Natural ADHD Treatment Matthews NC
Zen - Soto
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Chapel Hill, NC
Zen - Soto
Black Mountain, NC
Mindfulness / Thich Nhat Hanh
Meditate Before You Medicate
By Nancy Lonsdorf, MD
My 8-year-old son has just been diagnosed with ADHD. I’d like to keep him off medication if I can, but I want him to succeed in school. What kind of natural approaches are there?
First of all, you are not alone. One of the most common and difficult challenges facing parents and kids today, ADHD affects nearly one in 10 school-aged children. Its symptoms—inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior—impair school and social performance, often causing overwhelmed teachers to pressure parents to put their children on drugs. But is trading better grades now for potential long-term side-effects really in your child’s best interests?
Ironically, a natural approach to this very modern problem exists in the ancient healing practice of ayurveda. From herbal formulas to lifestyle and diet, ayurveda offers a range of approaches aimed at correcting the imbalance underlying the condition. While modern theories point to genetically-based chemical imbalances in the brain, ayurveda describes an imbalance in vata dosha, the mind-body principle that governs movement and mental activity. When it falls out of balance, the flow of electrical impulses in the brain become disturbed, which interferes with focus and behavioral control. While this imbalance may indeed involve a genetic component, ayurveda stresses that our lifestyle plays a crucial role in how our genes get expressed. To treat ADHD, ayurveda advises adopting specific dietary and lifestyle changes to balance vata.
One such approach—meditation—has attracted considerable media attention of late. But how, you ask, can your son possibly sit still long enough to meditate? Actually, a recent pilot study conducted on ADHD-diagnosed children who were instructed in Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation ™ program yielded some surprising results. Conducted at Chelsea Academy in Washington, DC, by Sarina Grosswald, EdD and William Stixrud, PhD, the study found a 45 to 50 percent reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression after practicing the TM technique for just 10 minutes twice a day—and memory, concentration, and organizing skills improved as well.
One of the participants, 11-year-old Chana believes TM makes her less impulsive. “I’m starting to think before I talk to my friends,” she says. And Will, also 11, says, “It’s amazing how easy it is, and yet it does so much for you.”
Creating a calming environment around your son can go a long way toward settling him down. Limit TV and video games. The combination of flickering screen light, mental excitation, and electromagnetic radiation in both activities can create a huge disturbance in vata. Instead, channel your child’s energy into sports, free play outdoors, playing a musical instrument, or making art projects. Turn off the TV and computer at least an hour before bedtime, which should be no later than 8:30.
You can effectively calm vata dosha—which by nature is impulsive and irregular—by keeping to a regular daily rou...
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