccine administration and the cumulative effect they have on a childâ€™s immune and nervous systems. The medical and scientific communities continue to avoid a public discussion. The party line remains: Vaccines are safe, effective, necessary and unrelated in any way to the onset of serious health complications. Parents want to learn ways to keep their childrenâ€™s immune systems strong. I like to start from the premise that newborns already have a strong immune system, which gets stronger still if we donâ€™t interfere with their innate capacity to heal. Our job is to rear our children by avoiding things that weaken their immune systems. We need to improve our childrenâ€™s nutrition by encouraging a whole foods diet for the whole family, reducing the temptation to eat processed, packaged and artificial foods and beverages (not to mention dairy, soy, flour products and processed sugars), and by using water as our main beverage. Teachers, parents and other family members can increase their awareness of how stress and exposures to environmental toxins can affect our health. Parents can begin to learn about the benefits of holistic healing practices for prevention, maintenance and safe treatment and support of childhood ailments. Fear of worst-case scenarios can be transformed into empowerment through proper education. The impetus to use over-the-counter and prescription medication can be great when a child is sick. No one likes to watch children in discomfort. However, the fewer suppressive medications and injected toxins we prescribe, and the more we allow children to experience many of their acute childhood illnesses, the greater the likelihood that they will develop balanced, mature and healthy immune systems. Let children be sick, and watch them get well.
Author, lecturer and educator Dr. Larry Palevsky is a board-certified pediatrician who utilizes an integrative approach to childrenâ€™s wellness and illness. Dr. Palevsky is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, past president of the American Holistic Medical Association, co-founder and president of the Holistic Pediatric Association (hpakids.org) and a diplomate of the American Board of Holistic Medicine. Dr. Palevsky maintains pediatric consultation practices in Northport, Long Island and Manhattan. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html.
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swine flu Earlier this year saw an outbreak of a frightening new strain of the flu. The resulting panic created a lot of sound and fury…but what did it signify?
By Darrel Crain
ust when the A(H1N1) flu (“the flu formerly known as swine”) was losing its headline luster for being too mild and ordinary a bug, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the first global influenza epidemic in 41 years. On June 11, 2009, the WHO raised the pandemic warning to level 6, the highest possible alert. Officials point out that this classification refers only to the geographic spread of the new flu over the globe, and tells nothing of its virulence or deadliness. Nevertheless, the heightened alert will likely rekindle the flames of “pandemania” in the United States, sending multitudes of panicky parents to already overcrowded emergency rooms with feverish, sniffling children. Hysteria in the realm of public health is highly disruptive to normal health services, not to mention unnecessary and costly. Intentionally or not, health leaders the world over create panic with their pronouncements. What about educating the public rather than raising a ruckus? Wouldn’t that help us all maintain our health (and sanity) and prepare us to respond rationally to future epidemics of flu—and fear? Scary predictions tossed about by health leaders and incessantly repeated by the media are responsible for the public’s perception of health risks. The avian flu (remember the avian flu?) was predicted to become the next global pandemic. As panic spread in 2004, the pre-
vailing sentiment was grim: “It’s not a question of if the avian flu pandemic is coming, but when.” Such dire predictions were based, in part, on a high rate of death of those who became infected with avian flu, particularly in Vietnam. The death rate in Asia was reported to be as high as 70 percent. As scary as it sounds a death rate is simply a ratio: a comparison of the number of people who are infected to the number who actually die from the infection. But a couple of years after the 2004 outbreak, a report was published in the January 2006 edition of the medical journal Archives of Internal Medicine, suggesting that the death rate attributed to avian flu was severely overblown. In the midst of the avian flu scare a group of Swedish researchers traveled to Vietnam to conduct a study and were surprised with what they found. The scientists concluded that hundreds of thousands—perhaps millions—of people in Asia are infected with avian flu each year… not just the few hundred individuals sick enough to wind up in a hospital. The vast majority of the population infected with avian flu seems to experience only a mild, self-limiting illness, indistinguishable from the symptoms of seasonal flu. (Sound familiar? It’s not unlike the issue 23 | pathways
