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Alternative Therapies Can Be Safe, Effective For Children
Date:4/6/2009

main calm when faced with shortness of breath. Yoga also helps reduce stress in teens and adolescents.

Tai chi. Research shows teenagers encounter a lot of stress, which puts them at risk for depression. Mind and body therapies, such as tai chi, help reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Tai chi and yoga help to decrease blood pressure and sympathetic activity in children. This allows for a sense of relaxation and calmness.

Probiotics. These live bacteria, similar to those found in the human stomach, can be found in dietary supplements or in food, such as yogurt. Used to treat antibiotic-associated diarrhea, controlled studies have shown probiotics are safe for children. Using probiotics can reduce diarrhea by one to two days, allowing children to go back to school or day care sooner.

Probiotics are not recommended for children on any immunosuppressive drugs or those who are immuno-compromised. Always consult a doctor first.

While there is strong evidence that these complementary and alternative therapies are safe for children, Mendelow advises parents that other complementary and alternative medicines can have serious consequences for children and adolescents.

Some types of therapies that may be harmful to children include:

Ma Haung. Ma Haung, a popular Chinese medicine used to control asthma, is an ephedra compound, a stimulant often used to boost athletic performance. Using this type of boosting agent in a child can lead to heart palpitations and other cardiac-related events, all extremely dangerous for a child.

Creatine. Creatine is another supplement that should not be used in a child's diet. "Creatine is used for a lot of body building and we know that it can have adverse side effects for kidneys," says Mendelow.

Other supplements. Children that are on anti-coagulants shoul
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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