As mothers and teachers we want our children to be happy and achieve the best they can naturally. What does natural homeopathic treatment and nutrition offer to help our child be their happiest best?
Renowned Hong Kong based homeopath and mum, expert Dr. Sonal Hattangdi-Haridas answers questions by two mamas who have concerns regarding their child’s attention and chemical intervention and offers natural remedies and solutions.
Q: I’ve noticed that it’s hard for my 4.5 year old son to keep his attention span for longer than a few minutes at a time, what can I do to help him?
A: 4.5 yrs is quite young for long-term sustained attention. In the interest of school readiness, it’s worth taking a few simple measures to help settle him for small periods of time. Expending energy in the park daily before the pre-school day begins and another park venture in the evenings, while ensuring a good appetite and deep sleep, is beneficial. Homeopathic remedies Calc Phos 30 and Kali Phos 6x support healthy growth and nerve development.
Simple foods and limiting processed ones (ready to eat food and snacks out of packets) makes a big difference. Each meal must be a healthy combination of complex carbohydrates (whole grains rather than refined flour), healthy fats (avocados, eggs) and protein (chicken, beans, legumes). Vegetables and fruit are not optional. Recent research has shown the pigments in fruit and veg have protective, anti-inflammatory and enriching properties. Eating together as a family works better and children quickly habituate to nutritious family meals.
The majority of children typically react to the added sugar in their drinks and snacks. Commercial chocolate milk or added nutritional supplements may have more than 2 teaspoons of sugar in a cup. High sugar content is common in a many gluten-free, dairy–free and marketed organic processed foods. Mamas, I implore you, please read the nutrition labels at the back and choose wisely.
Ensure adequate Omega-3 intake. Oily fish such as salmon and tuna in the child’s diet and Vegan Omega-3 supplementation in vegetarians and children sensitive to fish improves attention, reduces allergies and improves immunity.
Distractibility and hyperactivity in a preschooler could also be a sign of sensory processing issues. A situation where the fast maturing nervous system is overwhelmed by the amount of data received in from the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, balancing system and touch.
Skewed data processing leads to walking on toes (beyond age 2), high pain threshold (they can bounce of walls happily), temper tantrums and impulsivity. It also prevents them from learning from their environment. Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) can be mistaken for autism as symptoms are similar.
Holistically speaking, much can be done. Homeopathically remedies such as hypericum help calm the nerves naturally. In my experience, SPD largely coincides with allergies. Clinically SPD kids commonly have skin rashes, allergies and food intolerances. Treating these with homeopathy and nutrition improves sensory discomforts efficiently and for the long term. As the dry skin and respiratory allergies improve so does the child’s focus and temperament.
Q: My 8 yr. old daughter has been diagnosed with ADHD, I don’t want to put her on medication. What can I do naturally?
A: The mind and body are connected. Sounds simple, yet often ignored in this day of specialists. ADHD is a behavioural diagnosis that means there is no blood test that can confirm diagnosis. Hence the experience of the clinician and time spent in understanding the child and situation is vital to accurate diagnosis. Children, like adults can have “off” days when they are just not themselves. Be wary of 15 min consultations that lead to a prescription. Medication is not a cure-all and has documented side-effects. However, it is urgently needed if impulsivity is high and life-threatening.
If your child has allergies, skin issues, disturbed sleep or snores, it is best to holistically heal these discomforts first. An itchy, sniffling, sleepy child will find it difficult to focus. Underlying learning disorders such as dyslexia, SPD and consequent inability to cope may exhibit as attention issues. Randomised clinical trials with homeopathy in children diagnosed with ADHD have shown positive results. Homeopathic prescription is based on the individuality of each case.
In diagnosed learning disorders, I tend to focus on the anxiety, stress and frustration relief with homeopathy. Research done at Oxford has confirmed that children diagnosed with ADHD tend to have low Omega-3 levels. Supplementing with adequate EPA+DHA supplements has documented improvements in attention, sitting tolerance and reading skills. Choosing the right fish oil or vegan alternatives is best done by experienced practitioners. Cod liver oil is high in Vitamin A and is not appropriate as an Omega-3 supplement in this situation.Type your paragraph here.
As we move into allergy season, Dr. Sonal Hattangdi-Haridas, founder and Director of Maya Health Institute, tells Shreena Patel how homeopathy might help.
What is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a natural therapeutic science. The aim is to assess all the symptoms of a person and treat the complete unique picture, not just the diagnostic label.
Natural Homeopathic remedies are given to reduce immediate discomforts and to balance the body’s immune system. Nutrition and lifestyle changes may also be suggested.
What is the basis of homeopathy?
