What am I doing up in the middle of the night? Giving myself a treatment. Normally, I don’t treat myself. I go to an acupuncturist. But, we’re in a new town and I don’t have one yet so, here I am, with a sore throat, writing a blog in the middle of the night as I sit on my couch and wait for the needles to help my body do it’s magic. Note to people who get acupuncture treatments: don’t be like me and mess around with technology during your treatment! Rest!
Anyway, since I had my baby, I hadn’t thought a lot about acupuncture. I’d been on maternity leave and I was focused full-time on mom-stuff. It wasn’t until my baby got a cough around the holidays last year that I began to think about it again.
Does your kid never eat or sleep but seems to live off your energy instead? Is your kid out of control, but you don’t have the energy to do anything about it? It may be that your child has Hyperactive Deficiency. In Chinese Medicine this disorder can lead to behavior problems, frequent illnesses, and challenges in maintaining boundaries with a child but, also the necessity to do so - for the sake of healing. The good news is, acupuncture can help your child heal from this disorder and help you get your energy and control back!
What does Hyperactive Deficiency look like?
A child expressing Hyperactive Deficiency usually has lots of energy, frequent illnesses, poor digestion, and doesn’t eat much. He may also resist going to sleep. He is clever and can usually figure out how to get what he wants, even if he has already been told “no”. To him “no” means “maybe”. He may be hypersensitive or nervous but he may also be coy. He may have been a very sick baby that needed lots of attention and may still crave that level of attention, acting out to ensure he gets it.
Meanwhile, his drained parents cave to the child’s demands because they have no energy left to enforce clear boundaries. This could also lead to relationship problems between the parents. If one parent is a primary caregiver and the other is away from the family for several hours during the day, the one who is away more often may not understand why the exhausted primary caregiver submits to the "unreasonable” or “silly” demands of the child.
What to do about it
If you relate to the picture I just drew, you may not like what I’m going to say next, but if you gather your strength and courage, and do your very best as a parent, you will be helping your child, and your family, to heal. The most important thing you can do for your child is to set clear boundaries and enforce them.
You also need to make sure you’re setting boundaries with your own energy. When you lose your temper or bend to the will of the child, you give your energy away. You need to remain calm and grounded. Have you noticed your child gets more energy when you get worked up and meanwhile you’re left depleted and drained? Remaining relaxed will help you save energy and demonstrate to your child what you expect of him.
According to Stephanie K. Glassman, Psy.D., boundaries “begin to form in infancy through family and environmental interactions…We learn about our boundaries by the way we are treated as children, and then we teach others where our boundaries are by the way we let them treat us.” Children with unclear boundaries are more likely to give in to peer pressure or be treated inappropriately by another person. Conversely, children with unclear boundaries are also at risk of becoming the type of adult who lacks respect or takes advantage of others.
How to create boundaries
I cannot tell you how to create boundaries for your kid. First, no one knows your kid better than you. Second, I have never had the opportunity to create boundaries as a parent. My best suggestion: Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no". I am very interested in the work of Marcy Axness. Her book, Parenting for Peace: Raising the Next Generation of Peacemakers, might be a good resource. I also loved the book Bringing Up Bebe in which an American mother, Pamela Druckerman, learns first-hand the French approach to the raising of children. I appreciated the French concept of giving children extreme freedom within well-defined boundaries.
What will happen next?
The next thing that will happen is that your child will freak out. I don’t want to scare you, but I think you already know this will be the case. Your child is used to thriving on your energy and getting his way. He may be shocked to find he is being asked to create his own energy (from food and sleep) and is no longer in control.
Your child will be more calm and relaxed
Soon, however, he will feel more calm and secure when he knows you are in control, where the boundaries are, and that food does provide the energy he needs. Boundaries set by parents and caregivers are vital to helping a child with Hyperactive Deficiency. Once caregivers are committed to enforcing boundaries, a pediatric acupuncturist can help the child heal from Hyperactive Deficiency. This includes regulating digestion, balancing emotions, and improving sleep.
Caregivers need treatment too
“Treat the mother to treat the child…” is a concept in Chinese Medicine. You can support your child by building your energy as well. If you, or another of your child’s caregivers, feel emotionally or physically depleted (which may show up as exhaustion, irritability, or impatience), acupuncture can help you recover from the exhaustion and overwhelm and find the balance and strength needed to provide boundaries for your child and healing for your family.
