While we would love to list organizations and healing modalities that are backed by leading medical institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, or Mt. Sinai, the truth is that mainstream conventional medical institutions have little to offer children with chronic illnesses in terms of actionable protocols for recovery or cure.
While a tremendous amount of research is ongoing at these prestigious institutions (and we hope to see answers soon!), families dealing with chronic illnesses do not have time to wait.
Thus, parents and some pioneering physicians and medical researchers have found that in order to heal children they have had to step outside the boundaries of convention.
Remarkably, parents, physicians and researchers who have dared to step outside of convention have healed and recovered children from illnesses that were once thought to be lifelong or incurable.
One very important caveat is necessary here: Depending on the severity of illness, the path to recovery is usually quite involved requiring significant diet and lifestyle changes.
There are no “wonder drugs” or pills that can be taken.
There are no simple solutions. But many determined parents have recovered their children by taking an aggressive and active role in their child’s healing process.
Many of the organizations and healing modalities listed below fall into the categories of integrative, alternative, natural, or complementary medicine.
Below you will find links to websites describing various diets and healing protocols or approaches that parents have used to recover their children from chronic illness.
There is no “one size fits all” protocol for healing. An individualized approach is necessary.
These healing modalities are listed for informational purposes only.
All healing protocols and diets should be done under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.
Many parents report using multiple different healing modalities during their children’s recovery journey.
Diet is the most basic of healing modalities.
In our experience, people do not recover from their chronic disorders without making some dietary modifications.
In general, most healing diets consist of nutrient-dense whole foods (unprocessed).
Each diet takes a different approach to healing, but almost all successful diets recommend eliminating junk (sugars, processed foods, additives, etc.) and adding in home-made nutritious foods.
Additionally, most diets recommend that you first isolate and then remove any potential allergens from the diet.
Probable allergens can be determined through diagnostic testing and/or using the elimination diet technique.
Below, we’ve included some of the more well-known healing diets.
Body Ecology Diet
The Body Ecology Diet heals the gut by reestablishing a healthy inner ecosystem.
Its developer, nutritional consultant Donna Gates, believes that the key to understanding these problems lies deep within the intestinal walls.
Recognizing the value of the amazing “subculture” of microflora in our intestinal tracts could prevent and heal these and other disorders.
The Feingold Diet
The Feingold diet was developed decades ago to help children with hyperactivity, mood disorders and allergies.
It involves removing:
- Artificial colors
- Artificial flavors
- Foods with high phenol and salicylate content
The Gluten-Free/Casein-Free Diet
The gluten-free/casein-free diet can help children with autism, ADHD and SPD as well as those with asthma and allergies.
Removing foods containing gluten and casein can help with:
- Breathing difficulties
- Chronic sinus infections
- Chronic colds
- Lack of focus
- Dark circles under the eyes
Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS)
Created by Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, the GAPS diet (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) has been used to heal a wide variety of disorders including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Other mood disorders
The Low Oxalate Diet
The low oxalate diet can be helpful in controlling the formation of kidney stones as well as gut dysbiosis.
This diet limits the consumption of high-oxalate foods, such as many leafy green vegetables.
Find out more about these specific foods from the University of Pittsburgh’s list.
The Paleolithic Diet
The Paleolithic diet, also known as the Paleo diet and/or the caveman diet, removes all processed foods from the diet, leaving only the foods that a “caveman” would have naturally found.
People that follow a Paleo diet claim to have recovered from:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Other neurological disorders
- Other autoimmune disorders
The Paleo diet removes:
- Other processed foods and additives
Specific Carbohydrate Diet
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) may be “the answer” to the chronic microbial problems kids with chronic conditions face.
The SCD is intended to stop the vicious cycle of malabsorption and microbe overgrowth by removing the source of energy to the microbes: sugars.
Unlike the GF/CF diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet prohibits complex carbohydrates, a problem for those with leaky guts, and allows only simple carbohydrates.
The Weston A. Price Foundation Diet
The Weston A. Price Foundation documents the superiority of traditional foods as well as the health-destroying aspects of processed foods, especially:
- Processed flours
- Vegetable oils
Its founder, Weston A. Price, DDS, documented in his classic book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, that indigenous people who ate indigenous diets were healthy and had broad jawlines with straight teeth.
Dr. Price discovered that once Western, processed foods were introduced into an indigenous culture, people developed typical Western diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
Anat Baniel Method
By accessing the powers of neuroplasticity and the brain’s ability to change itself this method helps people discover how to improve the mind and body dramatically enhancing physical, cognitive, emotional and creative performance.
This method builds upon the work of Dr. Feldenkrais.
