Protected: Mental Health and Acupuncture

October 20th, 2011

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

ADHD and Children

July 16th, 2011



Treating Children with ADHD the Natural Way

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become the most common diagnosis given to children in the United States. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) suggests that 10% of boys and 5% of girls in grade school suffer from the disorder. Production of the stimulant methylphenidate (Ritalin) increased seven times from 1991 to 1998. Meanwhile, the drug is being given to younger and younger children. Data from some States indicate that between 1991 and 1995, prescriptions of stimulants for children under the age of 5 increased by 78% for boys and 107% for girls (Donovan DM, 2000). This pattern of early drug treatment leads many Americans to concern the side effect of the drugs to young children. Many people have started to ask for alternative approach to ADHD.

The first step towards an effective alternative for ADHD is to understand that ADHD is a so-called only-in-America phenomenon. With 5% of the world population, the United States consumes 90% of its Ritalin. In most other countries the problem is handled very differently. For example, the Chinese believe that some of the symptoms from ADHD are a good description of the way preschool children often behave. The behavior can be changed at the age of six or seven when they go to school. For those children with difficulties to change behavior in school, more tests for ADHD are performed. Allergy desensitization and Chinese herbal medicine are often the first choice for ADHD children because of the safe nature of the therapies. Food elimination as well as allergy desensitization therapy has shown remarkable results towards ADHD (Nambudripad DS, 1999; Cutler E, 2003). Meanwhile, there have been numerous clinical trials using Chinese herbs alone to help ADHD children. Most of the trials reported encouraging results.

Allergy Desensitization

There have been enormous clinical data suggested that a percentage of ADD/ADHD cases is related to food and environmental allergies. Because of the environmental toxins, many ADHD children also have compromised immune system. Possible autoimmune response against their nervous system and neurotransmitters has been detected using special electrodermal technique. Food and environmental allergies as well as immune response to nutrients such as vitamins and amino acids result in malfunction of the nervous system and deficiency of neurotransmitters. Revolutionary BioSET technique, including detoxification of neurotoxins, food allergy management, Enzyme therapy and allergy desensitization technique, has been used and shown remarkable results in helping ADHD (Cutler E, 2003). BioSET and other similar techniques dealing with toxins and immune system are always used in the early stage of the treatment. Once the immune system is more stabilized, other supporting therapies such as Chinese herbal medicine and nutritional supplement will be more successful to build up the deficiency of the body.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

According to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, ADHD is caused by the deficiency of Kidney Yin energy. Chinese herbal formulas with Yin energy tonic herbs are often used. Commonly used herbs include Rehmannia root, Anemarrhena root, Phellodendron bark, Polygala root, Acori graminei root and Dioscorea opposita. Zhang and colleagues (1987) treated 326 children from the age of 4 to 16 with a Chinese herbal formula, Jing Ling Extract. Herbal extract was given to the children twice a day for 3 months. They reported that 31.9% case was cured (disappearance of all clinical symptoms, significant improvement in school records, negative coordinate movement test, and no recurrence for 6 months). Including improved cases, the effectiveness rates were 94.8 percent. Zhang (1989) also tested a similar formula, Jing Ling Pill, in a separate open trial with 557 children (454 male and 103 female) from the age of 4 to 16. The pills were given twice a day for up to 6 months. They found 144 cases (25.8%) were cured and the effectiveness rates were 92.8 percent.

In another randomly assigned open trial, Zhang and Huang (1990) compared a Chinese herbal formula (80 subjects) with methylphenidates 5-15 mg b.i.d. (20 subjects) for 1 to 3 months. Twenty-three of 80 herbal formula cases were cured (disappearance of all clinical symptoms and no recurrence for 6 months) compared with 6 of 20 taking methylphenidate. Including improved cases, the effectiveness rates were 86 percent versus 90 percent, respectively. Although the groups did not differ in the effectiveness rates, lower side effects and greater IQ rise in the herbal group were observed.