The official response in the U.S. has been threefold: First, scare the bejeebers out of the public; second, distribute government stockpiles of “antiviral” drugs; and third, make a new vaccine. experience most infected U.S. citizens had with the new pig/bird/ human flu.) Public health officials at the WHO and elsewhere have yet to acknowledge the likelihood that enormous numbers of people become infected with avian flu every year and recover without incident. The scary death rate from avian flu would likely plummet spectacularly if health leaders would examine and confirm the evidence suggesting that avian flu is widespread and ordinary. As of this writing, the WHO has reported 429 deaths worldwide associated with the so-called swine flu, officially renamed A(H1N1). To an American public accustomed to annual flu shot campaigns howling about the deaths of 36,000 Americans each year from seasonal flu, the swine flu sounds entirely flimsy and feeble. If we do the math, a death toll of 36,000 per year from run-ofthe-mill seasonal flu means an average of 690 deaths per week. In the six weeks preceding the WHO’s high pandemic alert, a total of 45 deaths were attributed to the A(H1N1) flu in the U.S., or about 8 deaths per week. That means the ordinary flu is about 86.5 times more deadly than the new flu, based on official numbers. So why all the fuss and feathers? Part of the confusion stems from comparing confirmed numbers to estimated numbers. In the current outbreak, the WHO has been releasing only laboratory confirmed numbers of A(H1N1) flu cases. Meanwhile, in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates numbers of seasonal flu cases and deaths based on statistical modeling—a process that provides projected figures based on data, rather than relying on the hard data itself. Confusing matters even more, the CDC stubbornly persists in lumping together statistics for influenza-related illness and death with that of pneumonia-related illness and death. Note to the CDC: Pneumonia and flu are not the same thing, nor do they always occur together. In the initial stages of reporting on A(H1N1) flu, the CDC released numbers of confirmed cases only, but the limited capacity of laboratories in the U.S. to test for the new virus was quickly overwhelmed by hordes of Americans fearful they were infected. Eventually it was announced by officials that laboratory confirmation was no longer necessary for the new flu and we returned to estimates: “Right now, we are estimating over 1 million cases in the U.S.,” reported CDC researcher Lyn Finelli, DrPH. Probably, maybe, we think so, nobody knows for certain. The official response in the U.S. to the novel A(H1N1) strain of influenza has been threefold: First, scare the bejeebers out of the public; second, distribute government stockpiles of “antiviral” drugs; and third, make a new vaccine. How has this been working so far? Public health officials started off by pushing the panic button with chilling predictions and worst-case scenarios that were amplified and echoed by the media, always happy to hype the latest
pathways | issue 23
sensation. But suppose the A(H1N1) virus had turned out to be a deadly pathogen. Is the creation of a state of fearful hysteria about new and unknown health risks helpful to anyone at all? Officials were also quick to begin distributing expensive government stockpiles of so-called antiviral drugs as the best defense against the new flu. What do we know about how well these drugs fight viruses? First, most viruses become resistant to drugs in a very short time. Second, when these antivirals do “work,” it means slightly diminished symptoms of flu, or the shaving of less than 24 hours off the length of time symptoms are suffered. What about the safety of antivirals? The potential adverse reactions to Tamiflu, in particular, are significant. In Japan the drug has been banned for use by teenagers for being linked to increased suicidal behavior. Tamiflu’s own safety information states: “People with the flu, particularly children and adolescents, may be at an increased risk of self-injury and confusion shortly after taking Tamiflu and should be closely monitored.” Are the limited benefits of taking these drugs outweighed by much greater risks? And then there’s the flu vaccine. Congress and President Obama have launched a new round of payouts to drug companies to make new vaccines against the virus. European countries are also ordering huge quantities of vaccines intended to fight the new flu. But what does medical literature tell us about how well influenza vaccines save lives