23 May 2009

New treatments used for kids with old medical problems

WICHITA, Kansas – Yoga is often used for exercise and relaxation, but now doctors are recommending it for children with special needs. It’s just one example of new approaches to old medical problems. What’s meant to be a workout is just fun for six-year-old Jami. She has cerebral palsy, which caused her muscles to constrict and tighten. So, her doctor recommended yoga. "I was surprised-- I guess more hopeful that it would work,” said Jami’s mother Patty Moulds. “It kind of makes sense when you think about yoga is stretching."

Instructor Sheryl Haynes uses several yoga poses to strengthen Jami’s lower back and leg muscles. "Since she's a tippy-toe walker, getting stretched out back here, the calves and tendons back through here -- we're working on things that do that,” Haynes said. She also works with kids who have Down’s syndrome and other developmental delays. She uses nursery rhymes practice their language skills at the same time.

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It’s modern therapy based on an ancient exercise. Another unusual treatment that more parents are turning to for help is at a chiropractic clinic, where the doctor claims he can cure colic. What's more, he says it only takes a few weeks. Colic affects one in five babies, causing uncontrollable crying. "Constantly from morning until night, into the wee hours of the morning,” said Rachel Murphy of her baby’s crying. “It was 24 hours she cried." But Ella was treated by Dr. Dennis Scharenberg, who believes he knows what causes colic. He says a weak valve between the babies’s small and large intestines leads to painful indigestion. "And when I strengthen that muscle, it stops leaking, and when it stops leaking, the colic is gone,” Dr. Scharenberg said. “It's gone and it doesn't come back." He simply messages the muscle for about 20 minutes several times a week. "After about three treatments, we noticed a significant improvement -- a lot less crying, more sleep at night,” said mother Crystal Jones. All of the moms say they were skeptical at first, but desperate enough to give it a try. "It's like it's too good to be true, but it is, and it works,” said mother Jennifer George. So, why don’t other doctors do it? Dr. Sharenberg says it’s a technique he developed himself and actually volunteers his services to get the word out, hoping it will bring help for the helpless and peace of mind for parents.

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