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Children’s Learning Disorders

Our Atlanta Acupuncture Clinic is located in Atlanta Georgia

Almost 4 million children in the United States are diagnosed with AD/HD (CDC, 2004). Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a developmental disorder whose three main symptoms are impulsiveness, inattention, and hyperactivity.

Our experience shows that several factors can contribute to this problem:
  • including previous antibiotic use causing negative effects on intestinal flora, with bacterial and yeast overgrowth creating a leaky gut that transports toxins from the gut into the blood where there can be negative effects on mood, memory, attention span, and hormonal balance.
  • dairy proteins have been shown to trigger brain injury, and we often find that ADD patients have excesses of sugar in their diet.
  • excessive consumption of highly processed foods depletes mineral content and creates excessive levels of bad lipids. Lipids can cause a thickening of the mylan sheeting around the nerves thus reducing information flow. Minerals are responsible for processing speeds through the nerves and in the brain.
  • genetic alterations will show up in out of range hormonal levels such as cortisol or testosterone. Alterations in these hormones have been shown to have a negative effect on attention span, memory and mood.

Chinese herbal medicines can regulate brain function and improve mental performance, while clearing the intestine of toxins without side effects. Additionally chinese herbals have been shown to have an adaptogenic effect on hormones.

At Acupuncture Atlanta we help all kinds of learning difficulties for children as well as adults such as: attention deficit disorder (ADD) both with and without hyperactivity, dyslexia, poor co-ordination and autism. Our approach enhances learning abilities and improves reading, reading comprehension, spelling and co-ordination, where previously medication was the most common intervention with very limited success (El-Zein et al, 2005).

Our Approach

As parents, we know first hand the difficulties in getting children to do medications, swallow pills, and do blood test. We have developed a diagnostic and treatment approach that is mindful of this stress.

In children, sensitive, specific pain free sampling methods are important. An alternative for serum hormonal and neuroendocrine markers is saliva and urine testing. For the diagnostic portion of the evaluation we use urine and saliva testing to evaluate hormones (Scerbo, 1994) and catacholines (Hanna, 1996).

Traditional acupuncture techniques are helpful for strengthening cerebral function and improving intelligence (Qian-Liang, 1989). In human subjects, Abad-Alegria et al. (1995) demonstrated that acupuncture stimulation of the acupoint ‘Heart 7’ produced long-lasting increases in activity that has been associated with cognitive activities. As in the study of Zhongfang et al. (1989), stimulation of non-acupuncture ‘sham’ points had no effect.

For young children instead of acupuncture we will use Auriculotherapy, which is a therapeutic intervention in which stimulation of the auricle of the external ear is utilized to alleviate health concerns in other parts of the body. We use a micro current stimulation that the child does not feel.

There has been important research that supports the use of Chinese herbs for strengthening cerebral function and improving intelligence (Qian-Liang, 1989). Panax Ginseng is beneficial in the synthesis of neural transmitters, thus enhancing brain functions. Astragalus Membranaceus inhibits monoamine oxidase thus increasing transmitters, which influence the excitation of the cerebral cortex as well as cerebral blood flow. Glycyrrhiza glabra (Dhingra, 2004) has shown a memory enhancing activity. These are just a few of the herbs that we use in our pharmacy. If you child is young we will blend a unique formula in a transdermal cream that is easily applied to the skin.

Our approach is based on a new model of learning integrating the most recent concepts in neurophysiology of the brain and uses highly specific non-invasive test markers to address stress within specific brain structures. The application of specific acupuncture treatments, Auriculotherapy, Chinese herbal formulas and supplements can then resolve these stresses resulting in a return to normal function.


  • Abad-Alegria, F, Galve, J A & Martinez, T (1995b). Changes of cerebral endogenous evoked potentials by acupuncture stimulation: A P300 Study. American Journal of Chinese Medicine, Vol. XXIII, 2, 115-119.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2004). Summary health statistics for U.S. children: National Health Interview Survey, 2002. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital and Health Statistics, 10(221).
  • Da Silva, A, Piato, A, Bardini, S, Netto, C, Memory retrieval improvements by Ptychopetalum olacoides in young and aging mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 95(2004), 199-203.
  • Dhingra, D, Parle, M, Kulkarni, S, Memory enhancing activity of Glycyrrhiza glabra in mice Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 91(2004), 361-365.
  • El-Zein, R., Abdel-Rahman, S., Hay, M., Lopez, M., Bondy, M., Morris, D. & Legator, M. Cytogenetic effects in children treated with methylphenidate. Cancer Letters, In Press.
  • Pliszka, S., McCracken, J., Maas, J., Catecholamines in Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Current Perspectives. J. Am. Child Adoles. Psychiatry, 35:3; Oct 1996.
  • Qian-Liang, L (1989). Research on strengthening cerebral function and improving intelligence. International Journal of Oriental Medicine, Vol 14, 227-232.
  • Scerbo, A., Kolko, D., Salivary Tesosterone and Cortisol in Diruptive Children, Relationship to Aggressive, Hyperactive and Internalizing Behaviors. J. Am. Child Adoles. Psychiatry, 33:8; Oct 1994