Holistic Pediatrician: A Parents Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Effective Therapies for the 25 Most Common Childhood Ailments


Parents want to provide the safest, most effective care for their children by knowing about all their choices, not just one or two approaches. Different kinds of practitioners have different theories, rely on different treatments, and often compete rather than cooperate with one another. Rather than being therapy-centered, polarized and competitive, healing can be child-centered, integrated, cooperative and holistic. The Holistic Pediatrician was written to educate and empower parents to exercise their options in...

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The Holistic Pediatrician: Pediatrician's Comprehensive Guide to Sa

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Parents want to provide the safest, most effective care for their children by knowing about all their choices, not just one or two approaches. Different kinds of practitioners have different theories, rely on different treatments, and often compete rather than cooperate with one another. Rather than being therapy-centered, polarized and competitive, healing can be child-centered, integrated, cooperative and holistic. The Holistic Pediatrician was written to educate and empower parents to exercise their options in taking care of their children's health-care needs.

This is the only truly comprehensive and holistic book on childhood ailments written for parents by a pediatrician. Based on scientific evidence, not tradition or theory, The Holistic Pediatrician combines the best traditional and alternative therapies for the most common childhood ailments. Parents who want to know what's really going on and why recommendations are made by their doctors will have their questions answered in depth without being inundated with information about illnesses they are unlikely to encounter, nor besieged with technical medical jargon.

Based on sound, scientific evidence that covers territory usually ignored in medical school, The Holistic Pediatrician is sure to be indispensable for parents and caregivers concerned with all aspects of their child's health.

"...explains what holistic remedies to use and what not to use when treating allergies, bedwetting, colds, diaper rashes, ear infections, and fevers...discusses massage, herbal remedies, and exercise."

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Editorial Reviews

Joan Borysenko
“This delightful, informative, and indispensable holistic guide to children’s health will become a classic.”
Dr. Henry Bernstein
“A must read for all pediatricians and the families they serve.”
Pradl (English education, New York U.) reflects on relations of authority in the literature classroom and on his own development as a teacher and offers techniques for encouraging democratic encounters in the classroom. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060951771
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 394
  • Product dimensions: 7.35 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathi J. Kemper is a pediatrician on the faculty of the University of Washington and on the staff of the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, helping to train family doctors in pediatrics.

She has a national reputation as a pediatric researcher and educator and currently serves as the chair of the Research Committee of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association as well as the first chair of its Special Interest Group on Holistic Medicine.

Kemper lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Read an Excerpt

The TherapeuticMountain

"I've taken my child to so many doctors, I've lost count," Helen began. "The pediatrician put him on antibiotics for his ear infections, but the medicines gave him diarrhea and a yeast infection. The chiropractor said that adjusting his neck would help, but I didn't like him getting so many X rays. The naturopath recommended some herbs and vitamins, but my insurance wouldn't pay for them. None of these doctors thought the other ones did any good; they all seemed more interested in promoting their own particular therapy than in working with each other to help my child. I'm frustrated and confused. How can the best, the safest and most effective of all available treatments be combined for my child's well-being?"

Helen's story epitomizes many families' complaints about the health care system. Different kinds of practitioners have different theories, rely on different treatments, and often compete rather than cooperate with one another. It doesn't have to be this way. Rather than being therapy-centered, polarized, and competitive, healing can be child-centered, integrated, cooperative, and holistic.

The bedrock underlying all true healing activities is compassion for the patient. Whether the health care provider is a physician, nurse, acupuncturist, herbalist, or parent, concern for the patient's well-being is the first prerequisite for healing. Ideally, both professionals and parents lay aside their concerns about themselves when faced with an ill child. The focus should be on relieving the child's pain and fear and restoring a sense of well-being rather than on the particular therapy used to achieve that goal.

