From time to time, anyone may experience difficulties tuning and focusing out distractions but for adults and children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), this is a frustrating battle they have to deal with every day.
Behavioral therapy and drugs are the common Western conventional modes of treatment for ADHD symptoms. Now, these symptoms can likewise be eased through an alternative form of medicine with ancient roots.
The Mayo Clinic conducted a recent study showing that 7.5 percent of all school-age children in the United States manifest varying degrees of ADHD symptoms.
Some children struggle with hyperactivity, impulsivity, distractibility, or focus or a combination of them.
Allison Bower, licensed acupuncturist states “ADHD is looked at by Western conventional medicine as a dysfunction of the brain, specifically a dysfunction of brain chemistry.” “ADHD, in Eastern medicine is seen as a malfunctioning of certain organs that causes the dysfunction of the brain.”
Bower, who has been a practicing acupuncturist for over two decades, sees both adults and children with ADHD and according to her, acupuncture is a complimentary form of medicine for most of those people.
Acupuncture works well when integrated into other therapies, such as nutritional plans and behavioral therapy. According to Chinese medicine, which acupuncture is a part of, the energy of the body known as qi (pronounced chee) moves freely within the body when you are well. But, from to time, it can be weakened or blocked.
To restore the free flow of energy, filamentous needles are inserted into the skin at predetermined points in the body. Bower explains “If the qi or energy of the organs systems of the body can be balanced, then the brain chemistry can adjust”.
Besides helping calm the disruptive nature of ADHD, acupuncture can also offset or ameliorate the side effects of the drugs used to treat ADHD.
At age 11, Peter Henson was diagnosed with ADHD.
He admits “Social anxiety, impulsivity, and distractibility has always been an issue for him.” Those are quite common symptoms for children with ADHD.
Besides the symptoms of ADHD other issues ranging from facial tics, to depression or social anxiety can also occur. According to the Executive Director and Founder of the Attention Center, Jill Zupon, “ADHD is usually accompanied by some anxiety and/or depression. And since we know acupuncture addresses these conditions, it will most certainly address ADHD.” The Attention Center is a facility that is devoted to the exclusive care of adults and children with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and ADHD.
Apart from coaching, testing, nutritional services, and therapy, Zupon saw the benefits of acupuncture which was the reason why she brought Bower on board.
Zupon explains “Our facility is not a provider of homeopathic medicine. But to those who are not too keen on using medications, we knew that acupuncture would be a good alternative”.
Peter Henson’s parent’s tried ADHD drugs on Peter, but that it didn’t work for him. His parents decided to bring him to the Attention Center to help ease his symptoms. When his parents found out the center offered acupuncture, they decided to give it a try.
Henson claims that he felt more like himself than he had in a whole year and it was just the biggest relief for him and his parents.
There was a time when Peter went two months without any acupuncture treatment. During that time, he had lost two sets of keys in recent weeks, and says he had difficulty with his thought processes and organization.
For Peter, the beneficial effects of acupuncture worked almost instantaneously.
He told us, “The treatment really works. My attitude and manner of speaking is different in a positive way”.
As the treatment starts, Peter and Allison are seated at a table. Allison speaks to Peter first asking him a series of questions related to his emotional and physical well-being and his health. Once the interview was done, Peter is told to lie on a table, while Allison palpates a series of six different pulses in each of Peter’s hands.
Once she has gathered the necessary information, Allison sticks four needles on each of Peter’s ears. Then, she also applies needles in the acupuncture points located on Peter’s hands, feet, arms, and legs, as needed. Once all the needles are inserted, Peter is allowed to rest quietly for 20 minutes, undisturbed.
Peter says, “I am organized. I am thinking clearly. I am centered”.
Ear acupuncture or auriculotherapy can be either used in combination with body acupuncture or as a standalone treatment. Ear acupuncture is a much preferred treatment for children since the acupoints in the ear are non-invasively stimulated.
Acupuncture aids in calming the impulses that make it hard for a person with ADHD to stay still. It also can be used to boost the immune system and enhance the concentration and energy of the patient that can address both the hyperactivity usually experienced by patients with ADHD and the sluggishness often seen in ADD patients.
Zupon opines that from the time a patient walks into Allison’s clinic, to the moment the patient walks out, a transformation takes place. She says “. We witness a person go in one way and come out another way. It’s remarkable”.
The use of acupuncture in Cleveland for controlling and managing the symptoms of ADHD is still a fairly new procedure. There is still no scientific study to prove its benefits. Nevertheless, for patients like Peter, this millennia-old therapy has made a huge difference in their lives.
Peter does not use any kind of ADHD medication. But for those who do, acupuncture can be used to help reduce or offset the typical adverse side effects of the medications such as dry mouth, insomnia, and poor appetite.