Homeopathy is based on 3 principles:
The ‘Law of Similars’ is the basis of prescription. It says, “let like be cured by like”, meaning the responses to a substance are a guide to the diseases it can be treat. For example, Allium Cepa is made using onion (known for causing watery eyes and nose).
The ‘Laws of Infinitesimals’ states that only minimal dose is required to initiate a change (the substances within homeopathic remedies are diluted to ultralow doses).
‘Potentization’ is the technique used to prepare homeopathic remedies. It involves dilutions and succession (vigorous shaking) to reduce the material dose and chances of side-effects while releasing the therapeutic power.
Why do skin and respiratory allergies flare up particularly at this time of year?
Hong Kong is well known for its high humidity and air pollution. The cold damp weather increases exposure to respiratory allergens. House Dust Mites and mold thrive in this weather increasing skin irritation, nose and chest allergies. Allergic bronchitis and asthma are common in Hong Kong, especially in February, March and September.
How many people does it affect?
Globally, allergies have affect 30% of adults and 40% of children. (AAFA, 2015)
In Hong Kong statistics show 1 in 3 children suffered from at least one allergic condition with asthma and allergic rhinitis being the most common conditions, while food allergies are increasing rapidly.(Wong and Leung, 2015)
What are the common signs of skin and respiratory allergies?
At the start of a reaction, skin may be bumpy with itching. More advance stages include recurrent hives, rashes or dry scaly skin with scabs and oozing. Secondary infection is common; once the body is in a reactive state it can start flaring up at other triggers or without exposure. For example, a person sensitive to mold reacting to dust-mite or dog dander.
What is the Allergic March?
Allergies tend to appear in a particular sequence during childhood (skin allergies usually appear first, respiratory allergies later on). This progression of the symptoms and the allergies is known as the ‘allergic march’. It is commonly seen in babies with atopic dermatitis who react to cow’s milk in formula or their mother’s diet. They have a tendency to develop nasal and chest allergies as their immune systems are in hyper reactive state. What starts out as a skin irritation can develop into allergic airways and recurrent bronchitis if not assessed comprehensively.
What are the common methods of treatment?
Conventional medication in skin allergies helps to reduce discomfort locally through mild steroid creams or antihistamines which quickly reduce inflammation. In severe cases, cortisone ointments may be suggested. For respiratory allergies, steroid sprays for the nose, bronchodilator and steroid-based anti-inflammatory puffs can bring acute relief which is important. Medication may be given for chronic sufferers.
What do homeopathic remedies do differently?
Medication suppress external symptom can help at surface-level, but, since the immune sensitivities within the body remain, the tendency for allergic reactions continues. Holistic treatments such as homeopathy and nutritional therapy aim to balance from within and thus help mitigate the overall allergic tendency.
Is homeopathy safe?
The point of homeopathy is to gently stimulate the body to heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are made using natural sources, such as plant and minerals. When processed in sterile licensed laboratories and prescribed by an experienced practitioner, they are safe for children and pregnant women, do not have side-effects, withdrawal reactions and are non-addictive. In case of food-based intolerances, elimination diets must be sensible and done under nutritional guidance to ensure correct substitution of the essential nutrients.
In your experience how long do these treatments take?
For a few recent rashes homeopathic treatment would show results within a few weeks. With generalized long-term hypersensitivities, it would take between 3-18 months. In most cases, positive changes are seen within the first 2-3 weeks. Once the treatment is complete, stopping the remedies should not results in a return of the original symptoms
What would you say to those who skeptical about homeopathy?
Homeopathy has received a lot of criticism: firstly, for the ultra-high dilutions and secondly, as some “homeopaths” suggest prophylactic (preventative) usage without clinically documented proof. However, there is positive clinical and trial evidence of the benefits of homeopathy for illnesses including allergies and ADHD. Eczema is my favorite as the before-and-after pictures are objective evidence of healing. It is important that your homeopath is clear on what he or she can and cannot do and gives you a timeline for recovery.
Dr. Hattangdi-Haridas’ tips for combating allergies
1. In damp weather, keep indoor humidity below 60% to reduce mold and dust-mite growth. Avoid constant contact with upholstery, cushions or carpets that cannot be washed often.
2. For infants, generally, I suggest solely breast-feeding in the first year of life with timely introduction of solids from 6 months and formula after the first year.
3. Adults, children and pregnant women should take the appropriate combination and dosage of probiotics and Omega-3 oils.
4. Reduce processed food in the diet and include more home-made whole foods. Wash vegetable and fruit before eating to remove oil-based pesticides on the outer surface.
AAFA 2015. Allergy Facts and Figures. http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx, Acessed on 17th January 2016 at 9.38.
