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Making a Mark
Making a Mark is published bi-annually by the CHOC Foundation. It features CHOC and children?s healthcare news, patient highlights, hospital updates, board member spotlights, and community involvement stories and is mailed to donors who support CHOC with a gift of $250 and more.

CHOC Program Offers Alternative Medicine

Children aren't afraid of the 'cat's whiskers,' the pediatric needles used for acupuncture. That's what they're called by Ruth McCarty, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and co-founder of CHOC's Complementary Alternative Medicine program. Patients at CHOC in Orange and Mission Viejo are offered alternative medicine treatments as part of their doctor's care on a case-by-case basis. CHOC is one of only a few children's hospitals in the United States to offer an inpatient program for alternative medicine.

The therapies, including acupuncture and massage, are good at relieving symptoms such as anxiety, pain and insomnia. It has been shown that acupuncture changes the brain's chemistry, causing the release of endorphins, feel-good hormones that create a sense of calm and well-being.

For example, a 10-year-old girl recovering from extensive stomach surgery was prescribed complementary alternative medicine by her CHOC doctor to help manage her pain. Ruth used acupuncture to stimulate points in the girl's legs and ears. "All of the body's organs have a corresponding point in the ear," Ruth explains. "By stimulating a specific spot on her ear, I was able to help alleviate the girl's abdominal pain."

Ruth says, "Chinese medicine addresses the whole mind, body and spirit of the patient. It's all about improving a person's quality of life."

Alternative therapies have been mainstreamed into almost every department at CHOC. Though suffering from a number of misperceptions, alternative medicine is a well-defined system of medicine ruled by JCAHO controls and OSHA standards. Working with children from newborn to 18 years old, McCarty has treated over 400 patients. Thanks to the generosity of CHOC's donors, alternative medicine is available to children at CHOC free-of-charge.


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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

CHOC Children's - 1201 W La Veta Ave, Orange, CA. Phone: 714-997-3000. .