The following is a story that many acupuncture parents relate to. It illustrates the struggles they experience in the process of finding the help their children require to heal and be healthy.
A happy, healthy child gets sick
Once upon a time there was a happy, healthy little girl. One day she got very sick. Her doctor ran many tests but didn’t know what was wrong. He gave her some medications to reduce symptoms. The little girl felt better on these medications, but when she didn’t take them, the symptoms came back.
Her parents worried about the medications
Her parents were very worried. A paper came with each medication explaining all the problems it could cause. The parents worried that if they continued to give their little girl these medications, she might get side effects. But they hated to see her feeling as badly as she did without them, and she seemed healthier when she was taking them. They decided to keep giving them to her; however, they continued to worry about whether they were doing the right thing.
The medications came with side-effects
Over time, the little girl developed unusual symptoms. Her scared parents took the little girl back to her doctor, who agreed one of the medications might be causing these new problems. He changed the prescription to a different one with “fewer side effects”.
The cycle begins again
The parents got the prescription and read the side effects associated with the new medication. They realized that this cycle of medications and side effects might keep happening if they continued the way they were going.
A new option
They decided that there must be a different option, something that would help their little girl get better. They found a website about pediatric acupuncture. They’d never heard of that before. They knew that acupuncture had something to do with sticking a bunch of needles in people, but how was that possible for kids?
Acupuncture helps the body heal itself
But the website said that acupuncture helps the body heal itself. That’s what they wanted for their little girl! They longed for her to be happy and healthy and not have to take any more medications. If their little girl’s body could heal itself, then she wouldn’t need the medications anymore.
A better understanding of the child’s health
They called a pediatric acupuncturist to find out if acupuncture could help their little girl. The acupuncturist explained that she would have many questions about the little girl’s health starting from even before she was born. This would help her figure out why the little girl was so sick. She explained that healing takes time, but she would do her best to help the little girl’s body function at its very best.
What the child will experience
The acupuncturist explained that acupuncture treatments for adults and children look very different. She said that children often play on the floor or walk around the room during the treatment. During treatments, she goes with the child’s flow and lets the child guide the treatments so no force or restraint is needed. Her goal is for acupuncture to be a good experience for every child.
Special tools to help children
She said that she uses needles (which she referred to as “taps”) on children, but she also has other tool like the “little fishy” and the “spaceship” that she uses to deliver gentle and fun treatments to babies and children.
Parents can help their child heal
The little girl’s parents prepared her for treatment just as the acupuncturist suggested. The little girl was shy on her first treatment, but by her third treatment she was asking when she was going to come again. The parent’s homework was to help their little girl heal. They were taught to give her special massages, change some of her routines, and even change some of the foods she was eating.
The little girl gets better
The little girl improved, slowly at first. She began to feel a little happier and enjoy playing a little more. Then she started to eat and sleep better. Eventually she was able to recover and return to being a happy and healthy little girl who didn’t need any medications.
I spent the last six months balancing two offices in Banker's Hill, San Diego at the Whole Family Acupuncture Center and in Eastlake, Chula Vista at the Heart to Heart Theraputic Services Center. I'm sorry to say that I turned in my Eastlake keys yesterday. It was unavoidable as the building was being sold.
I will miss the family-friendly atmosphere that Eastlake exudes and the EBA meetings that were fun and business-y all at once. I will miss my little room with the giraffe and monkey picture on the wall and the roadway rug on the floor (perfect for cars, trains, and roaming dinosaurs alike). Most of all, I will miss those people who came to see me and shared a little bit of their lives with me in that room.
I hope you will all visit me in my Banker's Hill office. I do have a miniature table and chairs in that office as well (beautiful dark wood rather than white, pink, and blue) and I also have plenty of couches and a nice big table for resting on during acupuncture treatments. It's a little different, not quite as "pediatric", but I think you and your family will be comfortable there.
I look forward to seeing you all soon.
Goodbye Eastlake, I'll miss you!
by Karen Bostock, L.Ac.
The topic of measles is everywhere. You’re probably hearing about it on the news, on Facebook, and from the people around you. Popular media would have you believe that there’s going to be a massive outbreak and then we’re all going to DIE.
