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Parent Plus: Mind-body therapies can be helpful for children :

August 22, 2016

Think about a time when you were tense and used positive thoughts to help your body relax. Mind-body connections like these also are effective for kids. They are being used more often alongside medical care, according to a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

AAP News photo by Jeff KnoxAAP News photo by Jeff Knox

It is normal and even healthy for children to experience some stress, according to the AAP. How well kids handle stress depends on how much support they have from others and strength inside them. Following are some of the ways children can cope with stress and other illnesses.

Many children do yoga to get rid of stress, pain and health problems. Yoga uses breathing and body postures to connect the mind and the body. It also helps kids manage feelings and how they act, and yoga is good for kids with anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and other mental health conditions, according to the AAP.

Hypnosis can help children with irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal pain, anxiety before surgery and cancer. Not to be confused with the act that entertainers use to put people into a trance-like state, clinical hypnosis is used in a medical setting by trained professionals. Kids are asked to tune out their surroundings to change their feelings about something.

Sometimes doctors use clinical hypnosis along with guided imagery. This therapy uses all of the senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch and movement.

To help kids improve their attention span and focus, try meditation. Some schools found that meditation helps reduce absences and negative behaviors and improves kids’ self-esteem. One study found that students in an urban school were less stressed out after participating in a school mindfulness meditation program.

A Personal Stress Plan can help teens work through stressful situations. If your child seems overwhelmed by stress, contact your pediatrician for help.

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