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Childhood Stress and Lyme Disease

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By Dr. David Jernigan of Hansa Center for Optimum Health


Childhood Lyme infections can be somewhat easier to address, due to the pristine nature of most children’s bodies, and if it is caught early. At the same time, Lyme in children can be devastating; depending upon their health heritage and the degree of balanced life and stress in the child’s life prior to becoming sick. These issues will dictate how well a child processes through the illness.
In a child’s life, stress comes from all directions. In children, as in adults, prolonged stress predisposes one to illness by changing the cellular chemistry.
It must be remembered that every thought, especially those thoughts backed by strong emotions, is every cell’s command to change its chemical production in order to bring that thought/emotion into reality. Strong negative emotions promote alterations in the immune system’s ability to keep bacteria and other microbes under control, not to mention shift the integrity of every tissue of the body.
Stress always affects organs. Every type of stress will target a specific organ. The liver is specifically targeted and damaged in the long run by intense and usually suppressed feelings of resentment, frustration, and irritability.

Worry seems to preferentially affect the kidneys, and so forth. Imbalance creates illness. Restoring the functional integrity and balance is the pure goal of biological medicine.

Stress can start the domino effect that leads to the weakening of the body’s ability to control microbes.
Even though most children have a high natural vitality, once a child is in trouble from a chronic infection, the treatment decisions become crucial. All efforts must be made to support the body using natural methods that respect the wisdom of the body.

All treatments must work to address the child on all levels, physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, and spiritually. High-power drugs and children do not mix well – the resulting imbalance is nearly impossible to reverse. Treatments must work with God’s design of the body, and never opposite of this natural design.
Every direction a child turns they run into a barrier designed to force them to conform to a society-dictated norm. Parents should recognize that each child is unique in the world and has a unique path and strengths that should be nurtured. A child’s life requires more balance than an adult, due to the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing who they will be as adults.
Did you know that at the time of birth, the nervous system is still developing? And as the child grows the number of nerve fibers will increase dramatically?

Those certain neurological developmental stages must be realized, because before it is all completed, the child’s nervous system will determine the best nerve pathways, and will naturally reduce the number of nerve fibers by half? This is why it is important that a child learns to crawl before it walks. If the child learned to walk first then developmental problems would occur as the nervous system would not recognize the nerve pathways used for crawling as important and would eliminate them. Truly a situation of “if you don’t use it, you will lose it!” Developmental balance must be the goal of parents and teachers in every aspect of a child’s life.
Parents and teachers must help children remain balanced, and recognize the seven year, cyclical nature of childhood development. A discussion of the different cycles is beyond the scope of this writing. Many aspects of the Waldorf school educational philosophy are, in my opinion, superior to the prevalent educational philosophy which seems at times to over-stimulate the intellect of a child. A good reference tool for parents and educators is the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America and their biannual publication, “Renewal; Journal for Waldrof Education” (See references for further information)
Children are many times viewed by their parents as a bother to adult agendas. Parents must take an active role in creating ways to bring balance to the lives of their children. A child with chronic Lyme has the greatest potential to almost spontaneously heal with the treatment protocol outlined in this book, when all conditions are brought to balance.
Creativity, handwork crafts, focus, eye-hand coordination, intellect, morality, independent thinking, social development, imagination, intuitive thinking are but a few areas that with proper guidance can help establish the unique path each child must travel to reach a balanced adulthood. The hoops we force our children to jump through in our country’s educational system do little to develop these areas.

Doctors have been documenting for about a hundred years that children who are driven to be over-achievers and who are over-stimulated mentally by the present educational methods become pale, pasty-faced, lackluster and easily fatigued. This clearly represents imbalance, when children raised and educated in a balanced manner are noticeably more full-blooded, with rosy-cheeks and full of healthy vitality.

Educational stressors that cause imbalance are part of the problem. Parents would be well advised to look into Waldorf-style educational philosophy, even if it means home schooling when no good schools are in the area. (Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (www.awsna.org) 3911 Bannister Road, Fair Oaks, CA 95628-6805 call or write for information 916-961-0715 or for a subscription to their biannual journal: “Renewal; Journal for Waldrof Education”.)
Parental emotional, verbal and physical abuse warps the developmental shields of a child, setting them up for physical illness such as chronic infectious diseases, as well as other aspects of human development, such as spiritual, moral, and psychological development.

(Remember, just having the bacteria in your body does not mean a child or adult will come down with a disease from that bacteria. Stress can break down the child’s ability to stave off disease.)

Whether directed toward the child or between others in the family unit, words can wound the body, mind, and spirit causing illness at each of these levels. In the same manner, loving words spoken from the heart can heal all levels. We have all heard and experienced the principle of “Actions speak louder than words”; keep this in mind and don’t simply speak the words, be sure your actions in the future do not belie the words, for the wounds in this case strike deeper. You may be the actual cause of your child’s illness.
It is definitely all right to admit to your child that you were wrong in how you handled a situation, and ask forgiveness. This sets forth a standard for your children to follow throughout their entire life.
Parents and teachers must practice and maintain balance in their own life in order to respond correctly to the children in their care.
One more note concerning the sick child. Many cultures, though not as common in the United States, keep infants and young children in almost constant physical contact with the mother.

