The Road to Holistic Practice: An Integrated Approach - A Change in Diet

Author // Larry Palevsky, MD

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The Road to Holistic Practice: An Integrated Approach
A Change in Diet
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A Change in Diet

I have worked with children with asthma who no longer needed medication after they cleaned up their diets, ate whole foods and made water their main beverage. Some of them weathered upper respiratory infections without wheezing for the first time in their lives. I have helped clear up the skin of infants and children with eczema after supplementing them with nutrients and removing foods which stressed and inflamed their digestive systems. Supportive topical treatments were added, stressors were eased at home, and no suppressive oral or topical medicines were needed. Most of all, I have been amazed at the quick improvements in children with chronic ear fluid after a simple change in their diets, giving their intestinal systems, damaged from the side effects of multiple courses of antibiotics, a chance to heal. Children with poor hearing and speech began hearing and speaking normally. Children who had been told they would require ear tubes never needed surgery.

I saw a large number of infants and children with puffy eyes, often with dark circles around them. These circles were an outward expression of the digestive and adrenal strain going on inside their bodies. Many children had persistent nasal congestion, thick white coats on their tongues, allergic nasal symptoms and other digestive and behavioral/neurological complaints. Most often these symptoms were related to sensitivities to dietary choices and environmental stressors. These stressors included over-scheduling; lack of rest and sleep; off-gassing from paints, clothes, dry cleaning, new furniture and plastics; and exposures to heavy metals and electromagnetic radiation. Once the parents decided to clean up their children’s diets and reduce stressors, their children’s symptoms dissipated. Children who had been taking allergy medicines were able to stop their prescriptions. There was even a subset of children with nighttime bedwetting who, after removing certain foods and chemicals from their diets, stopped wetting their beds. The chemicals had been inflaming and irritating their nerves and immune cells, and stimulating their kidneys and bladder.

I worked with one adolescent boy in particular who suffered from a minor motor tic disorder. He was a super bright kid with whom I enjoyed working, but he was also shy and hesitant to make eye contact. He spoke quietly, with lackluster energy, and needed to be encouraged to speak up and answer questions. He was prone to angry outbursts, and the tic movements of his face and tongue would increase under the stress of being addressed directly. During the first year I worked with the family, he tried nutritional supplements, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy and behavioral therapy. Despite these treatments, the tics persisted and began to worsen. His parents were ready to start him on medication to control the tics. From our initial meeting, I had been encouraging them to make dietary changes, especially in light of the deep-red puffy circles under his eyes. Finally, he and his parents were willing to give it a try.

One month later, after the family changed his diet, I witnessed a different child. He was energetic, expressive and happy—so talkative and engaging that he dominated the conversation. The tics, while still present, were more in his control and had begun to subside, along with the angry outbursts and the circles under his eyes. His social life had improved. Most of all, he and his family had experienced the profound effects that good nutrition could have on a person’s health. As a result, he was more open to a successful outcome from the other treatment modalities. Most important, the family was willing to look at the factors that had created the agitation in his immune and nervous system in the first place. The entire experience offered me a profound understanding of the powers of holistic medicine. This boy transformed his own life, and the lives of the people around him.

Experiences With Reiki

Along my path, I became a Reiki II practitioner. Children in the pediatric intensive care unit, recovering from spinal or other serious surgeries, required less pain medicine after I gave them Reiki treatments. Often I would watch them simply drift off to sleep. I saw critically ill neonates increase their oxygen saturation and lower their heart rates while receiving Reiki as well.

My most fascinating experiences with Reiki were in the delivery room, caring for infants born in distress. Many of these babies were born and placed on the infant warmer without movement or even a single cry. I would assess them to make sure they had adequate vital signs and were breathing on their own. Many were breathing rapidly and with some difficulty, while others would need a little assistance to start them breathing properly. As long as the newborns were breathing and moving air, and had an adequate heart rate, I would prop the oxygen masks in their faces, turn the overhead lights off, decrease their stimulation and give them Reiki, usually lasting about 10 to 15 minutes.

Nurses and doctors hovered over me, trying to get near the babies to startle, slap and stimulate them to get them to cry. I knew that as long as the babies had an open airway, were breathing and had adequate heart rates, they were safe. I watched closely for changes, for better or worse. Invariably, these depressed, initially unresponsive infants would slowly emerge, open their eyes, move their hands, arms, feet and legs, and begin a slow squirm in my hands, normalizing their tone, color and behavior. They appeared to let out a cooing noise, so gentle and appreciative. Vital signs remained stable; their breathing normalized. I would wrap the babies up and give them to their parents. Afterward, I made several follow-up visits to the newborn nursery to make sure the infants were doing well. No admissions to the intensive care unit were necessary for these newborns.

Similarly, I once saw a two-year-old girl in my office with a high fever and a layer of fluid in her right ear. Clinically, she otherwise appeared well. She received cranial osteopathic treatment in my office, and soon after showed almost complete resolution of the fluid. The child went on to have a full, uncomplicated recovery of the febrile illness, requiring no medication. Not only did I have the opportunity to witness the healing potential of cranial osteopathy, chiropractic and energy medicine in children with acute and chronic symptoms—especially for ear pain and upper respiratory symptoms—but I also witnessed how powerful these modalities were in helping to maintain children’s health when parents used these therapies for prevention and maintenance of well-being.