Smart Medicine


As new parents (and professionals who have served the applied and educational medical trenches), Jon and I relied on the web and The Baby Book to troubleshoot our way out of unnecessary trips to the pediatrician. Now it's time to pick up Tracy's integrative child health recommendation, Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child; this book recently proved particularly useful in providing a motion sickness remedy for Tracy's son:
“During recent family travel, I was reminded of my favorite books of remedies. Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child is an informative, holistic, and comprehensive book about common childhood illnesses and injuries; offering the unique perspectives of conventional medicine, herbal treatments, and homeopathy in one volume. This book describes when a particular condition constitutes an emergency, gives conservative guidelines on using supplements with children, and offers herbal and homeopathic remedies with specific dosage instructions. Written by a physician, naturopathic doctor, and a nurse, parents can be assured they are getting the straight goods from each health care discipline.

This book recently served me well as I investigated easy remedies for my six-year-old son Gabriel’s motion sickness. Our travel plans involved a two-hour drive and about 4 hours of flying time (not consecutive). This past spring, Gabriel had gotten sick on a long car ride, giving me flashbacks of my own childhood. As a kid I wasn’t even able to manage the drive to our cottage without taking medication. Usually, I slept through every trip, and missed the spectacular wildlife that surrounds my hometown. I was reluctant to assign Gabriel the same fate. We grudgingly bought our bottle of Gravol, but when Gabe learned that it might make him sleepy, he said that he wasn’t okay with taking a medication that did that. I can’t say that I blame him.

On the hunt for an alternative with fewer side effects, I came across Sea-Bands in our local pharmacy. I had also heard about these bands on line, and wondered if they would be safe for use on small children. Unfortunately, the types sold in our pharmacy were recommended for use in adults and children over 12. The pharmacist came up empty in his search for references for their safe use for kids, and stated that he had to recommend I not use them (incidentally, I later learned that Sea-Bands makes specific kids designs). Discouraged, and a bit frustrated, I remembered the Smart Medicine book.

The sea-band is based on the use of acupressure to treat the symptoms of motion sickness. I looked up motion sickness in my book and, sure enough, the alternative medicine recommendations made reference to acupressure. The spot that needs pressure to alleviate nausea is about 3 finger widths from the first crease in your wrist, on the inside of your arm. I had a brilliant idea; over the next week, Gabriel and I practiced how he could administer his own acupressure treatment. I helped him gauge how much pressure to apply, and where he should press. Ten seconds on one arm, ten seconds on the other. The day of the trip, I marked two X’s on the spots he should press if he needed to. At the very least, I thought, perhaps there would be a placebo effect. If he thought he had some control over whether he got sick or not, maybe he would be okay. (I still outfitted the car and carry-on luggage with plenty of Ziploc bags and wipes, just in case.)

Gabriel did not get sick on this trip. For the next trip, I will probably order some Sea-Bands; it’s a little easier, I think (although the idea of being allowed to write on himself with pen was attractive!). I’ll order a set for me too, because in trying to make sure he didn’t have a childhood full of “sick trips,” I forgot that I never outgrew my tendency to have motion sickness, and spent most of the flight home a little green. The boys had to spend the last 40 minutes of our flight with nothing to do because I couldn’t move to get them more activities out of their well-stocked travel bags. I guess there is a reason they tell you to put on your own oxygen mask first.”