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Traditional medicine methods treat autism in HCM City

HCM City, August 31 (VNS/VNA) - Parents of autistic children in Ho Chi Minh City now have another option to save their children from autism: traditional medicine. 

The HCM City-based Hospital for Traditional Medicine started to apply the techniques early this month after being transferred from the National Hospital of Acupuncture. The methods include acupuncture, aqua-acupuncture and electro-acupuncture, the Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon) newspaper reported. 

Previously, the National Hospital of Acupuncture, based in Hanoi, has applied the methods for 1,500 autistic children since 2012. Results showed 60 percent of the children could re-integrate into the community and 20 percent of the children could attend mainstream schools. 

Ho Thi Thu Hien, of HCM City’s Thu Duc district, said she spent three years taking her daughter to many hospitals and health centres with the hope of treating her child’s autism, but failed. 

“My daughter’s autistic symptoms seem to be worse than before,” she said. 

Recently, when Hien heard about the news, she thought she had a new hope and took her daughter to the HCM City’s Hospital for Traditional Medicine. 

Like Hien, Bui Duy Linh, of the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, recently brought his son to the hospital for treatment. 

Linh said he found his son having autistic symptoms nearly one year ago. In a meeting with a group of parents having children with autism, he heard about the treatment methods using traditional medicine. 

At that time, only the National Hospital of Acupuncture provided the methods, so he still hesitated to take his son to Hanoi due to financial pressure. 

Now, the HCM City’s Hospital for Traditional Medicine offers the service. He took his son there. 

Doctor Truong Thi Ngoc Lan, from the HCM City’s Hospital for Traditional Medicine, said before officially applying the methods, the hospital had sent doctors to study in the National Hospital of Acupuncture three years ago. 

Then the hospital also started treatment for 80 children with autism. The treatment showed initial positive results, so the hospital decided to apply the methods to treat other children, she said. 

“Our doctors and facilities are now ready,” she said. 

In the coming time, the hospital plans to petition the Ministry of Health to add autism treatment with traditional-medicine methods to the list of diseases that health insurance pays for, she added. 

“It will help reduce medical costs for parents of autistic children,” she said. 

According to Doctor Nguyen Quoc Van, head of the National Hospital of Acupuncture’s Autism Department, autism is like a mental illness. 

When a child’s psychology has a problem, his body can be affected too. The child could show symptoms of hyperactivity disorder, learning disability and anorexia nervosa. 

Thus, the traditional-medicine methods, including acupuncture and electro-acupuncture, will create positive impacts on acupuncture points in the child’s body, boosting his blood circulation and balancing the energies of Yin and Yang throughout his body. 

"When the energies of Yin and Yang in the body of the child were balanced by traditional-medicine methods, we then correct their behaviours with pedagogical methods," Van said. 

According to Van, the advantage of using traditional medicine methods to treat autism was to repel autism without causing any nerve damage to the child. 

However, parents were advised to bring their children with autism for treatment before the age of 3. It was the best time to take medical intervention to fight autism, he said. 

Parents should talk with their autistic children every day, patiently teaching them communication skills and correcting their behaviours step by step. Parents should avoid causing their children any anger, he said. 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability. Signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.