The truth ofthis fundamental belief about healing was brought home to me recently during a conversation with my favorite massage therapist, Masaji. Masaji is an unassuming yet remarkable Japanese man who practices shiatsu, the ancient Japanese therapy that combines acupuncture theory with advanced techniques of massage. When the Prime Minister of Japan was in town for an economic summit, he called on Masaji to provide relief from the stresses of international meetings. Many of Masaji's clients are, like me, regular medical doctors who also teach at university hospitals.

While Masaji kneaded the tiny muscles of my feet, we talked about the nature of healing and the differences between Eastern and Western approaches. He described the Eastern philosophy of healing as the attempt to restore harmony and balance to the entire system. The Western approach looks at the chain of cause and effect, trying to fight or change the underlying cause in order to relieve the symptoms or effects. The Eastern approach draws on the right-brain functions of seeing patterns, looking at the global picture, relying on intuition and a sense of subtle energies and interactions. The Western approach relies more on left-brain, logical, linear, reductionist thinking. Masaji spoke with admiration about the power of Western medicine to cure serious infections, overwhelming burns and trauma, and many kinds of cancer. Yet I pointed out that many local physicians who achieve these impressive cures seek his services to address their own symptoms related to stress, the meeting place of the mind and body.

Most Western physicians are hard-pressed to explain how acupuncture and other Eastern therapies actually work. Being pragmatists, many of us agree that such techniques effectively treat problems ranging from pain to addictions to morning sickness. We didn't know how aspirin worked for the first one hundred years that we used it, but that didn't keep us from relying on it for treating fever and pain. Although American medical schools don't yet train physicians in Eastern healing, more and more physicians refer patients for acupuncture therapy.

As we talked, Masaji and I realized that Eastern and Western medicine are two sides of the one coin of healing. Just as the right and left sides of the brain are both necessary for optimal functioning, the two kinds of healing complement and enhance one another. Despite vast differences in philosophy and history, both have important roles to play in addressing humanity's ills.

In addition to the traditional models of Eastern and Western medicine, there are many other healing traditions. Massage, herbal medicine, ritual, and prayer have been used around the world since ancient times. Chiropractic and osteopathy are nineteenth-century American inventions. The use of vitamins and nutritional supplements to prevent and cure illness is largely a twentieth-century phenomenon. Regardless of their historical origins, all of these techniques share the primary goal of healing.

I have spent many years thinking about the different kinds of healing techniques, appalled at the gulf that frequently exists between different practitioners. I wanted to find a way to bridge the gap between those with different backgrounds, to put the patient back in the center of the picture, and to create a paradigm or model in which all therapies could be seen as related and complementary to one another, on common ground in pursuit of the highest and best for their patients.The image that emerged is the Therapeutic Mountain.

The mountain is an archetypal symbol of a high goal, achieved with dedication, preparation, persistence, and hard work. Such is the nature of healing. The goal is the well-being of the patient. Regardless of background, the professional therapist must be dedicated to this goal, undergo years of training, and continue to learn from and listen to each patient, refining and enhancing his or her skills.

There are many sides to a mountain and many ways to reach the top. For the sake of simplicity, we will picture all of the primary healing modalities as occurring on one of four sides of the Therapeutic Mountain.

Therapetic Mountain

1.East Side: Biochemical Therapies

2.South Side: Lifestyle and Mind-Body Therapies

3.West Side: Biomechanical Therapies

4.North Side: Bioenergetic Therapies

Therapies on each side of the mountain are grouped together because of their functional, not their historical or philosophical similarities. Let's look at each side of the Therapeutic Mountain in more detail.

East Side of the Therapeutic Mountain: Biochemical Therapies

All of the therapies on the east side of the Therapeutic Mountain share a common mechanism of action: biochemistry. The three primary techniques of this side of the mountain are:

  • Medications
  • Herbs
  • Nutritional Supplements

Each molecule of a therapeutic compound--whether it is a medication, an herb, or a vitamin--interacts with tiny molecules far smaller than even a single cell.


When most of us think of medical therapy, the first thing that comes to mind is taking medication. Today, most medicines are chemically synthesized, but originally many were derived from plants (herbs).

