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Book Review

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child
Second Edition

by Jan Zand, Robert Roundtree, and Rachel Walton

Reviewed by Diana Molina
Ludlow MA USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 24 No. 5, September-October 2007, p. 229

Recently, my son was sent home from school due to a cough so loud that it could be heard in adjacent classrooms. My usual pediatrician could not see him that day, so he was seen by a pediatrician we don't normally use. After a short examination, my son was put on two medications. Two days later, my son had the same cough and I was confident that the medications were never going to relieve the problem. I took my son to a different pediatrician, who immediately took my son off the medications and taught him deep breathing exercises. In a matter of days, the cough had cleared up. For me, this serves as an example of how valuable it is to explore different approaches when trying to resolve a medical problem in your child. Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child does just that.

This reference offers parents several treatment options to explore when encountering a medical situation. The authors, Janet Zand, a practitioner of natural medicine; Robert Roundtree, a practitioner of family medicine; and Rachel Walton, a pediatric nurse, believe in an integrated approach to health care. Their goal is to increase parents' confidence and understanding in the use of integrated medicine. The authors believe that the special bond between parent and child make parents an excellent judge of their child's health.

The book is comprised of three parts. Part one deals with the elements of health care -- for example, conventional medicine, herbal medicine, homeopathy, acupressure, and nutrition. Brief historical overviews and a table of common cures and possible side effects are included. This part also provides information on pregnancy and newborns.

The section on diet and nutrition will be of particular interest to parents who feel that foods should be eaten in as close to their natural state as possible. The authors encourage parents to carefully select a variety of foods that are simply prepared, avoiding those that are processed, and there are suggestions for for healthy snacking and how to avoid diet pitfalls.

Part two of the book is a comprehensive list of common childhood health problems along with an array of treatment options. First, the authors describe each ailment and list the possible causes. Then, conventional treatment guidelines for each ailment are discussed. These options include the medications and courses of treatment that might be prescribed by a pediatrician. Several dietary guidelines are then given that might help alleviate the ailment, such as removing foods or adding foods to the diet. Descriptions of nutritional and vitamin supplements that have been found to be beneficial are also included, as are possible herbal and homeopathic treatment procedures. As if all this weren't already enough, there are also general guidelines with advice on how to keep the afflicted child comfortable during the illness.

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child covers over a hundred common childhood illnesses (i.e. burns, bronchitis, colds, seizures, sunburn, insomnia, tooth decay, warts, tonsillitis). Each ailment is treated with thoroughness with the intention of giving parents as much information as possible as to how their child's illness might be treated.

Part three, the shortest section of the book, will help parents implement the various treatments that are suggested in the book. This section includes an acupressure point chart, CPR instructions, elimination diet guidelines, relaxation techniques, as well as therapeutic recipes.

The authors are very supportive of breastfeeding. They encourage mothers to rub human milk on "baby acne" to hasten healing. For the breastfed child that is suffering from diarrhea, they encourage the mother to continue nursing. Of La Leche League, the authors say the following, "These people know everything about getting past the rough spots and making nursing a happy and rewarding experience."

This book is not intended to replace the services of a physician or other health care provider, but rather to give parents information so that they can make informed decisions. It may feel daunting for a family to begin exploring natural remedies, especially after a lifetime of conventional medicine. This book is an excellent resource for those families who want to incorporate natural medicine into their lives, but do not know where to begin. Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child is also an excellent resource for a family already comfortable with natural medicine and would make an excellent gift. Once part of your collection, it is certain to become dog-eared.

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