Complementary & alternative medicine (CAM) is also known as integrative medicine and is used for the people suffering from autism. Research shows that most autistic children are suggested to follow alternative or complementary medical treatment.

Research on safety and the benefits of all the approaches are studied very less than all the other traditional approaches. Because there are very less studies done, many health care providers find it difficult to educate everyone about the CAM treatments when they seek information from them. Speak with your doctor about the evidences that are related to every therapy when it is given to your child. Here are a few alternative and complementary therapies offered for autistic children:

Complementary & Alternative Treatments for Autistic Children

Melatonin Treatment for Reducing the Symptoms of Insomnia in Autism Children

Insomnia being commonly associated with autistic children, melatonin can be prescribed for reducing its impact. Supplements are prescribed to increase the hormonal count that regulates the sleep wake cycle in children as well as adults suffering from autism.

Intake of Vitamin B-12 for Treating Autism in Children

Injections of Vitamin B-12 with an intramuscular dose of 1000 micrograms are often given to the autistic individuals. An amount of vitamin B-12 that lies above 1000 milligram will be excreted via urine as it is soluble in water. This vitamin takes some time to show significant signs of improvement. When the improvement is seen, it can last for 2-4 week after the first shot has been given.

Vitamin B6 & Magnesium Supplements for Overcoming Autism

A high-dose pyridoxine (vitamin B6) and magnesium (Mg) is the best and the oldest studied supplementation strategies that are used for Autism. With its intake, there may be improvements seen in repetitive behaviors, communication and social interactions even if the measurements of these symptoms are imprecise.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Relieving Repetitive Behaviors in Autism Patients

The development and functioning of the brain can be improved by fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are widely popular and are being used as safer nutritional supplements as well. Several studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids helped in reducing the symptoms that are associated with autism. This may also include social improvisations, hyperactivity and repetitive behaviors.

It is however important for the parents to understand that Omega-3 fatty acids are present in various qualities and it is better to do a quality check before buying it from stores.

Gluten-Free and Casein-Free Diet or GFCF Diet for Treating Autism in Children

A gluten-free and casein-free diet is also called as the GFCF diet. This can be considered as an alternative treatment for autistic children. When there is a strict diet followed, all the gluten and casein consisting foods are eliminated from the daily meal of a child.

The benefit of following such diet is that the autistic children can show some kind of allergies when they consume food which has gluten and casein and these sensitivities are eliminated by avoiding its consumption. Studies have shown that the children suffering from autism lack the ability to metabolize peptides or proteins as compared to normal individuals. The brains of such children often consider these proteins as false opiate-like chemicals. The idea behind eliminating these foods from the diet to avoid any behavioral disturbances caused in children with autism and improves cognitive behavior, social behavior and speech.

Yoga Benefits for Children with Autism

  • Motor skills can be enhanced with Yoga. Autistic children often show a delay in motor development and Yoga can help in improving them by toning the muscles. It helps in developing awareness in the body and maintains coordination. The stability and balance are also enhanced. As the motor skills will be developed, children will have a better understanding of the social situations and will learn to interact in a better way.
  • Improvement in social skills and confidence is seen through Yoga. Low self-esteem is often caused due to poor coordination and this can let the child to single out many a times. By learning various techniques for self-control and self calmness, children can engage themselves in various activities and develop a social balance. Learning various Yoga poses in classes can help in boosting confidence in the individuals and it is necessary for the parents to arrange group settings.
  • Yoga offers sensory integration. Autistic children often have a sensitive nervous system and are stimulated by new textures, strong tastes and smells, new textures and bright lights very easily. The natural light setting, use of soft mats, used in yoga sessions can create a comfort zone for the kids suffering from autism. The physical poses that are used in Yoga often regulate the nervous energy in a controlled way. This also lends a calming sensation on the brain that regulates irrational behaviors. When there is less stimulation, the uncontrollable behaviors are also reduced along with outbursts as well.
  • Yoga helps to cope with various situations for both parents and kids. Whether teaching the kid to use the breathing techniques for calming the mind, talking about the instances through a better visualization can help in tackling the situations in a better way. Yoga can be practiced by parents as well as the kids at home and can become a healthy activity to be practiced at home.
  • The emotional brain is engaged via Yoga. We all are aware of the fact that yoga is a compilation of various activities and not just physical. It is a combination of music, movement, breathing patterns and storytelling events that often associate with the emotional area in the brain. This compels a child to develop a sense of awareness with the emotional disturbances and maintain a sense of attention at all times. Music is another way to tap into the brain's emotional region and the yoga instructor can share the music lessons with parents to render a calm effect on the mind of an autistic child.

