Acupuncture Targets Pediatric Ear InfectionsAdults get ear infections but for children, it is the number one pediatric doctor’s visit in the U.S. alone. The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that approximately 2.3 million American children under the age of six will become afflicted with one or more ear infections (otitis media) per year.

It is common for many of these children to struggle with four or five annual episodes being treated each time with a round of powerful antibiotics. This can create an ugly cycle that constantly causes the body to attempt to re-set its immune fighting flora which is considerably depleted during this prescription protocol. Many peripheral struggles can be attributed to this cycle following the child well beyond the original affliction. Some include digestive weakness, skin conditions and internal immune struggles making it more difficult to protect the child from future illness. Plus, when parents are at their wits end dealing with midnight screaming, doctor’s visits, and prescription medicine, many put their children through invasive surgery to ‘fix’ the problem once and for all.

Otitis media can create symptoms such as becoming unbalanced, hearing loss, irritability, sleep deprivation and pain in the head and neck, especially when swallowing. It is an infection that can be caused by such things as:

  • Upper respiratory illness
  • Impaired immune system
  • Bacterial Infection
  • Second hand smoke
  • Diet (food allergy including dairy a possible culprit of otitis media)
  • Airborne Allergy
  • Viral Infection (study by the North England Journal of Medicine found 41% of ear infections were caused by virus’)
  • Possible anatomical factors.

These could result in a buildup of fluid in the middle ear usually manifesting one of these three bacterial strains: Streptoccocus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenza and beta-haemolytic Streptococci. Antibiotics seem to have become the ‘poster med’ for otitis media reaping Big Pharma billions in annual profits. However, in many cases, an ear infection can be remedied by acupuncture and naturopathic medicine alone diminishing re-occurrence or even curing the condition altogether. If you, your child or someone you know suffers with ear infections you may want to seek out an alternative. Avoiding the cyclical prescription protocol and/or surgery that may unnecessarily tax the system while band-aiding the symptoms but never addressing the root cause, could be your best decision.

Wind and Heat: A Centuries Old Approach Replaces Modern Day Protocol
An appointment with a conventional doctor usually takes longer in the waiting room than the actual examination as a prescription is written with a smile and a wave. A naturopathic doctor trained in acupuncture and Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM), approaches otitis media in a different way. It is through a series of questions as well as detection of sense presentations such as varied thirst, skin abnormality, clearness of the eyes, waste removal, pulse regulation, sound of the voice and much more that give the proper clues. This examination could take much longer than a conventional one so as to determine the precise acupuncture points (as well as other naturopathic remedies such as herbal or homeopathic solutions).

Much of the examination is based on finding which elemental manifestation may be causing the child to ‘hold on’ to the stagnant energy that is creating the condition. This is determined by using the environmental terms wind, dryness, cold, dampness and heat with otitis media often being associated with a wind, dampness and especially heat struggle. Heat is a rising element that also expands along with, many times, wind and/or dampness in tow. This can sometimes be the cause of an ear infection as the Eustachian tube and nasopharynx begin to struggle from varied outside factors creating pressure on the adenoids (lymphatic tissue) causing inflammation. This inflammation manifests heat which rises creating more pressure, this time at the termination point of the Eustachian tube. As this pressure builds up the tube has difficulty protecting itself. When the patient simply swallows, the tube opens and the wind-heat pathogen easily pushes into the mucosal lining where bacteria begins to grow. Below is an example of a short case study that uses the CCM approach along with applicable acupuncture points to remedy this form of otitis media.

Excess – Considered damp-heat in the Liver and Gall Bladder that rises to disturb the ear.

  • Deficiency – This creates a Yin deficiency in the Liver and Kidney causing Liver Yang to rise toward the ear.
  • Presentation #1 – Damp-heat in the Liver and Gall Bladder may present as:
    • Fever, sticky yellow discharge from the ear, intense burning sensation.
    • Greasy, yellow coating on the tongue.
    • Accelerated pulse that feels static or wiry.
    •  Presentation #2 – Liver and Kidney Yin deficiency may present as:
      • Hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness.
      • Discharge that is watery and clear (may be minimal)
      • Thin, yellow coat on the tongue.
      • Weak, thin, wiry pulse.
      • Acupuncture Points for Treatment
        • GB2 – A local point just under the ear at the open jaw notch.
        • GB40 – Releases damp-heat in the Gall Bladder.
        • TH17 – This San Jiao local point is known as Wind Screen just under the posterior ear.
        • ST36 – Used for signs of dampness as well as tonifying the Spleen and Qi. Just under the knee on the outside shin.
        • LI11 – If fever is present ‘Pool at the Crook’ is in the lateral elbow crease when flexed.
        • TH21 – Another San Jiao local point used for the pattern of excess at the anterior ear notch called ‘Ear Gate’.
        • KD3 – For deficiency pattern to tonify Kidney Yin just on the inside ankle.

Ear infections in children create an ultimate feeling of helplessness for the parents. However, if panic can be placed at bay to avoid succumbing to a conventional protocol, acupuncture (and naturopathic medicine) may result in avoiding years of painful, inconvenient scenarios.

At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you.  In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health.  To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.

*Please CLICK HERE to see a current list of In-Network Insurance Companies for Acupuncture that we participate with as well as insurance companies that commonly have Out-of-Network benefits. Please call 914.337.2980 or email us to verify your specific benefits. If you are emailing, please include your full name, date of birth and insurance identification card number.

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