Western and Eastern Medicine Aspects of
Autism Spectrum Disorder
The Use of Chinese Medicine in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a group of complex disorders that in varying degrees effect brain development characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. ASD can also be associated with intellectual disability, poor motor coordination, and difficulties with attention and physical health issues that may include gastrointestinal disturbances, and trouble with sleep. According to the Center for Disease Control one out of every eighty-eight children in the United States will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and one out of every fifty-four of those diagnosed will be boys. Autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegration disorder, pervasive development disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger syndrome are a types of ASD.
If one asked Western doctors only a few years ago researchers would have claimed that the cause of autism was unknown. In recent years research has shown that just as there is no one type of autism, there is also no one cause of the disorder. Factors like rare gene changes or mutations, parental age, maternal illness, and difficulties during birth that lead to oxygen deprivation, and the environment all appear to cause autism. The belief among western physicians is that the combination of these factors, accompanied by a genetic disposition further increases a child’s risk for encountering the disorder.
It is no surprise that Eastern Medicine has different views on what causes Autism disorder. According to the book “Secrets to Take Care of Infants and Toddlers” written by Dr. Quan Wan in the Ming Dynasty in 1579 AD, he indicated that children naturally have characteristics associated with liver and heart excess heat. He also suggested that children also have deficiencies in the spleen, lung, and kidney. He believed that by maintain good health in the stomach and spleen would lead to positive The Use of Chinese Medicine in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
health in the future. Eastern medicine refers to ASD as Wuchi, Wuruan (five delays, five weaknesses), Ganji (middle burner stagnation). One pre-natal factor believed to contribute to encountering the onset of the disorder is deficient Qi in the Kidneys while in the mother’s womb. This is believed to be caused by the stress the expectant mother experiences and a lack of sleep. After the infant has left their mother’s womb the other factor considered to be a cause of the disorder is the newborn’s digestive system, also linked to deficient Spleen. This is associated with the nursing mother’s diet, stagnate Liver Qi caused by the stress the mother experiences. There is agreement from both eastern and western physcians that environmental pollution, vaccinations, magnetic field pollution from computers, microwaves, and cell phones, and the presence of chemicals and hormones in our livestock and agriculture may also influence the incidence of ASD.
Chinese Medicine believes that there are five differentiations of autism that include Liver Heat, Spleen deficiency, Heart Qi and Yin deficiency, Kidney deficiency, and Lung Qi deficiency. The first of these differentiations Liver Heat examines how the relationship between our mental activities and the heart rely on the smooth flow of the vital energy and blood our Liver provides. When Liver Qi has become idle for an extended period of time it can lead to Liver Heat. Symptoms caused by Liver Heat include hyperactivity, anxiety, anger, irritability, insomnia, and behavior that can be quite compulsive and self-destructive.
The second differentiation of Autism is Spleen Deficiency. When the Spleen is deficient dampness causes mucus to form which in turn blocks the...