Supporting children with ADHD and other behavioural and developmental challenges is one of the most rewarding parts of our jobs at The Healing Room.
Sadly, since we’re dominated by the western medicine model in New Zealand we, as chiropractors, are not allowed to share the results that we see in our rooms.
But what we can do is show you the exciting growing body of research that’s being done nationally and internationally on the impact of both chiropractic care and gut health on conditions such as ADHD, ADD, dyslexia and autism.
Hopefully this gives families hope that perhaps medicating their children with synthetic drugs is not the only answer. Perhaps there are natural and safe ways that you can support your children with these challenges.
We find that children’s bodies can adapt and respond really quickly, and we love being able to support both the child and their family through what can be quite testing times.
So how do we work with children (and adults) with these conditions at The Healing Room?
Well, we look at how the whole body is functioning, but this often comes down to
Chiropractic is first and foremost what we do and who we are. But despite what many people think, chiropractors are not simply “back pain fixers”.
Our focus is on the brain-body connection.
We work with the spine because the spine houses the spinal cord, which is the communication highway between the brain and the body. For the body to be functioning at its best, this communication pathway needs to be free from roadblocks or interferences so that the brain can send its messages freely along the spinal cord, and out through the nervous system to the various parts of the body.
We use our chiropractic assessment tools as well as applied kinesiology to assess where there may be a problem in the body or an interference in the spine, and use gentle adjustments to clear that vital communication pathway.
We also use Bach flower remedies, N.E.T (Neuro Emotional Technique) and various exercises to support the body to release emotional trauma and stress and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rather than the sympathetic nervous system which is the “fight or flight” response).
Our body can't go into its healing phases while in constant fight or flight mode, which means it can't detox, repair or regenerate cells - all of which are crucial for healthy brain function.
Another big focus in our clinic is the health of the gut, as we know this plays a major role in our brain function and how our resulting behaviour plays out.
There is growing evidence internationally on the Gut-microbiota-brain axis (the bidirectional relationship between the gut microbiota and the brain) which suggests a significant link between gut health and common childhood disorders including ADHD, ADD, dyslexia and autism.
According to studies (and consistent with what we see in our clinic), children and adults with autism, dyspraxia, ADD, ADHD and dyslexia almost always have a significant gut issue - mainly presenting with symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, flatulence or colic.
A healthy gut full of the right microbiome and nutrients is the first line of defence for our immune system. We know that when this balance is thrown out, the gut wall can become "leaky", causing the debris being leaked out to end up in the bloodstream. This can cause a whole range of problems for us!
It’s extremely important we maintain a healthy gut wall and beneficial microflora as adults, but it’s even more important in children while their brain and immune systems are still developing.
Every day we’re bombarded with a myriad of toxins from our environment, our food and our own metabolic waste. If our bodies are not able to efficiently process these toxins and expel them..they end up in our bloodstream and in our brain.
People with ADHD and mental health challenges are often not good “detoxifiers”. Reducing exposure to toxins as much as possible through diet and environment is crucial, as well as assisting the body to detox those that it is exposed to.
At The Healing Room we use applied kinesiology to assess the toxic load in the body, as well as the health of the detox pathways and organs. We use lifestyle and dietary changes and, where necessary, nutritional supplements, homeopathic and herbal remedies to help the detoxification process along.
Another area or growing research is the impact of nutrition on mental illness. “Treating” mental illness with high doses of micronutrients has shown to be very successful - more successful in many cases than pharmaceutical intervention. You can watch a great video summarising the exciting work being done in this area below...
At The Healing Room we use muscle testing to determine what nutrients each unique body is specifically needing and provide natural, practitioner-only supplements and nutritional guidance to help bring the body back into balance.
And in turn, of course, the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from either food or supplements depends on how well the gut and nervous system are functioning.
More research is needed in this area, although the research so far is promising and exciting! Finding proven ways to support children to overcome these challenges naturally through caring for their bodies is far more preferable than prescribing pharmaceuticals that have a whole plethora of potential side-effects.
One study looked at the effects of chiropractic treatment using multimodal techniques of applied kinesiology on dyspraxia, dyslexia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities. 157 children were part of the study. The children were examined by a certified speech therapist against 8 standardized psychometric tests before and after treatment, which assessed 20 different areas of cognitive function. They found that post-treatment, the 157 children had improved in the 8 psychometric tests and had reduced symptoms. Specifically, their concentration, focus and attention, impulse control and home and school performance were improved.
You can read more about this study and others here:
You can read more about some of the research being conducted internationally on link between gut health and conditions such as ADHD here:
A great book that we highly recommend is Gut and Psychology Syndrome Gut and Psychology Syndrome : Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, 2nd Edition by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride. We have a copy in our waiting room library so you are welcome to borrow it next time you are in the clinic.
You can read the long list of side effects of Ritalin on the NZ Government’s Medsafe site here
Wikipedia has a very extensive summary of articles, publications and research around methylphenidate hydrochloride, the active ingredient in Ritalin, which you can read here.
We hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to get in touch with us at The Healing Room on 07 544 1133 if you have any questions :)