BELLAVITE, P., CONFORTI, A., PONTAROLLO, F. & ORTOLANI, R. 2006. Immunology and homeopathy. 2. Cells of the immune system and inflammation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 3, 13-24.
ITSAN 2015. What is RSS? http://itsan.org/what-is-rss/, Accessed on 17 Januaary 2016 on 9.41.
WONG, G. W. K. & LEUNG, T. F. 2015. How common are allergies in Hong Kong ? The Hong Kong Medical Diary: Allergy in Hong Kong, 20, 5-6.
A Talk Presented by Dr. Sonal Hattangdi-Haridas in aid of Kids4Kids, a Hong Kong based children's charity which supports literacy, leadership and social awareness.
Dr. Sonal's talk focuses on the benefits of Natural Immune Support and the advantages of Homeopathic Therapeutics for children, discussing how homeopathic remedies can:
Strengthen immunity against respiratory and ear conditions
Support normal growth and development
Control and alleviate allergies and skin conditions
Support optimal learning, including holistic approaches to reducing ADHD
Date: Friday, 27th May, 2016
Time: 8:30am - 10:00am
Price: HK$300 per session (Includes coffee and pastry) For payment, please visit: http://kids4kids.org.hk/en/news/may-27-2016-homeopathy-and-nutrition-for-children-with-dr-sonal-hattangdi-haridas
Venue: JONES DAY, 31/F Edinburgh Tower, The Landmark,15 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong
"Cold humid and dense air aggravates eczema, asthma and nose allergies. If you suffer from, it is important to help your body heal, to overcome the constant over-reactivity as well as tackling acute attacks through your physician. Identifying stress factors, allergens coupled with healthy and appropriate food choices balances the immune system says Dr. Sonal Hattangdi-Haridas, homeopath and director of Maya Health Institute in Central. Natural organic oils for application, homeopathic remedies and nutritional advice alleviate recurrent discomfort. " - Playtimes, February 2016
Natural therapies abound in Hong Kong, but they all offer different approaches and benefits. We sat down with one of the city’s most popular homeopaths, DR SONAL HATTANGDI-HARIDAS of Maya Health Institute, to learn more about this 200- year-old practice. By BROOKE CHENOWORTH
What is homeopathy and how do you implement it in your practice?
Homeopathy is a natural alternative therapy, which promotes the body to heal from within. Homeopathic remedies are safe, non-toxic, ultra-high dilutions made from natural substances. These gentle medicines, when prescribed by an experienced and medically trained professional, can allay a host of discomforts – from reflux and morning sickness to nasal allergies and eczema – and can reduce the need for chemical interference in the body.
Homeopathic treatment has a double advantage: firstly, the body’s immune system is strengthened from within, hence protecting it from recurrent attacks; and secondly, the reduced need for antibiotics means a reduced chance of antibiotic resistance.
At Maya Health Institute we source our homeopathic medicines from reliable sources in the UK, Europe, Australia and the US.
Can homeopathy be used during pregnancy?
Yes, appropriate homeopathy encourages a healthy pregnancy and normal labour, while remedies such as Arnica and Hypericum pre- and post-caesarean can support quick recovery. Early recovery from childbirth and maintaining good breast health through homeopathy eases the mother into breastfeeding her baby.Encouraging and maintaining the milk supply in infancy translates to long-term gains for the child.
What does a standard consultation involve?
The first consultation involves a 40-minute comprehensive enquiry regarding different aspects of the main complaint. Homeopathy treats the complete picture, so the client’s medical history and family medical history are considered. Eating habits, chemical and
allergen exposure, sleep habits, bowel habits, emotional state and skin health are all essential in forming the complete picture of a person’s state of health. Follow up consultations of 20 minutes each are scheduled weekly, fortnightly and later monthly or bimonthly depending on the situation.
Prescriptions are given based on the unique symptomatology of the person, hence they are individualised according to each person’s response to the disease. For example, two people with an eye allergy may have different symptoms – for one, the eyes may itch; for the other, they may water.
Testing and supplements are suggested only if needed. I respect the role of conventional medicine, and all my clients have their GP, paediatrician or other specialist supporting them when needed. Homeopathic remedies do not interfere with other medicines.
Once they’re better, I enjoy telling my patients to only return when they’re unwell. I believe true healing is about not creating a dependency on any medication or professional.
Who would you recommend homeopathy to?
Homeopathy helps people of all ages. Homeopathic nutritional treatment supports growing infants, children and adults, and it’s ideal for babies and expectant mothers. However, surgical conditions and deep pathology lie outside the scope of homeopathy. Hence, it’s best to seek help from an experienced, medically trained homeopath who knows the difference.