Amoxicillin is a good example. The most common medicine used to treat children with ear infections, amoxicillin is a modern version of penicillin. In 1928, a Scottish microbiologist, Alexander Fleming, noticed that a blue Penicillium mold growing on his laboratory cultures was killing the bacteria. Just as he was about to throw the ruined cultures away, he realized that the mold's deadly effect on the bacteria might have therapeutic importance. He was right. Penicillin, derived from the Penicillium mold, has saved millions of lives. Synthesizing medications such as penicillin and amoxicillin ensures their purity and strength, and children can take a simple pill, syrup or injection to get well rather than ingesting the mold from which it was derived.

Medications are lifesaving when it comes to acute, severe illnesses such as shock, meningitis, and septicemia. They are also highly effective in managing certain chronic illnesses such as diabetes, in reducing pain, and in curing previously fatal diseases such as childhood leukemia. However, medications are practically useless in curing many common childhood illnesses such as colds. Even used properly, medications have side effects. Penicillin and amoxicillin commonly cause stomach aches, diarrhea, and diaper rashes; for 1 in 10,000 children they cause a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction.

Prescription medications are powerful, often dangerous, and are therefore highly regulated. Though many medications can be purchased by parents over the counter, prescription medication is available only with a physician's order. M.D.'s (Doctors of Med-icine), D.O.'s (Doctors of Osteopathy), and dentists are fully licensed to prescribe medications. Nurse-Practitioners have Master's Degrees, and they are licensed to prescribe many common medications. Physician's Assistants (P.A.'s) prescribe only under a physician's supervision. Only a handful of states license Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.'s); most allow naturopaths to prescribe from a list of certain antibiotics but do not allow them to prescribe other kinds of The Holistic Pediatrician: A Parent's Comprehensive Guide to Safe and Effective Therapies for the 25 Most Common Childhood Ailments. Copyright © by Kathi J. Kemper. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments and Thanks
1 The Therapeutic Mountain 1
2 "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor" 16
3 Acne 24
4 Allergies 35
5 Asthma 52
6 Bed-wetting Enuresis 68
7 Burns 79
8 Chicken Pox 92
9 Colds 99
10 Colic 111
11 Conjunctivitis Pinkeye 121
12 Constipation 130
13 Cough 144
14 Cradle Cap 157
15 Diaper Rash 161
16 Diarrhea 168
17 Ear Infections 180
18 Eczema 195
19 Fever 205
20 Headache 216
21 Hyperactivity Attention Deficit Disorder 233
22 Jaundice 249
23 Ringworm and Other Fungal Infections 259
24 Sleep Problems 265
25 Sore Throats 285
26 Vomiting and Nausea 297
27 Warts 309
Appendix A: Additional Resources 315
Appendix B: How to ... 323
Table 1 - Herbal Remedies for Specific Conditions 330
Table 2 - Nutritional Supplements for Specific Conditions 338
Table 3 - Homeopathic Remedies for Specific Conditions 340
References 345
Index 395
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2002

    Outstanding references - good for adult health, too

    The most well-referenced medical book I've ever seen. Very practical. Even adults can use the information on topics such as sleep, diarrhea, eczema and asthma. A terrific resource.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2000


    Herbal and 'natural' medicine has become enormously popular in the last few years. Natural remedies are finally being somewhat accepted by many mainstream pediatricians with parents seeking alternative remedies for their children. NOW, there is a great resource available to both parents and pediatricians that is a gold-standard for alternative forms of medicine as it pertains to pediatrics. THE HOLISTIC PEDIATRICIAN (1996) by Kathi J. Kemper, MD is a wonderful resource, providing accurate information on clinically proven (and unproven) remedies from the fields of mind-body medicine, chiropractic care, massage therapy, and herbal medicine. It is gives clear advice for treating conditions like eczema and skin rashes, colic and sleeplessness in babies and children. A GREAT RESOURCE!

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