Treating Inflammation in Children Part One, Asthma and Eczema | Healthy Seminars

Treating Inflammation in Children Part One, Asthma and Eczema

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Treating Inflammation in Children Part One, Asthma and Eczema

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Inflammatory lung and skin conditions are among the most common conditions that challenge the adaptive capacity of children. There has been an epidemic rise in inflammatory disorders that began after World War II. The accelerated pace of modern life generates a condition of excess Heat in the organism and in the world. In Western terms, this is a result of sympathetic overdrive—excess secretion of cortisol and adrenalin—that sets the stage for chronic inflammation.

Children mature and adapt through naturally recurring cycles of “euflammation,” manifesting as an up-regulated metabolism that generates surplus energy in the form of heat. As a result, children are prone to move quickly and intensely in and out of an hyper-inflammatory condition.. Many inflammatory disorders are the result of a failure to process (digest, absorb and incorporate) information that is not only contained in the food a child eats, but is embedded in her physical environment and social milieu. Inflammation in children almost always arises from a fundamental conflict between three developmental trajectories, maturation, adaptation and coordination. We call this, “The Middle Burner (Spleen and Stomach) being “caught in the crossfire”.

To optimally nurture a child’s growth and healthy development, we must foster the function of the Spleen Network without creating excessive accumulation. By first enriching the soil of the inner terrain (Qi, Moisture, Blood and Essence), managing the social environment (the family and community) and slowing down the rhythms of daily life, we can derail the kind of conditioning that leads to persistent sympathetic overdrive (hyperactive Yang) which undermines a child’s ability to engage the parasympathetic response (countervailing Yin).

Recent advances in contemporary medical theory and research have given credence to an integrated psycho-neuro-endocrine-gastro-immunological model that is beginning to replace, the obsolete, mechanistic paradigm of the “immune system” as a discreet, autonomous entity. All too often allopathic medicine, historically and institutionally rooted in an emergency management model, oversimplifies and compartmentalizes the concept of immune function and as well as other and other organ function as an independent systems. The new conceptualization of immunity as the outcome of integrated, coordinated functions comes closer to the holistic model articulated in the classical theories of Chinese traditional medicine.

For example, in pediatrics, we have long understood that 80% of immune activity is located in the gut. The concept of a “neuro-gastro-endocrine-immune system” reflects the complex and intimate communication and coordination that is essential for processing biological information and is fundamental to growth, adaptation and maturation. The concept of the Triple Burner elegantly integrates all of these functions and processes into a theoretically useful and clinically practical model. In this first lecture, we will focus on understanding the etiology and management of pediatric Asthma and Eczema. Diagnosis and treatment must always begin with a consideration of the Triple Burner’s processing and coordinating functions within the context the child’s constitutional nature: her pattern (li) of development - her type.


  • Learn to identify common pediatric presentations of reactive inflammation affecting physiological and Qi functions, channels and Organ Networks associated with the lungs, skin, gut and vagus neural network (parasympathetic nervous system)
  • Recognize and understand the underlying process of a healthy inflammatory response – euflammation - from Western and Chinese medicine perspectives.
  • The role of the Triple Burner (san jiao) in the functional mediation of inflammation.
  • The dynamic interaction of the Three Axes of development: the adaptive and maturation triads
  • The five phase dynamics that characterize five common patterns of inflammation in the lungs and skin
  • Learn to map a case using the principle of Five Phase Triads.
  • Using Five Phase Triad mapping, learn to formulate treatment protocols, including acupuncture, herbal formulas and nutritional supplements.



  • The Triple Burner system is the Developmental FU, an “invisible” organ that governs the neuro-gastro-endocrine-immune complex and the Western physiological integration with the gut microbiome and the parasympathetic/ poly-vagal nervous system.
  • The example of wei/ying qi as a microcosm of yin/yang harmonics.
  • The critical influence of environment on the process of growth and the etiology of illness
  • The role of inflammation in both health and sickness
  • Case illustration
  • The phenomenon of pediatric asthma in America: Western medical explanations
  • Current “standards of practice” for treating RAD (reactive airway disease) and “red flags” – when emergency intervention is necessary
  • Classification, etiology and clinical presentations of asthma in the context of the integrated Triple Burner - Five Phase model: the Five Triads of asthma
  • Case illustration
  • The nature and significance of the skin (couli)
  • How the skin is a reflection (microcosm) of the Triple Burner
  • Triple Burner - Five Phase Triads redux: classification and treatment of pediatric eczema according to the integrated model of the Triple Burner and Five Phases.
  • How are asthmas and eczemas are connected and how do they interact with each other?
  • Case illustration
  •  How to “map a case” in order to generate a working diagnosis and treatment strategy: additional case illustrations
  • Q&A: discussion of cases presented by participants
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Efrem Korngold is one of the leading traditional Chinese medicine teachers and practitioners in America. He is co-author of the widely read Between Heaven and Earth: A Guide to Chinese Medicine as well as many articles. He began his studies at the College of Traditional Acupuncture in England in 1972 and studied herbal medicine at Kunming Traditional Chinese Medicine Research Institute and Shanghai College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shu Guang Hospital.

Efrem established the acupuncture curriculum for the San Francisco College of Acupuncture in 1980. He is on the faculty of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and has taught at San Francisco State College, all over the United States and in Europe. A Diplomate in Acupuncture (NCCAOM), he has lectured at UCSF School of Medicine, Andrew Weil’s Program in Integrative Medicine, and Beth Israel Hospital in New York.

Efrem is a founding member of the Holistic Pediatric Association and collaborates with neurodevelopmental pediatrician Stephen Cowan on Chinese medicine and pediatrics. He is a registered herbalist at the American Herbalist Guild. Efrem is engaged in an active practice at Chinese Medicine Works.

Stephen Cowan MD is a board-certified pediatrician with 25 years of clinical experience working with children. He has a subspecialty in Developmental Pediatrics and has developed a unique holistic approach to evaluating and treating children struggling with chronic physical, emotional and cognitive disorders. Considering the child as a reflection of the inter-related forces of family and environment is the central focus of his practice. This approach respects the inseparability of mind, body and spirit and promotes a deeper understanding of what it means to be healthy.

Stephen has published a book called Fire Child Water Child: How Understanding The Five Types of ADHD Can Help You Improve Your Child's Self-Esteem and Attention

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