and reduce the incidence of influenza in the age groups for whom shots are recommended? Independent reviews of published medical research from around the world pertaining to flu shots are periodically undertaken by the Cochrane Collaboration, which accepts no government or industry money for its research. In one review the Cochrane group looked at 51 studies involving 260,000 children: It found “no evidence that injecting children 6-23 months of age with flu vaccines is any more effective than a placebo.” Another Cochrane review of 25 studies involving more than 60,000 healthy adults concluded: “Universal immunization of healthy adults was not supported by this review.” The Cochrane group also looked at 64 studies involving the elderly: “The runaway 100 percent effectiveness touted by proponents [of the flu shot] for the elderly was nowhere to be seen. What you see is that marketing rules the response to influenza, and scientific evidence comes fourth or fifth.” We now face the possibility that public health authorities will attempt to mandate three flu shots beginning later this year, one for the predicted strains of seasonal flu and two for A(H1N1) flu. Will the federal government exercise its emergency pandemic authority and force every man, woman and child (without exception) to be injected with the new, untested vaccines currently being rushed into production to fight the new flu? Stay tuned. The public needs to be reassured that the few deaths associated with the A(H1N1) flu in the U.S. involve individuals already
suffering underlying health conditions. This pattern of who dies following influenza infection would be the same if the media began tracking confirmed cases of seasonal flu. Influenza may be dangerous for persons with a weak or compromised immune system, but historically, to the average well-nourished person, influenza viruses pose little mortal risk. The same cannot be said of certain vaccine ingredients, such as mercury and aluminum phosphate, which are inherently harmful to human health at any dose. Fear of the flu and confidence that antiviral drugs and additional vaccines will protect us from influenza is rooted in an unsophisticated and antiquated belief in the germ theory of disease. The man known as the father of pathology, Dr. Rudolf Virchow, tried to correct this one-dimensional thinking near the end of his life more than one hundred years ago. Louis Pasteur himself, the man largely credited with developing the germ theory, is reported to have said on his deathbed, â€œLe germ nâ€™est rien, câ€™est le terrain qui est tout,â€? which roughly translates to â€œThe microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.â€? By terrain, Pasteur meant the health of the human host. At the end of his life he understood that neither viruses nor bacteria just come along and make people sick. Rather, microbes infect those people who are already weakened. Saying germs cause disease is similar to asserting that mosquitoes cause swamps or that rats cause garbage dumps. Mosquitoes and rats only show up when conditions permit; the same is true of viruses and bacteria. Lost in all the pandemic hysteria is the truly important news: Positive, noninvasive, health-building steps are well within the reach of even the most modest household budgetâ€”steps that can actually help us all avoid influenza infection. Namely, we need to use some common sense. We need to stop worrying, get outdoors and exercise, get plenty of rest, eat a healthy and diverse diet of wholesome foods free of chemical contaminants, drink plenty of pure water and supplement our diets with high-quality vitamins D, A, E and C. Independent research reproduced the world over tells us that these measures are safe and remarkably effective. Is it too much to hope that official pronouncements about facing the flu, old and new, will someday inform the public how to build up health rather than screech about how the sky is falling? To paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt, â€œThe only thing we have to fear is the fear of flu itself.â€?
The HPA: Alliance for Holistic Family Health and Wellness offers resources and timely information helping parents make informed health care choices for pregnancy, birth, and childhood. We are committed to supporting parents who seek a holistic
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model of health care and empowering parents to build healthy bodies and spirits in their families. Visit our web site to find a holistic practitioner.
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$IJSPQSBDUJD$BSFGPS$IJMESFOÂŠ 4BGF (FOUMF &GGFDUJWF Darrel Crain is a family chiropractor and natural health writer who lives and practices in the beautiful foothills of San Diego in Alpine, California. Read more of his articles here: planetchiropractic.com. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamily wellness.org/references.html.
