Digestion: The Root of Childhood Illness

In Chinese medicine, it is believed that diet is one of the main causes of most children’s diseases. For children under the age of 5 or 6, the digestive system, specifically the spleen and stomach, is still weak and immature.

The spleen and stomach are responsible for the transportation and transformation of our food and drink into qi (our body’s energy). In an immature digestive system, these organs have a harder time doing their job efficiently, and this can lead to issues such as abdominal distention, stomachache, diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting. Basically, the system gets gummed up.

When the issue is longstanding, and the spleen and stomach are not working efficiently, it can lead to stagnation of food, inflammation, or the accumulation of phlegm or dampness in the body. These factors lead to a myriad of other symptoms and illnesses. Some of the most common pediatric diseases like colic, earache, cough, allergies, and pediatric asthma and eczema, can be attributed to weak digestion.

Although children have vulnerable digestive systems, they are also very quick to heal. It is important to understand that since digestion plays such a pivotal role in their health, their diet is very important in terms of treating and preventing illness. It is also important to address the digestive system as part of their treatment plan, regardless of what ails them. Acupuncture is very effective at treating the digestive system, and because kids are so resilient, they respond very quickly to treatment. Herbal formulas are also great at helping to strengthen and boost the spleen and stomach for children.