Medicine has done wonders in the past century. Between advances in and increased availability of healthcare, nutrition, education and sanitary procedures across the board, many health-concerns are no longer concerns at all and many diseases once common to childhood are rare or non-existent and, over the last century, childhood mortality and morbidity decreased with every generation.

This generation, however, will be the first in that time to have a lifespan not expected to be greater than that of the generation preceding. While we no longer worry about smallpox or polio, other diseases have increased at alarming rates.

Asthma has increased 160% in children under five years of age with nearly seven percent of children, five million, suffering from it, two million children requiring emergency room visits and 170 thousand of those so serious as to be admitted to the hospital for their asthma and related conditions. Asthma is serious. It is the most common reason for school absence; it is responsible for 10 million lost school days each year and results in an estimated $1 billion in medical costs and missed time from work and school.1

Prescriptions for drugs designed to combat or control ADHD have seen an increase of nearly 2000% from 1990 to 1999 according to the National Institute of Health and Karen Effram, MD of the International Center for the study of Psychology and Psychiatry. Effram, responding to questions from the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Child Medication safety in 2003 2 stated antidepressant use in children up to the age of eighteen doubled from 1990 to 1995.3 Of course, in 2004 America discovered antidepressants, while saving the lives of many adults, often resulted in dangerous and, sometimes, fatal reaction in adolescents.4

Obesity in children has tripled in the last three decades along with childhood high blood pressure, sleep apnea and even type II diabetes, a disease which once was found only in adults, according to Pamela Starke-Reed Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NIH, in a 2002 report.5 Add to this growing health concern lost school days for children and lost income when parents miss work days to care for ill children and it is easy to see why parents are concerned.

It is clear Western Medicine and modern science have not provided all the answers to living longer and healthier. This is especially true where our children are concerned. Parents are looking for new answers to their children’s common health problems and childhood diseases and are finding them in some surprising places.

One of the places parents are looking for help with their children’s health is not new but, rather, an old system which predates Western Medicine. Oriental Medicine, also called Asian Medicine and popularly known by the misnomer acupuncture, is commonly used side by side with Western Medicine in much of the world and, in the US, is seeing growing use in pediatric medicine. For many families, Oriental Medicine is no longer “Alternative.”

Contrary to popular ideas, Oriental Medicine is more than acupuncture. Like any medical system, the tools used depend on the patient and disease. Doctor Lee Tritt, Oriental Medical Physician and Diplomat of Acupuncture, with practices in Melbourne and Palm Bay, Florida, tells us Oriental Medicine treats the full array of medical difficulties for both adults and children. Not only can asthma, AHDH, migraines and scoliosis be treated with Oriental Medicine but common ailments like colds and flues can be as well. What do her patients have to say?

Denese and Brian Kolbs’s son, Alex, age six, had a head cold from which he could not find relief. The Kolb’s took their son to see Doctor Lee who used herbs and acupuncture to treat his cold and prevent its return. Alex states “It didn’t hurt and I liked it much better than having a cold. I had six needles and wasn’t scared at all. It took my cold away.”

Even better, Alex was able to remain active because the herbs used did not cause drowsiness or other side effects. Denese Kolb feels “It was very effective. He liked it and wants to go back. I wouldn’t hesitate to go to an OMD first. Everybody should.”

Since Alex’s visit, the Kolbs have visited Doctor Lee for trauma and injury as well. Their daughter Jayden, age four, was seen when she was hurt in a playground collision with her older brother and the treatment was affected without the use of invasive techniques. In other words, no needles. The Kolbs are delighted.

So is Donna Beck, another patient of Doc Lee. She was so happy with her care she decided to take her son to see her as well. Jeremy is ten and a long-time migraine sufferer. Jeremy says “When I get Migraines, I throw up and see spots. I didn’t want to go at first but my mom said it worked. So I went. It works very very fast. And it doesn’t hurt”

Jeremy goes on to say “I was getting Migraines once a week. Now I don’t even have them once a month. That’s after three visits I had at the beginning of the year (six months ago) and I have been getting a treatment every two months. If I was hurt or sick I’d ask for an appointment.”

Donna Beck doesn’t wonder at her son’s reaction. “Jeremy cries for Lee when he has a migraine.” Ask Donna if Pediatric Oriental Medicine is effective and she answers “Is it effective? Absolutely effective. The alternative is to drug him instead. He can get a treatment and be back to normal in 20 minutes.”