First, the answer is yes. We are all going to die, but probably not of the measles. So, let’s say your child were to get the measles. All that hype isn’t going to do anything but freak you out. So what should you do?
1. You may want to see the pediatrician. They will likely tell you to go home, give your child plenty of fluids and some OTC drugs and to watch for specific things that might require antibiotics. Or they’ll give the antibiotic as a prophylactic (before it’s even needed). They might even offer your child the vaccination to “provide some protection”. However, as the MMR package insert indicates, “protection” may be afforded only "within 72 hours of exposure". If your child is showing symptoms, that offer of possible protection expired about a week ago. As always, make conscious and educated medical choices.
Here are some more helpful suggestions:
2. One of the main side effects of measles is eye damage so keep your child in a darkened room. No TV, computer games, or screens of any sort as these will put strain on your child’s eyes and brain.
3. Spend time with you child – keep your child calm, read stories to your child, and comfort your child in times of distress.
4. Feed your child simple, nourishing foods like porridge and homemade bone broth.
5. Avoid processed foods, dairy products, oranges, and sugary drinks/foods. Your child’s immune system is working hard and these foods will slow it down.
6. Get the book: Keeping your Child Healthy with Chinese Medicine. Bob Flaws gives several herbal home remedies which include foods like coriander, sunflower seeds, carrots, parsley, water chestnuts, and even a tea made out of cherry seeds. These recipes will help help vent the rash (which means to help it express more quickly and easily so that your child can recover faster).
7. Call your pediatric acupuncturist. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal formulas can help at every stage. If measles is diagnosed and correct treatment is given in the pre-rash stage, severity can be reduced. Talk to your pediatric acupuncturist about how she can help reduce severity, avoid side-effects, and support healing.
Would you like to know more?
I am available to do free lectures in my office or at your parent group meeting location. Please contact me if you would like to learn more about how pediatric acupuncture can support healing in children with measles. I can be reached through my website and by phone at (619) 630-0802.
by Karen Bostock, L.Ac.
CALL TO RESERVE YOUR CHILD’S SPOT: 619-630-0802
Kids ages Newborn to 8 years old
From 9-11 AM on Friday, August 8th, 2014
My office: 3010 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
Wellness treatments are $20 – Expect to be in the office for about 20 minutes.
In Japan it is common for acupuncture clinics to have children-only days. These occur once per month around the time of the full moon. All the kids in the neighborhood come and get a Shonishin treatment to boost immunity and support overall health.
In our society, people tend to ignore their bodies so they end up on several medications by their mid-50’s. We need to teach our children differently. Monthly wellness treatments are an opportunity for children to experience the fact that self-care is an ongoing process that continues for a lifetime! Couple that with the health support they’ll receive on a monthly basis and your child will be well ahead of the game!
This is not a time for children with chronic health issues to be evaluated. The wellness treatment will not include the extensive examination or diet and lifestyle counseling of a typical visit. If this is what your child needs, please set up an Initial Examination for your child.
CALL TO RESERVE YOUR CHILD’S SPOT: 619-630-0802
by Karen Bostock, L.Ac.
I love acupuncture.
I love the anticipation of knowing that I’m going to be taken care of.
I love kicking back on the table and relaxing.
I love being touched in all the right spots. (If you’ve received acupuncture from me, you know what I’m talking about).
I love that groggy/happy/loopy feeling I get when I’ve been treated.
I love that my body works better afterwards.
I love that my mind thinks more clearly afterwards.
I love that my spirit feels more free so that the answers to the questions I’ve been asking can find their way to me.
I love acupuncture.
I love being an acupuncturist because people love acupuncture just like I do – but for their own special reasons.
Why do you love acupuncture? Share your reasons below!
by Karen Bostock, L.Ac.
I woke up this morning to the news that one of my patients had passed away during the night.
When my husband met her, he described her to me as being “like sunshine”. Saying someone is like sunshine is very odd – especially for my husband who doesn’t usually talk like that. When I met her I realized exactly what he meant. She was like sunshine – she radiated joy. I don’t think anyone in a room with her could help but be affected by her positive energy.
When I met her, she was feeling the best she’d felt in years. She’d lost a lot of weight and she was living the healthy lifestyle that she’d put off living for a long time. Now, instead of just watching her grandkids play and being exhausted afterward, she had the energy and ability to enjoy playing with them. She was also mentoring others in her lifestyle and was really thankful to be able to benefit others in that way.