Wang and colleagues (1995) found an effectiveness rate of 94 percent, including reduction of hyperactivity, improved attention, and improved academics from the herbal Tiaoshen Liquor. Sun and colleagues (1994) did another open trial in 66 hyperkinetic children with another herbal formula, Yizhi syrup. They reported an effectiveness rate of 85 percent, including significant improvement in behavior, school records, and soft neurological signs.

Chinese herbs are commonly used in a formula, rarely used as a single herb, to increase the therapeutic effects of the herb and reduce side effects. No systematic research data using single herbs for ADHD could be found, but the above trials with herbal formula are very encouraging and worth large controlled trials in this country.


Acupuncture has become a complementary therapy for ADHD children. With laser acupuncture Loo (1998), in unpublished preliminary pre-post single-blind data from students in grades K to 3, found improvements in Conners 10-item scores by teachers (n=7) from 17.0 to 12.0 and in analogous parent scores (n=6) from 23.1 to 15.5.

Ear acupuncture has also shown promising results for ADHD. Auricular acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago. The complete microsystem and somatotopic maps have developed over the recent 50 years. The ear may be used alone or in combination with body acupuncture to solve medical illnesses through the stimulation of points with needles, electricity, laser, or other devices. Since the ear points can be successfully stimulated with non-invasive devices, it works well with children. Dr. Neil Sonenklar (personal communications) of Virginia Commonwealth University placed acupuncture beads on an active point on the child’s ear. Seven children participated in the study. The bead was massaged for 30 seconds three times daily and the parents charted the child’s behavior. Results from three of the seven participants showed significant improvement and a forth was observed as improving behavior although the chart did not indicate the change.

Although no published systematic data in acupuncture for ADHD could be found, above listed and other recent clinical research on auricular acupuncture for ADHD has shown promising results (Soliman N. 1999). More clinical studies on auricular acupuncture are needed in the future. As matter of fact, NIH has funded at least one study on laser acupuncture treatment for ADHD since 1993. More specific study, Dr. Sonenklar says, would likely use different points on each child rather than the same point as was done.

Based on clinical research, BioSET technique, Chinese herbs and acupuncture can be used as an alternative therapy to treat ADHD. A comprehensive program including BioSET, Chinese herbs, auricular acupuncture and nutritional supplementation such as amino acid therapy may likely serve as a primary treatment for mild ADHD cases and as an adjunct therapy for severe cases to possibly lower the dosage of medication needed and reduce the side effects.


Cutler E. The Food Allergy Cure, Three Rivers Press, 2003

Donovan DM. An alternative approach to ADHD. Harv Ment Health Lett. 2000; 16(11):5-7

Loo M. Laser acupuncture treatment of ADHD. Preliminary personal communication re NIMH grant, 1998

Nambudripad DS. Say Good-Bye to ADD and ADHD, Delta Publishing Company, 1999

Soliman N, Frank BL, Nakazawa H, Averil, A, Jodorkovsky R. Acupuncture reflex systems of the ear, scalp, and hand. Comp. Ther. Phys. Med. Reh. 1999; 10(3):547-54

Sonenklar N. Acupuncture for ADHD. and

Sun Y, Wang Y, Qu X, Wang J, Fang J, Zhang L. Clinical observations and treatment of hyperkinesia in children by traditional Chinese medicine. J Tradit Chin Med 1994; 14:105-9

Wang LH, Li CS, Li GZ. Clinical and experimental studies on Tiaoshen Liquor for infantile hyperkinetic syndrome. Chung Kuo Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih 1995; 15:337-40

Zhang H and Huang J. Preliminary study of traditional Chinese medicine treatment of minimal brain dysfunction: analysis of 100 cases. Chung Hsi I Chieh Ho Tsa Chih (Chinese J Modern Developments in Traditional medicine) 1990; 10:278-9

Zhang YH. et al. Clinical studies of 326 cases of ADHD children with Chinese herbal medicine. Proc. Beijing Coll. Traditional Chin. Med. 1987; 10(3):27

Zhang YH. Clinical analyses on Jing Ling Extract for 557 Cases of ADHD children. Chin. Med. Pharm. Res. 1998; (3):24