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What Do You
Expect? By Kevin Donka, DC
© istockphoto.com / traffic: jesus jauregui / musical notes: yuriy panyukov
busy road near my home is under construction right now. I travel this way twice every day, but yesterday I noticed a sign I hadn’t seen before. It said, “New Lane Configurations— Expect Delays.” This didn’t seem strange to me at first, but as I continued to think about it, I wondered why I should expect delays, rather than just preparing for them. If I leave a little earlier than usual, I won’t have to worry about being late, and if I bring an extra CD to listen to, then I am prepared for a delay. And if it turns out that there is no delay, even better. This way, my expectation is that no matter what happens, it will be fine. But again, why should I actually expect delays? The simple truth is that you cannot escape something you are giving your attention to. When I put my attention toward expecting a delay, I am very likely to experience one. But when I expect to be okay with whatever happens because I am prepared for it, I often will experience whatever is best for me. This concept is true with every facet of your life…even your health. My question for you is: What are you expecting to happen with your health? Does the energy of your thoughts, words and actions go toward worrying about what might go wrong, or toward what you want to go right? Most of us were raised with the belief that our bodies are inherently weak and defective and that they will break down without continuous medical intervention. This begins even before birth: In pregnancy, mothers are constantly told how hard labor is, and that drugs will be necessary for her to handle it. Once we’re born, we’re told that we need a lot of vaccines, because our immune systems are inadequately prepared to handle life. We are taught that it’s a problem if our body raises its temperature, and we must take medication to lower it. If we are creative and active in school, we are told we have a disease that doesn’t allow us to focus and function normally. We’re even told we very likely have some
When I put my attention toward expecting a delay, I am very likely to experience one. But when I expect to be okay with whatever happens because I am prepared for it, I often will experience whatever is best for me. kind of allergy to the things in the air we breathe! Basically, we’re told we’re not good enough the way we are, but medication can make us better. This continues throughout our lives, and we unknowingly pass this legacy of lunacy on to our children. The chiropractic paradigm takes a completely opposite approach to health and life. It says that we are all born with an inherent wisdom, and when we fully express this intelligent life energy, we are strong, healthy and free to happily work toward the actualization of our purpose and potential. If you lose your ability to fully express your life force, you also lose your natural state of health, or “ease,” and instead find yourself in a state of “dis-ease.” This happens whenever you lose normal alignment or function in your spine. Because of the intimate relationship between the spine and nervous system, any spinal malfunction causes a partial loss of connection between your brain and body, and a subsequent alteration in the flow of your life energy. The chiropractic adjustment process restores the free flow of life energy, and allows you to progressively return to the full expression of health and life. By making sure your brain and body can communicate effectively, living a healthy lifestyle and keeping a positive focus, you’ll be prepared for whatever life brings you. People raised in this mindset tend to apply it to every area of their lives. The legacy they pass on to their children is one of trust instead of worry—trust that every situation offers an opportunity for growth. So again, I ask you: What do you expect?
Dr. Kevin Donka graduated from the National College of Chiropractic in 1987 and he has maintained a large and unique family practice in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago since that time. Dr. Donka testified before the U.S. Congress in 1999 on the issue of national healthcare reform, and has spoken at numerous seminars and chiropractic colleges. Dr. Donka is known for his unique way of asking questions about and examining everyday scientific and philosophical ideas, as well as his simple, vitalistic way of explaining these ideas to people. He publishes his free weekly e-mail, Chirothots, which reaches thousands of chiropractors. Kevin has been married to his wife Cristine since 1985 and they have five outrageously happy, beautiful, healthy, possibility-based children. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html. issue 23 | pathways
informed c h o i c e It may be quite astonishing to learn what’s currently going on in the bisphenol a (BPA) industry. BPA is a chemical additive used to strengthen plastic. It’s found in polycarbonate plastic food and drink bottles, including baby bottles and sippy cups. It’s also in most dental sealants and in the lining of aluminum food and beverage cans, including baby formula.
