At Richmond Natural Medicine, we enjoy working with children of all ages. We use nutrition, herbal medicine formulas, classical homeopathy, hydrotherapy and lifestyle counseling to safely and effectively address a wide range of acute and chronic concerns in our pediatric population. Our patients are required to have a pediatrician on their healthcare team and it’s important to recognize that we are not a replacement for primary care providers. Naturopathic medicine shines in optimizing the growing body’s ability to function and heal itself and in addressing the underlying root cause(s) of symptoms and diagnoses. For example, we may determine there is a food intolerance underlying recurrent abdominal pain and mood changes and see improvement with diet changes, high-quality probiotics and vitamin D.
Common ailments we see in children include: inflammation or infections of the skin, upper respiratory tract or gastrointestinal system, immune dysfunction, endocrine disorders, musculoskeletal or neurological symptoms, as well as behavioral and mental health concerns. We also offer naturopathic cancer support to children.
Initial pediatric visits last 1 1/2 to 2 hours. In addition to focusing the complaint that brings the child to us, we explore areas such as mom’s health during pregnancy, the birthing experience, past medical health history and mental and emotional health. We want to understand how the individual child in front of us shows up in the world: What challenges them? Where do they thrive? How do they respond to conflict and interact with others? How are they sleeping? Seemingly unusual questions- such as food cravings and aversions, perspiration patterns, weather preferences, phobias and dreams- may also be addressed to help us further support each child uniquely and precisely.
We send parents with a comprehensive care plan and a typical follow-up visit is 4-8 weeks later, depending on the individual case, and lasts 30-60 minutes. Changes often occur in a slow and steady fashion and are highly dependent upon the particular child. We are often addressing short-term goals of symptom relief and comfort while simultaneously establishing a healthy terrain and foundational practices to support long-term wellness and disease prevention.
Diet: The impact of food on inflammation and symptoms body-wide is profound. We encourage whole-food based, nutrient-dense and balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. We may include temporary or permanent recommendations to avoid certain foods or combinations of foods. Nutrient supplementation is indicated for some children to help nourish weakened organ systems; however, we use food as medicine as much as possible.
Herbal medicine: We custom blend medicinal teas and tinctures and discuss creative ways for incorporating them into a child’s routine. Tinctures with a glycerin-base are sweet and palatable, while others can be added to pureed foods or smoothies. Individual herbs impact multiple parts and actions of the body. Chamomile, for example, can be used to help digestion, reduce intestinal spasms and calm the nervous system.
Homeopathy: A homeopathic remedy given in a constitutional fashion supports elevating a child’s overall level of health. The medicine is delivered orally in a sweet, dissolvable pellet or tasteless liquid drops. Biomedical symptoms as well as personality traits and responses to stress influence the remedy selection. When applicable, we will offer recommendations about how a child can be best supported to grow and learn, based upon the remedy state they are presenting in. A child in a lycopodium state, for example, often has profound insecurities and will respond well to encouragement to be up front, group processes and some compliments. 1
- Herscu P. The Homeopathic Treatment of Children: Pediatric Constitutional Types. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books; 1991