Donna goes on to say “I would use an OMD before going to an MD. I am a former nurse and I would suggest everyone try Chinese Medicine. I’m converting my family.”

So is Nancy. Her son Luke, age nine, had asthma since he was an infant. Nancy remembers his first two months and that he hadn’t breathed properly since he was six and a half weeks old. His breathing affected his hearing as well and, at one time, Luke was on as many as twelve prescription medications at once. She heard about Doc Lee and felt, after trying everything else she and her doctor could think of, taking her son to see Doctor Lee was worth a try.

“After one appointment he looks at me and says ‘I can breathe out of both noses.’ He could breathe through both nostrils. He was amazed. I think it was the first time he had done that.”

“Two weeks later he had a cold. It came and it went. He was a little stuffy and then he could breath properly again. I would suggest other parents take their children as well.” Nancy suggests parents should not assume a problem or concern cannot be handled with Oriental Medicine. Most health concerns are perfectly within the scope of Oriental Medicine and parents should ask an OMD instead of guessing.

Doc Lee agrees. “We’re perfectly happy to tell a parent when something is in our scope, out of our scope, or if best done in cooperation with an MD when a concern requires it. But many parents would be surprised just how effective Oriental Medicine is and for just how many things.”

Doctor Lee goes on to say “Many don’t even realize we are full primary care physicians with exhaustive medical training, internship and clinical practice.”

For many families, Oriental Medicine is no longer “Alternative” or “Complimentary” but their method of choice for primary healthcare. Doc Lee says “Whatever is most appropriate is what should be done. Whatever works and is least invasive, does the least damage to the patient while doing the most good. If you break a leg, you should go have it set at the ER, but Oriental Medicine can keep the swelling down, relieve the pain and speed healing. Everything has its place. For children and teens an OMD can handle most common and most uncommon healthcare issues and even some many parents would not expect we could. For many families I am their primary family physician. And we do a great job of it. Just ask our patients.”

1. American Lung Association. 1999. Asthma in Children. [fact sheet]. [Web site]. Cited November 11, 1999; available at

2. Hearing on "Protecting Children: The Use of Medication in Our Nation’s Schools and H.R. 1170, Child Medication Safety Act of 2003” Response by Karen R. Effrem, MD, International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, Maple River Education Coalition, National Physicians’ Center for Family Resources, May 12, 2003

3. Effrem, K. Data Privacy Chapter of Quist, A., (1999) The Seamless Web, Mankato, MN Maple River Education Coalition at

4. FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. ADR reports for Prozac between 1987-1995. Document HFI-35. Obtained by Prozac Survivor's Support Group, Inc. under the US Freedom of Information Act. A summary version of the FDA statistics is available online at:, 2004

5. Pamela E. Starke-Reed, Ph.D., Deputy Director, NIH, Division of Nutrition Research Coordination

Author's Bio: 

Adam Byrn Tritt is a poet, an essayist, a screenwriter, a teacher, a shaman, a social activist, a humorist, and (according to friends) a mensch.

Adam is the author of Tellstones, Runic Divination in the Welsh Tradition and The Phoenix and the Dragon: Poems of the Alchemical Transformation. He is a winner of the Book Club of South Florida Poetry Prize and the 2006 EPPIE award for Poetry in an anthology for his work in The Oestara Anthology of Pagan Poetry. His work can also be found in the anthologies Poets for Peace, She of 10,000 Names and CrossTime Years Best SciFi as well as various journals and magazines including N Magazine, Literary Liftoff, Circle Magazine and Death Metal Poetry. Look for his work online at

He is also well known for numerous children’s works you haven’t read and is a frequent guest in elementary school classrooms where he can be found amid the children, being begged to read Bud the Spud just one more time until discovered by the teacher.

He started reading his poetry in public when another poet called him “dope” and, thinking this was an insult, went to show him a thing or two. Still self-conscious, he next read his works at a clothing-optional fundraiser. Once having read his own poetry, in public, naked, having nothing else to fear, he now reads for you. Sometimes even with clothes on.

When Adam isn’t writing, which is never, he is teaching writing and practicing hypnotherapy in Palm Bay, Florida where he lives with his wife, Lee, son, Alek, his constantly visiting daughter, Sef, and a large alligator all under a very big tree.