Moms Fight Back By Jane Sheppard
pathways | issue 23
© istockphoto.com / mom & baby: rené jansa
The Battle Against BPA
PA is a chemical that disrupts the development of the reproductive system and the brain, as well as causing other health problems. Babies and fetuses, of course, are the most vulnerable. There’s so much evidence about the harmful effects of BPA that the government is finally acting to ban it from products meant for children under age 3. If you haven’t yet heard, representatives from several big companies in the canned food and beverage industry—including Coca Cola, Alcoa, Del Monte, Crown, the American Chemical Council and more—held an emergency meeting in late May to strategize how to stop a government ban on BPA and manipulate public opinion with fear tactics, specifically targeting young mothers. These companies are making friends in the government and a running a major lobbying campaign to block the ban on the use of BPA in baby bottles, toddler cups, baby food and formula containers. In this meeting, they discussed ways to persuade the public against choosing BPA-free packaging, including threatening to limit access to affordable baby food. One of the strategies they discussed in this meeting was to get a young pregnant mother to be a spokesperson to talk about the benefits of eating from food cans lined with BPA, as well as the benefits of feeding babies from BPA-tainted bottles! Really, now—how stupid do they think we are? It’s truly disturbing, but not at all surprising. Sadly, this is business as usual in a world where the corporate bottom line and pleasing stockholders is the No. 1 goal. I’ve been following this stuff for decades and I fully know how industry manipulates the public and the government. Corporate greed keeps toxic products on the market, regardless of the harmful effects on human health. There’s nothing new about tainted research and expensive PR campaigns touting the benefits of dangerous products. It happens all the time, especially in the food, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
But the simple truth is: We moms have all the power! Yes, we moms are the ones who do the spending that drives corporate profits. Since we are the consumers, we can decide which companies to support. Deceptive strategies wither and die without consumer participation. In a very short time after the BPA industry e-mail was leaked to the press, mom bloggers were all over it, spreading the news rapidly through Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. The good news is that if you stay connected with articles like this, you can keep aware of issues affecting your families. The old systems of secrecy and manipulation are crumbling in this new, open culture. We’ve entered a new age of corporate transparency that sheds the light on deception. As parents, we are becoming aware of issues affecting the well-being of our children, and we can make empowered decisions. The Internet is a tremendous tool and online social networks are having a profound change on our society and culture. Back when my daughter was little, there was not a lot of info out there, and few alternatives available. Many times I felt like I
was struggling against mainstream acceptance of massmarketed parenting, and my natural parenting ideas seemed radical. Now I’m thrilled to see a greater acceptance of natural alternatives, innovative ideas and life-giving solutions coming from everywhere! I believe our planet is in a fast-moving shift into restoring a natural, sustainable, ecological balance and we, as moms and consumers, are playing a big part in this. There are alternatives to toxic food, bottles, cans, toys, mattresses, skin care products and every other unhealthy product that’s marketed to us. Many new alternatives are currently expensive, since high-quality, natural materials are not massproduced the way the cheap toxins are. But there are also plenty of ways to maintain a natural, healthy lifestyle on a small budget. There are some things you can do right now to avoid exposure to BPA. Limit your use of canned foods. If you must use them, rinsing canned fruits or vegetables might reduce BPA amounts. The Environmental Working Group has an excellent list of babysafe formula and baby bottles at ewg.org/babysafe. And instead of using polycarbonate plastic travel mugs and water bottles, use unlined stainless-steel containers whenever possible. (Polycarbonate is marked with the recycling code #7 or the letters “PC”.) You can also ask your dentist for BPA-free dental fillings and sealants. In addition, it’s important to stay informed about legislation to ban BPA. Minnesota recently passed a statewide ban of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and other infant products, and California could very well be next. The Toxics-Free Babies and Toddlers Act (SB 797) is supported by the Environmental Working Group and would eliminate BPA in food and beverage containers for children under 3. Other regions, such as Chicago and Suffolk County, N.Y., have restricted BPA usage as well. There is also legislation being prepared at the federal level: The House and Senate have both introduced bills called the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009, that would regulate and restrict the use of BPA nationwide. Both bills (H.R. 1523 and S. 593) are currently in committee. We live in an extraordinary time, and we now have an incredible opportunity to remake our society into a truly sustainable, compassionate and health-conscious culture that puts our children’s well-being ahead of corporate profits. Let’s shop with awareness and create a new future for our kids.
Jane Sheppard is the founder of healthychild.com, a website that offers resources for parents. She continues to discover and write about healthy products and materials, with the goal of getting the information out to as many parents as possible. She is also author of the e-book Super Healthy Kids. View article references and author information here: pathwaystofamilywellness.org/references.html issue 23 | pathways
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PATHWAYS HIGH FIVE In pathways High Five, we recommend the books and resources created by the authors of this issue’s articles. If you read an article that inspires or moves you, or offers some valuable new information or insight, we encourage you to seek out and explore these authors’ further writing.
