ADD/ADHD: Holistic and Natural Approaches - Homeopathy

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Homeopathy has a long history of naturally addressing acute and chronic illnesses. The treatment of chronic conditions (such as ADHD) is called constitutional treatment, and is based on an in-depth consultation in which a homeopath gathers details about a child or adult’s current condition, medical complaints, history, past traumas, lifestyle, mental and emotional attitudes, character and other relevant information. This information helps a homeopath find a remedy aimed at treating conditions on a mental, emotional and physical level.

When I met five-year-old Sandro, he had been diagnosed with ADHD and his mother was anticipating the need for an aid in school to help him stay on task, as he was about to enter kindergarten. In addition to his inability to focus and his restlessness, Sandro was dependent, immature and suffered from chronically stuffy nose. After a comprehensive evaluation, I prescribed Sandro a homeopathic remedy specific to his presenting symptoms. His mother soon reported that he’d begun to make efforts to dress himself; his nose cleared, and he entered kindergarten without the need for an aid. Stories like this are common in a homeopath’s practice, and demonstrate the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies for children. These substances do not interfere with a young body’s natural inclination to heal and achieve balance.

Homeopathy is based on the administration of minute doses of remedies, which in their natural state are capable of producing symptoms like those of the disease being treated. This principle is known as “the law of similars.” In other words, a substance that could cause symptoms in large amounts can heal you in minute homeopathic doses. A common homeopathic remedy, for example, is Allium cepa (red onion). It’s used to treat runny nose and red eyes from a cold or hay fever—the very symptoms red onion would cause if you were cutting it in the kitchen.

Homeopathic preparations are derived from various plant, mineral and animal substances. Through a series of dilutions and successions, natural substances are distilled until all that is left in the remedy is its “print,” or essence. Just as if you were to leave your fingerprint on a glass, so in homeopathy the active agents of the substance remain while potential toxicity is diluted out. The homeopathic process renders natural products nontoxic, producing a safe and effective treatment for children and adults.

Lauren Feder, MD,


Although the use of acupuncture to treat children is relatively new to the United States, Asia’s children regularly receive the benefits of this ancient healing method. Acupuncture is used to treat many common childhood complaints and has proven an effective alternative to drugs in the treatment and management of ADHD symptoms.

Children are physiologically and emotionally different than adults. According to the theories that guide acupuncture, children are innately imbalanced. It is their nature to be excitable, active and emotional. Their regulatory mechanisms are immature, and they are easily susceptible to environmental influences. It follows that children, particularly boys, would have trouble settling themselves and focusing on things that may be of little interest to their active nature, such as schoolwork.

Acupuncture helps regulate the body’s responses to its environment by balancing the body’s energy, drawing mental focus inward and establishing a routine of calm and solitude. Physically, it readjusts the nervous system to clear out the frantic external noise caused by a hectic lifestyle. Most children tolerate acupuncture well, and research has been very promising in establishing acupuncture as an alternative to medication for many childhood ailments, including ADHD.

Naomi Gelperin Richman, L.Ac., CST,

Attention Restoration Theory

Nature Deficit Disorder, a term coined by Richard Louv in his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods, refers to the trend of children spending less time outdoors, resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems. Louv names parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and television as chief causes for the phenomenon. Louv spent 10 years traveling around the country speaking to parents and children about their experiences in nature. He argues that sensationalist media coverage and frightened parents have literally “scared children straight out of the woods and fields,” while promoting a litigious culture of fear that favors “safe” regimented sports over imaginative play. “It’s a problem, because kids who don’t get nature-time seem more prone to anxiety, depression and attentiondeficit problems,” says Louv. Going outside and being in the quiet and calm can help greatly, he suggests.

Attention Restoration Theory develops this idea further, asserting that people can concentrate better after spending time in a wilderness, or even after looking at nature scenes. Organizations supporting this movement include the No Child Left Inside Coalition and the Children and Nature Network. The NCLI Coalition is supporting legislation called the No Child Left Inside Act, that seeks to add outdoors and environmental education to No Child Left Behind. (Learn more at their website, aspx?pid=687.) The Children and Nature Network supports people and organizations working worldwide to reconnect children with the outdoors. The group’s website,, provides access to the latest news and research in the field and a peer-to-peer network of researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children’s health and well-being.

Lisa Reagan, wellness writer