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Kinesiology, osteopathy… why alternative medicines are so popular among young parents

Alternative medicines are in vogue, reinforced by the shortage of healthcare professionals, and young parents are no exception. They promise more “naturalness”, listening to individuality, empowerment… but they are not recognized due to the insufficiency of scientific evidence.

With classical medicine we felt alone in looking for solutions“Carine sighs thinking about her three-year-old son’s journey: until recently he was waking up”at least five times a night”. Without explanations. “Our family doctor replied that he was fine and wished us courage. But we didn’t sleep anymore, we collapsed”. So she decided to “try everything”: parental consultant, osteopath, magnetizer, kinesiologist… ”I don’t know what worked, but he finally accomplished his first few nights”.

The craze for unconventional care practices

Carine also uses essential oils, probiotics, vitamins “for disease prevention” on a daily basis – without completely turning her back on the doctor. She finds information on the internet. It must be said that many sites and accounts on social networks have been created in recent years. Naturopathy, kinesiology, hypnotherapy… these “alternative medicines” promise fewer drugs, more naturalness, listening and “empowerment”. Official name: “unconventional care practices”, not scientifically recognized or taught in initial caregiver training.

After Covid, reports of the illegal practice of medicine linked to these practices have been exponential. Some pose dangers to patients.”, underlines Claire Siret, president of the Public Health section of the Medical Association, who conducted a report on these practices. “The craze is linked to both a shortage of doctors, a lack of medical time, distrust in science, the disturbing news climate and the desire to return to nature.” It is therefore logical that parents should be interested in this for their children. Especially because pregnancy and post-maternity represent a period of vulnerability.

Claiming that these alternative treatments have solved the problem is misleading

We didn’t receive enough support, Carine regrets. We had to train ourselves on children’s evenings, to understand that we were not responsible.Member of the French Association of Outpatient Paediatrics, Isabelle Kochert deplores “a poor provision of care, PMI [Protection maternelle et infantile] overwhelmed” which leaves “some parents shocked, and therefore no longer prisoners” of these practices.


Furthermore, the Orléans pediatrician often observes that they resort to it for crying, colic, regurgitation… In short, common symptoms, which generally go away on their own. “We need to support worried parents. But to say that these alternative treatments have solved the problem is misleading.Think, for example, about stopping cow’s milk, recommended to stop colic. “Cow’s milk protein allergy exists, but is extremely rare and requires a clinical approach, he insists. 30% of children have colic: for a period of time every week I had mothers who mistakenly stopped dairy products.

For Claire Siret, if these practices “remain within the scope of well-being”, that’s fine too. “But as soon as a diagnosis is made, a cure is proposed, and then we move on to treatment, a drift occurs.”. We also quote the website of the national union of naturopathy professionals: “A naturopathic counselor is a wellness professional who supports counselors in addition to medical care and monitoring.

Besides being expensive, some techniques themselves present dangers. For example, any manipulation of the skull, face and spine in children under six months of age is prohibited without a medical diagnosis certifying the absence of contraindications. Some essential oils are contraindicated during pregnancy, breastfeeding and up to 6 years of age. There is also the risk of delaying diagnosis and related treatment.

“Be wary when someone claims to cure all ills with just one method. No one is omnipotent.”

Make informed choices

Isabelle Kochert invites “parents who have difficulty connecting with healthcare professionals trained in pediatrics” (pediatricians, childcare workers, midwives, etc.). Even if it means “insisting” if they are not listened to. “It can also help prevent postpartum depression.If necessary, to quickly find advice, the pediatrician cites the health insurance website, or Mpedia, which contains advice sheets. “It is important that parents – especially when their child requires special care, for example due to developmental delays – know which practices are recognized [le gouvernement tient une liste, ndlr]. To make an informed choice”, he insists. Opinion shared by colleague:


What if the movie you were going to see tonight was a dump? Each week, Kalindi Ramphul gives you her opinion on which movie to see (or not) on the show The Only Opinion That Matters.

Source: Madmoizelle

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