She’d been feeling great for about six months and then the pain came. The cancer had spread. Our bodies are made to heal and grow naturally. For many people, cancer occurs when the body is so taxed by an unhealthy lifestyle, or other physical limitations, that the immune system is unable to identify and destroy the cancer cells that normally grow within all of us. Several months of healthy living allowed this woman the joy and energy in life that she wasn’t able to feel before, but for her, it was not enough to allow her body to function properly.
A healthy lifestyle, acupuncture, and chiropractic all work together to allow the body to heal and function optimally. This woman’s life may have been very different if she’d chosen that healthy lifestyle years ago, before her system was so taxed. Her story reminds me that it can be too late to choose to live differently. Please, make better choices for yourself and your family today. I am here to guide you on that journey. Call me at 619-630-0802 to schedule initial acupuncture exams for yourself and your family and find out what you can do to help your bodies heal and function optimally.
Join me in praying for, and sending love to, this beautiful soul and her family.
by Karen Bostock, L.Ac.
Does your child commonly wake with a soggy bed in the morning, even though he or she has been potty trained for quite some time?
Has your pediatrician offered your child electronic moisture alarms, DDAVP to boost anit-diuretic hormone (which has a side effect of seizures), anticholinergic drugs like Ditropan or Levsin (which may cause dry mouth and facial flushing), or antidepressants like Tofranil (which may cause mood issues, sleep problems, or death)? The information in this paragraph is from the Mayo Clinic website.
Are you looking for some less scary options?
Here are 5 Natural Ways to Address Bed-Wetting:
1. Reduce sugar. Reduce or eliminate your child's intake of sugary drinks (including 100% juice and milk), especially after 4:00 PM.
2. Reduce family stress. Children can feel and internalize their parent’s tension and stress. Find ways to manage family stress like acupuncture, couples or family counseling, or meditation. Turn off the TV and video games – especially if your child can see or hear programming that is geared to an older audience.
3. Provide familiarity when away from home. If the bed-wetting only occurs when your child is away from home, bring bedding that has been washed at home so the bed smells familiar.
4. Make sure your child is getting enough rest.
5. Acupuncture! There are many causes of bed-wetting that acupuncture addresses. See if acupuncture is right for your child. Call (619) 630-0802 to make an appointment for your child to have an acupuncture examination.
Would you like to find out more about bed-wetting and what you can do to help your child? You are invited to my free talk:
Thursday, March 27, 2014 from 10:00 AM - 10:45 AM
Location: Central Library (The study room location will depend on the number of RSVPs.)
330 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101
Space is limited - RSVP on my website or call (619) 630-0802 by 03/26/14 to reserve your spot.
Are you coming to this blog a little late, but would like to hear my Bed-Wetting talk? You can arrange for me to speak to your group through my website. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and fill in the form.
When I was in practice in Rancho Bernardo, I put a picture of a “family tree” on my business cards. Very simply, I wanted to work with families and I felt that my tree advertised that pretty clearly.
I still love my tree, but I don’t resonate with it like I did before. So, for my new practice I have a new symbol, a hummingbird. After we lost Kalis, my husband and I kept seeing hummingbirds and we began to associate them with her. So when I was deciding how to represent my practice, a hummingbird came to mind. I don’t know much about animal symbolism so I looked it up and this is what I found:
Hummingbirds are about love and joy. They symbolize a celebration of life and an attribute of the hummingbird is being able to roll with the punches. Hummingbirds are creatures that open the heart and allow the heart to heal. I found that a hummingbird is the perfect symbol for www.FightingSpiritAcu.com. This is what my practice is all about. I strive to strengthen these qualities in myself and to support others as they do the same!
When your energy is out of balance, you may find it difficult to live with love and joy, to celebrate life, or to roll with the punches. When your energy is balanced, you have the mental and physical ability to embody the attributes associated with the hummingbird. Energy can become unbalanced due to physical, mental/emotional, and chemical stresses. Acupuncture and herbal formulas regulate energy to help restore that balance. If you’ve been under stress and feel that you could use support in regaining your energetic balance, call (619) 630-0802 to make an appointment.
by Karen Bostock, L.Ac.