A warm welcome to all new visitors!

A warm welcome to all new visitors!

Most children today survive, but many do not thrive.  

Childhood is about laying down the best possible roots, so that as adults we can flower and blossom.  A ‘good-enough’ childhood is the greatest gift a child can have. Every parent wants the best for their child.   Yet still, so many children are struggling physically or emotionally. 

This blog will not tell you what the best type of child care is, or how to get your children to sleep through the night.  It will not give you a list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods.  Neither will it tell you how many hours per day you should allow your teenager to be on a screen. 

What it will do is discuss the nature of children. How every one of them differs and has their own unique needs.  It will put a spotlight on common practices and ask questions about whether or not they are serving our children.  It will focus on underlying principles and philosophies, rather than the day to day minutiae of children’s lives. 

How do we raise children so that they grow up physically healthy and emotionally robust?

Bringing up children has become overly complicated.  Well-intentioned parents struggle to make sense of the huge amounts of conflicting advice.  Many forego their parental instincts due to societal pressure to parent in a certain way. In regards to the health of our children, it seems that every day there is a new recommendation, often one which contradicts yesterday’s.

This means that we often end up putting our focus on the micro details of our children’s daily lives, at the expense of the overall picture.  For example, we worry about our child’s current reluctance to eat broccoli, rather than supporting him or her to create a lifelong healthy relationship with food and eating.    

Despite the wealth of advice available, we somehow find ourselves with a generation of children, many of whom are unhappy and/or chronically ill.  

Thanks to improved living conditions and the progress of modern medicine, childhood mortality rates in the developed world have fallen dramatically.  At the same time, chronic health problems in children are on the rise. Many children are beleaguered by respiratory and food allergies, asthma, stomach ache, headaches or chronic fatigue syndrome.  The rise in childhood mental health problems is exponential.  

I believe that the best thing we can do for our children is lay the strongest physical, psychological and emotional foundations we can.  This gives them the greatest chance of living their best life as an adult.

Nurturing the Young is informed by the philosophy underpinning Chinese medicine.  It explores what application this has to 21st century Western childhoods and, where relevant, backs it up with modern research and science.  It is not prescriptive but puts forward considerations and, I hope, will inspire reflection.  

Rebecca Avern

I have been practising acupuncture for 15 years. As well as practising in Oxford, I am both a senior lecturer and clinical supervisor at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine (www.cicm.org.uk) which is the biggest acupuncture training centre in Europe. I have treated both adults and children and whilst the benefits of acupuncture for adults are well-known and well-documented, fewer people are aware of how it can benefit children. I decided that I wanted more children to experience the benefits of acupuncture, and so decided to set up The Panda Clinic. I have to admit to having another motivation - I love being around children and derive great satisfaction when I see children recover from ill health. I am mother to 2 primary school age children. As well as being an experienced acupuncturist, as a parent I have a good understanding of the stress and anxiety that an ill child can induce. I will always do my best to communicate with the parent(s) of a child I am treating as thoroughly and clearly as I can.