The Baby Bond By Linda Folden Palmer, DC Backed by more than 1,200 trusted sources, The Baby Bond: The New Science Behind What’s Really Important When Caring for Your Baby, written by parenting expert and pediatric nutritionist Dr. Linda Holden Palmer, is a breakthrough guide for parents of newborns. The Baby Bond reveals the many unknown, exclusive benefits of a responsive, nurturing parenting style that begins with this precious connection. This must-have manual will help parents build the foundation of a healthy family, providing them with important information such as: •
Eye-opening evidence why exclusive breastfeeding is so beneficial
How attentiveness and touch impacts permanent brain development in infants
Under-reported facts about how to reduce colic, food allergies and illness
Why sharing sleep with your baby is both safe and natural
How bonding with your young child early will make the teen years down the road less stressful
Raising Intuitive Children By Caron B. Goode, EdD, and Tara Peterson
Reading Raising Intuitive Children is about the children and adults who are living in the world today, discovering their gift of intuitive intelligence. If you are a teacher, parent or caretaker of a creative inspired artist, an empathic feeler, a spiritual psychic or a physically gifted child, this book will help you understand in concrete terms how intuition plays an important role in their development. The book also offers effective suggestions to get parents feeling confident—not only about parenting their children, but about exploring their own intuitive natures. You will likely find your child meeting different characteristics described in this book as your child grows. I highly recommend keeping this book as a reference and using it as a tool to introduce other parents to the topic as they begin to recognize intuitive intelligence in the children around them.
The New Global Student By Maya Frost In 2005, Maya Frost and her husband sold everything and left their suburban American lifestyle behind in order to have an adventure abroad. The tricky part: they had to shepherd their four teenage daughters through high school and into college in nontraditional ways. This hilarious and conspiratorial how-to handbook describes the affordable, accessible and stunningly advantageous options they stumbled upon that any American student can leverage to get an outrageously relevant global education. Packed with myth-busting facts, laughable loopholes, insider insights, astonishing success stories and poignant tales from the Frost daughters themselves, this inspiring romp is guaranteed to get you cheering: “Goodbye, old school—hello, bold school!” “Tremendous insight....Essential reading for any family yearning to step off the treadmill.” —Dan Pink, New York Times bestselling author of A Whole New Mind
pathways | issue 23
© istockphoto.com / marilyn nieves
Attached at the Heart By Lysa Parker, MS, CFLE and Barbara Nicholson
Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children is the guidepost for attachment parenting, offering evidencebased parenting advice for raising more compassionate children. Authors and API co-founders Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker provide extensive research and facts, as well as personal anecdotes and tips on how to incorporate attachment parenting practices into everyday life. In this book, you’ll learn: •
Important facts you need to know before and after having your baby
Strategies to strengthen the emotional bonds with your child
How to be a more conscious parent with your children
New information to help you make informed decisions
How raising children with empathy and respect can positively affect society
No other parenting book is as comprehensive in its scope, offering everything from an overview of attachment theory and current child development research to practical strategies for everyday situations. Attached at the Heart is a vital blueprint for change that begins at home.
Flu: Alternative Treatments and Prevention By Randall Neustaedter, OMD Every winter brings the flu season— sometimes a mild outbreak, and periodically a deadly epidemic. World health authorities fear that a new and lethal flu virus strain will exhaust available medical services, resulting in a public health disaster. Vaccination has been hailed as the best preventive measure, yet occasional shortages and questions about the vaccine’s effectiveness and side effects have led many people to seek alternatives. In this comprehensive guide, Dr. Neustaedter offers the best alternative strategies to boost your immunity and treat the flu, should it strike close to home. •
Learn about the influenza virus, how it attacks the body, and why it can be deadly
Learn the truth about flu vaccines
Learn about effective alternative therapies for flu
Learn how to prevent or manage the flu at home with homeopathy, herbs and diet
With sections covering the special needs of children, adults and seniors, this book will prepare you to protect yourself and your loved ones and confidently face this flu season.
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issue 23 | pathways
The Ripple Effect Each choice we make causes a ripple effect in our lives. When things happen to us, it is the reaction we choose that can create the difference between the sorrow of our past and the joy in our future.
ÂŠ istockphoto.com /parker deen
Published on Dec 14, 2009
Pathways Magazine provides vital resources for family wellness. Our articles give parents the necessary information to actively participate...