Auditory therapies such as Auditory Integration Therapy and Sound Stimulation are especially helpful for spectrum disorders, ADHD, learning disorders and sensory disorders.
These therapies can retrain the brain to help normalize hearing, senses and brain processing.
By doing so, they can help to calm a child as well as improve focus and attention.
Biomedical Healing/Functional Medicine
Biomedical healing and functional medicine use comprehensive clinical, biological and diagnostic testing techniques to find and address the root causes of chronic illnesses.
Learn more about the practice of functional medicine by visiting the Institute of Functional Medicine’s website.
BioSET (Bioenergetic Sensitivity and Enzyme Therapy), developed by Dr. Ellen Cutler, draws on principles of quantum physics, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and energy medicine to facilitate healing and recovery from illness.
BioSET is commonly used to treat allergies and asthma, but can also be used for most chronic illnesses, including autism.
Chiropractic medicine seeks to promote health and wellness through non-invasive and drug-free interventions, many of which involve manipulating and adjusting the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
While chiropractors are widely known as “back doctors” they actually treat a wide range of illnesses and disorders including autism, ADHD, food allergies and others.
Craniosacral therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on treatment for the whole body.
The treatment is focused on supporting the health of the whole being, especially the nervous system.
Practitioners use acute perception skills to perceive subtle physiological changes in the body, relying on an energetic map that underlies one‘s basic health and symptomology.
Energy Work/Energy-Based Medicine
The Feldenkrais Method focuses on the relationship between movement and thought, and how increased mental awareness and creativity accompany physical improvements.
Homeopathy has long been used to heal a variety of chronic conditions including asthma, allergies, ADHD and a variety of other disorders.
Homotoxicology is one sub-branch of homeopathy that has been helpful to people recovering from chronic illnesses that helps the body to detoxify gently.
It is especially helpful for very sensitive children or those with a very “weak” constitution.
Integrative Manual Therapy (IMT)
IMT/Integrative Manual Therapy is a unique compilation of diagnostic and treatment methodologies that assess and treat pain, dysfunction, disease and disability.
Developed by Sharon Giammatteo, PhD, IMT, C. over the past 30 years, IMT is a new approach to health care developed to address the needs of complex patients.
Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) was developed by Dr. Devi Nambudripad, medical doctor and acupuncturist.
NAET looks at the role of allergies and immune dysfunction in the development and pathogenesis of chronic illness.
NAET is based on principles of acupressure, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and energy medicine.
Neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) is commonly used in individuals with autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and other neurobehavioral disorders, mood disorders and traumatic brain injury.
It works by providing feedback to the brain, thereby training the brain to produce brain wavelengths in frequencies that can moderate symptoms.
Neuromodualation Therapy (NMT)
Another healing approach known as neuromodulation technique or NMT is being used to help heal and recover children with chronic illnesses.
NMT utilizes the body’s natural ability to heal and respond to immunological and other environmental assaults by altering how information is received and processed by the body and brain.
Rhythmic Movement and Reflex Integration
Rhythmic Movement Training is a movement based, primitive (infant or neo-natal) reflex integration programme that uses developmental movements, gentle isometric pressure and self-awareness to rebuild the foundations necessary to help overcome learning, sensory, emotional and behavioral challenges.
Reflex Integration helps to unwind some of the challenges that arise when children miss developmental milestones.
When the reflex movements are underdeveloped or incomplete by the end of early childhood, it can result in symptoms, from mild to severe, in learning, development, emotions and behavior.
There are a number of Reflex Integration and RMT resources available online:
Sensory Integration Occupational Therapy
Sensory integration occupational therapy utilizes purposeful activities presented as play to address sensory and motor deficits or challenges particular to each child.
Occupational therapy can enhance development, improve coordination, balance, motor development and strength.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese medicine includes more commonly known modalities include acupuncture and acupressure.
Approaches utilized in Chinese Medicine have been practiced for thousands of years.
Learn more about Chinese Medicine on the website of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Vision therapy involves the training and rehabilitation of the eye-brain connections.
Vision therapy typically employs series of individualized lens, prisms and filters to optimize vision and eye-brain connections.
Adjunct Therapies Commonly Used for Children with Autism
The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR®/Floortime) Model’s objectives are to build healthy foundations for social, emotional, and intellectual capacities through an intervention program tailored to the unique challenges and strengths of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental challenges.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Children with autism may have “idling” neurons, similar to those of a stroke victim, that can be revitalized through intensive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Children with birth trauma may have suffered a stroke at birth that could have resulted in neurological complications.
The Son-Rise Program is play-based program that builds upon the idea that the children show us the way in, and then we show them the way out.
This means that, rather than trying for force our children to conform to a world that they don’t yet understand, we join them in their world first.