Health politicians call alternative treatment for children an abuse

Storting politician Sveinung Stensland (H) wants to ban both acupuncture, homeopathy and aromatherapy for children under ten years.

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Health politician Sveinung Stensland is concerned that children do not receive the medical treatment they need because parents take them to alternative treatment first. Photo: Holgeir Skjeie

  • Homeopathy for ear infections and allergies.
  • Acupuncture against bedwetting.
  • Osteopathy for colic.

The offers for desperate parents are many and were featured in A-magazine in July. However, Stensland believes that alternative treatment has no effect. On the contrary, he believes it can harm children.

Stensland is the health policy spokesperson for the Conservative Party. He is worried that children will not get the medical treatment they need because parents take them to alternative treatment first.

Therefore, Stensland will take the step of banning alternative treatment for children. He promotes this as a proposal for the party program of the Conservatives. They adopt their program this spring.

Today, alternative treatment is not mentioned in the Conservative Party’s program.

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Fear that people without competence make a diagnosis

The health politician fears that people without competence diagnose young children. He thinks more therapists are junk.

– At best, it hurts the child, such as cupping. And it can be directly harmful if you postpone treatment in sick children who should have had medical treatment.

Stensland says that the debate about alternative treatment for children is in the media and among the public, but has not reached politics.

– Methods such as cupping, needles or bowel lavage without a documented effect on children are an abuse of the child.

The right-wing politician believes that the biggest risk is that serious illness will not be caught. – But methods such as cupping, needles or bowel lavage without documentation on children, is an abuse of the child. Photo: Vidar Ruud

40,000 under the age of 12 receive alternative treatment annually

In Sweden, an age limit of eight years has been introduced for children.

Every year, 40,000 children under the age of 12 in Norway are taken to alternative treatment. This is shown by the National Research Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Nafkam). They conduct research and information work on behalf of the Norwegian health authorities.

Nafkam estimates that around 100 different treatments are offered, which according to the law are considered alternative (see facts), on the Norwegian market.

Osteopathy, naprapathy, acupuncture and homeopathy are among the most commonly offered to children with typical toddler ailments.

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– We can not treat children for the sake of the parents

– Doesn’t this restrict the parents’ freedom that the Conservatives are otherwise so concerned about?

– For me, the children’s health is the most important thing. Children cannot formulate symptoms in the same way as adults. We can not treat the children for the sake of the parents. This practice apparently takes place within the framework of the law on alternative treatment, Stensland answers.

He believes that other existing laws and regulations, which are intended to protect children and ensure their safety, can provide a legal basis for stopping the offer.

– We must take the debate on whether this type of intervention without a medical indication and without a documented effect, is compatible with good care.

The Pediatric Association believes that alternative treatment for young children must be regulated more strictly than today. The main trend is that the younger the children, the greater the skepticism about alternative treatment Photo: Monica Stromdahl

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Pediatric Association: Different opinions on bans

Among pediatricians, there are differing opinions as to whether alternative treatment for children should be illegal.

– It can be about different attitudes to regulation through legislation, and it can be about fear that there will be less openness about what or who parents have brought their children to, says Elisabeth Selvaag.

She is the leader of the pediatric association.

The health nurses support the skepticism. They believe a ban is a powerful tool that will be difficult to enforce.

– The most important thing is that we do not recommend it, but also do not point the finger at it, says Ann Karin Swang.

Pediatrician Elisabeth Selvaag says they are not always able to take care of parents who seek help for ailments for their child that are not due to illness.

These can be small children who cry a lot, who often wake up at night, have “colic”. Sometimes there are children with experienced food allergies or perhaps headaches.

For many doctors, this is not abnormally medically, but the parents experience it this way. Therefore, they take their children to alternative therapists.

Pediatricians have experienced that children have become ill. Children with cancer and other serious illnesses have arrived late for treatment. The parents have first taken them to alternative therapists.

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Acupuncture Association: Does not treat the little ones

Per Sloth Jensen is the leader of the Acupuncture Association. He is crystal clear:

– We do not treat infants. You do not stick needles in young children. Research has shown that acupuncture does not help with colic, he says.

The 500 members make clinical assessments of the children, according to Jensen. Then they decide whether the child should get acupuncture or not.

– We always ask if the child has been to a GP or specialist before receiving treatment.

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– Prohibiting children from treatment with homeopathy becomes absurd.

That’s what Tore Fosso Hom says. He is the leader of the Norwegian Homeopaths National Association.

A ban means that parents are deprived of the right to decide over their own children, he believes.

– What about the freedom to make your own choices that the government and his party talk about loudly?

Hom believes homeopathy is one of the most gentle treatments children can receive.

– Studies have confirmed that children with recurrent respiratory infections, ear infections and allergies have a particularly good benefit from homeopathy.

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Published: October 26, 2020 6:45 AM

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