Herbal Medicines – Beneficial for Reducing the Symptoms of Autism

Use of various herbal medicines for treating autism is extremely important. The restoration of endocrine activity, dysbiosis and mucosa repair, antifungal and antibacterial properties, toxin elimination and improving the digestive functions can be tackled with a single prescription without any grave side effects. Following herbs may be suggested for usage:

  • Bitter, choleretic & cholagogue herbs like Gentian, Dandelion root & Globe artichoke can improve the digestive function. Cholagogues can help in bile release from the gall bladder and choleretic herbs can stimulate its production in the liver. These bitter medicines act on the receptors in the mouth that aid in release of bile and various pancreatic juices.
  • Marshmallow root, Calendula, slippery elm, Chamomile and Meadowsweet has anti-inflammatory effects on the gut lining.
  • Golden seal, which is a potential gut flora modifier, helps in restoring the mucous membranes of the gut.
  • Licorice and globe artichoke stimulates the secretin release and helps in improving the intestinal flora that is established.
  • Antimicrobial activity can be boosted by using garlic, chamomile, Japanese honeysuckle and wormwood.
  • Burdock and Calendula that are known to be lymphatic and depurative herbs assists in detoxifying mechanism.
  • Fennel, Chamomile and Crampbark- carmintive and spasmolytic herbs help in improving gastrointestinal motilitye.

Acupuncture & Massage Therapy for Improving Sleep in Autism Children

Autism treatment with acupuncture or massage can seem difficult. The child can take some time to adjust with the treatments that involve touch. Nevertheless, the benefits of such treatment methods have been understood well and it demands patience as well.

Acupuncture has helped in treating autism in an outstanding way. Its effectiveness can be explained through various theories that autism is a result of neuroendocrine dysfunction and incorrect opioids production. Opioids get affected by acupuncture and even the neuroendocrine function as well as the central nervous system is positively affected.

Tongue acupuncture has also shown some remarkable signs in healing the autistic dysfunctions suggest recent studies. It is under study and its use in treating various disorders related to the brain in children are being undertaken. This includes autism, blindness and cerebral palsy.

Even though this alternative treatment is to be viewed as a complementary approach, these stand as a pivotal point in new treatment methods of autism. Massage therapy is another treatment approach used for treating autism and has proven to be beneficial. It also helped in improving the social behavior of children and they were able to cope with daily behaviors in a better way. Research was done on a handful of students and after a massage therapy; they showed signs of improvement in sleep and behavior patterns.

Hypnosis for Stabilizing the Mind of Autism Children

Hypnosis helped in achieving significant results in the following things:

  • Anger management
  • Stress management and its reduction
  • Elevated self-confidence and increased autonomy
  • Improved control of impulses
  • Improvisation in social behaviors
  • Bedtime or sleep routine improvisation
  • Development in self efficacy
  • Elimination or alleviation in nervous behaviors as well as tics
  • Enuresis (bed wetting) elimination
  • Increased focus and concentration/span of attention.

Hypnosis cannot be quoted as a cure for autism, but it helped in improving the behavioral patterns in a child as well as his or her family. The therapist who will be carrying out all the sessions will explain you about the approach and the changes that are observed after the hypnosis are done.

Chelation Therapy for Calming the Signs of Autism

Proponents believe that lead and mercury can cause autism in a child to some extent. To help removing these heavy metals, chelation therapy can be used. There are no significant studies that prove its benefit and can be a risky affair as well. Research has also shown that the most popular oral agent used for chelation can cause brain damages.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment for Relieving Autism Symptoms in Children

In this treatment, the child inhales extra amount of oxygen when he or she is placed inside a pressurized special chamber can be counted as a treatment for autism. Brain inflammation can be reduced as this treatment improves autistic symptoms in various patients. Exposing children suffering from Autism to increased amounts of oxygen may not be highly beneficial and might cause other problems.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: September 13, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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