In America it seems at times that we are duty bound from a social perspective to force our children to fight their illness alone. To be tough, self-reliant, and seen but not heard. I highly recommend that especially for the young children that they be held a lot and even sleep in the same bed with the mother, or at least in the same room.

This provides the ultimate healing energy of love. It also provides a sharing of body energy and warmth. A child should never have to deal with illness alone in their room. This will not spoil the child. You just being their and holding them as they need it is often enough.
Keep in mind; children may not be able to tell you what is stressing them out. They may be afraid of your response, or it may be that they put much of it on themselves, as in the case of the “perfectionist” child. It may also be that illness, household finances, school pressures, sibling rivalry, jealousy, or any number of things may be responsible. Your job as a parent is to provide a loving, nurturing home environment, as free from adult issues as is indicated for their age.

Detecting a child with stress problems:

One of the best ways of determining an overstressed person, child or adult, is to use a penlight and shine the light in one of their eyes. Observe the pupil, the black part of the eye; it should constrict, getting smaller. You see, the eye is like your 35mm camera; the aperture of the camera needs to be smaller in bright light so that the film is not over-exposed. The pupil of the eye works the same to keep too much light from entering the eye.

The pupil should normally be able to hold a steady size opening. In a child or adult suffering from long-term stress, the pupil will not be able to hold a steady constriction and will begin to pulse wider and wider as the light is held to it. This test is testing the adrenal glands ability to cope with stress of any kind. The adrenal glands are your stress organs. They sit on top of each kidney. Chronic stress fatigues the adrenal glands ability to cope, resulting in an inability to deal correctly to even the light shined in the eyes. Really bad cases are seen when the pupils are almost always very large and will only constrict slightly with the penlight. These children are usually very bothered by direct sunlight or strong lights.
Another method of finding out if a child is stressed is to shine a penlight in their eye from the side, illuminating their iris, the colored portion of the eye. This takes some patience, but what you are looking for are little rings on the surface of the iris that following the circular shape of the iris. These rings may be only in certain areas of the iris or in really bad cases you may see as many as five layers of rings, between the inner and outer edges of the iris. Any rings always indicate stress in the body, and are actually formed by cramps in the four layers that make up the iris. We should never see any rings in children! Their young lives should be carefree and nurtured. Of course, we should never see these rings in an adult iris either.

Dealing with childhood stress:

The following are designed to address the body, mind, and spirit of the child:

· The above penlight tests reveal stress that has affected the adrenal glands and therefore the child’s ability to deal with stress correctly. The adrenal glands can be strengthened by taking half of a tablet in the morning, of DSF-Formula™, by NutraWest, Inc. DSF was specifically designed as a De-Stress-Formula. At times it is somewhat impossible to completely remove all of the stressors in life, but this product helps in how one reacts to that stress.

· Diffusing essential oils in the house and in the child’s bedroom can have not only a calming effect, but a healing effect as well. Anything you can smell is a chemical in the air that you breathe into the body. When you breathe in essential oils, they bring with them some of the world’s strongest antioxidants and healing substances. You may remember how you used to feel when holiday potpourris set a festive mood in the house, or simply the smell of your favorite food being prepared. Some of our favorite oils for de-stressing are produced by Young Living Essential Oils, Inc.: Peace and Calming oil blend, Lavender oil, Harmony oil blend, Frankincense oil, Valor oil blend, ImmuPower oil blend, and Thieve’s oil blend. You will find your own favorites after trying a few, but let your child pick the oil for each day. These oils are usually well tolerated even by the chemically sensitive and asthmatic children.

· The homeopathic remedy “Rescue Remedy” was specifically designed to remedy all forms of stress, especially the acute stressors like a death in the family, auto or other accidents, or any stress that threatens the integrity of the body, real, perceived, or otherwise.

· Increase family and house organization. Children need some semblance of order even in the midst of their disorder. Consistency of house routines, chores, and expectations should be the rule. A disorderly and trash-out house breed stress and chaos, while a spotless house creates its own stress for children. There must be a flexible balance maintained in the household.

· Read and teach on keeping a quiet mind, controlling your thinking and emotions. These principles are wonderful to teach your children.

· Make the difficult decisions that will eliminate stress in your child’s life. This may be anything, moving to a better neighborhood; deciding to home-school; getting a different job that will allow you to be around more or one that will be less stressful for you and the family; change babysitters if you have a bad one, separate siblings into their own bedrooms or bring them together; whatever it takes to eliminate stress.

· Change your priorities so that your family is the most important part of your life. Find ways to spend quality time with the child, drawing and coloring together, reading stories and books together, take art classes that you can take together, buy models and assemble them together, ride bikes together, purchase bird books or nature books and go for nature walks with them identifying birds and flowers together. You see, it really does matter that you DO it with them, consistently and often.

· If you have not started the Nintendo-type games with your children, don’t even let it in the house. Children get lost in the “cool” worlds of these games and their real world cannot compete, leading them to discontentment and resentment towards you and the issues of the real world. It is training your child to live in their head only.

· Increase physical contact in the way of hugs, rocking, massaging, and speaking in affirmation. Give positive affirmations concerning how strong their body is and how well it is healing.

Dr. Jernigan is Physician Director at the Hansa Center for Optimum Health - seeing patients from around the world. He maintains a blog at www.DrJerniganBlog.com


Childhood Stress and Lyme DiseaseDynamic Neural Retraining Program (DNRS)


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