Can autism be treated holistically?
This is a loaded question, so let’s break it down into parts.
Define “treatment.” Doctors treat high blood pressure with a daily dose of baby aspirin. This is treatment, not cure. Autism can be treated in a variety of ways, holistically is just one approach and may not be the best approach for everyone.
Holistic methods imply that we are looking at the whole person. This is a philosophy, not a remedy. This means asking questions about health history, diet, lifestyle, procedures that have been done or not done, and taking all of these into consideration. For example, if a patient has autism and severe constipation, these are not viewed as separate conditions. They are both occurring in the same person, so they are related.
The real question is – HOW CAN A HOLISTIC APPROACH HELP MY AUTISTIC CHILD? There are so many possibilities! Depending on the cause of autism in your child, a holistic approach might lead to significant improvement in symptoms and restoration of healthy function. It’s also possible that holistic treatment only leads to minor improvements.
Holistic vs. Naturopathic. The term “holistic” is so widely used that it is often abused. Many alternative health enthusiasts use the term merely to distinguish what they do from the conventional approach. True holism is at the core of naturopathic philosophy, which emphasizes treating the whole person. As a naturopathic doctor, the goal is to look at the whole health picture and understand what caused someone to become sick so they can be treated more effectively.
Alternative treatment for autism
Naturopathic doctors are often referred to as “alternative,” but I’ll admit I despise that classification. For most of human existence the naturopathic approach has been the primary solution, and has only been deemed “alternative” by certain pretentious individuals who believed science was better than nature. I digress. The goal in naturopathic treatment of autism is to first understand exactly which imbalances exist in the body.
Lab testing for autism
This is done through specialized testing to include some or all of the following:
- IgG Food Sensitivity testing
- Nutrient evaluation
- Organic Acids
- Stool culture
- Toxicity screening
- Genomic analysis
Unlike average lab testing, these tests provide clear answers. You can see on paper if there’s a deficiency in, say, glutathione or B-vitamins, which can contribute to autistic behavior. When you have clear answers, you can target treatment and get real results.
- Avoid antibiotics, acetaminophen, aspirin and prescription drugs.
- Engage in mental exercise by consistently learning new skills and information.
- Avoid exposure to heavy metal toxins such as mercury, arsenic, copper, aluminum, and lead. (A study showed that 6 out of every 18 children with autism have extremely high levels of toxins in their bodies. Cognitive, physiological, and behavior issues can all stem from toxin build-up; consider testing for genetic variants in detoxification pathways).
- Dietary Tips:
- Eliminate gluten and casein-containing foods. Avoid all wheat flour products, including pasta and bread, as well as dairy products. Consider an elimination diet.
- Avoid or limit caffeine and other potentially neurotoxic compounds such as aspartame and MSG.
- Emphasize omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, mackerel, herring) and omega-9 fats (olive oil, olives, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados and macadamia oil).
- Aim for 9 servings of skin-on fruits and vegetables rich in polyphenols. Eat organic as much as possible to avoid pesticides. Add PaleoGreensTM and PaleoRedsTM to your favorite drink.
For more guidance schedule a visit with Dr. Hollister.