That Nagging Symptom: Are you thinking of your body as a whole?


Ask Your Doctor about…

Heartburn?  Take a TUMS.  If that doesn’t work, take Nexium.

Migraines?  Take an Advil.  If that doesn’t work, try Imitrex.  Or maybe botox injections.

High Cholesterol?  Take Crestor or Lipitor.

Irritable Bowel?  Take Metamucil.  If that doesn’t work, try Dicetel.

Painful Periods?  Irregular cycles?  Take the Birth Control Pill.

Have Fibroids?  Get an “ablation,” or maybe surgically remove them or your uterus.

Hot flashes?  HRT.

Catch colds?  Get the Flu Shot.

Chronic nosebleeds?  Cauterize the vein.

Feeling Anxious?  Lorazepam.

Depressed?  Anti-depressants.

Pain that is so bad you can’t move?  You just pulled a wild card… The drug options here are endless.

Let’s take the symptom away and you won’t have to do much else because we don’t have time to talk about that and it doesn’t really matter.

Ask your Naturopathic Doctor about:

Heartburn?  Migraines?  Cholesterol?  Fibroids?  Menopause?  Menstrual concerns?  Bowel concerns?  Infections?  Nosebleeds?  Anxiety?  Depressed?  Pain?

For any concern a ND will ask: What are you eating?  How is your sleep?  How well are you detoxifying?  What is your digestion like?  What is your stress levels like?  What do you do for enjoyment?  How much water do you drink?  Do you exercise?  What is your family history?

How does digestion relate to Depression?  How does stress relate to Menstrual Cramps?

It does…

Reductionism vs Holism

This concept becomes lost in conventional medicine because conventional medical education involves dissecting the body into parts and treating each part.  However, the truth is, the body is a sum of its parts and all of the body’s systems rely on each other to maintain balance, or homeostasis, and health.

In My Practice I Have A Funny Saying…

When working with a patient focused on addressing bowel issues I sometimes say… “I have never had a Colon walk up, knock on my door and ask for help.”  (You can insert your health concern and body part… try it…it might make you chuckle)  However, this puts things in perspective for them.   Unfortunately, most people are so used to this experience in conventional medicine…and in real life that’s no laughing matter.  This approach causes people to go weeks, months, years with lingering symptoms that seem to never resolve, or worse, mount into other problems.

We need to think broader about health.  I have seen countless people having symptomatic treatment and never truly find freedom from it in their health until they change the way they are dealing with it.  It truly can become the kink in the the armour that causes people to feel unwell in other ways down the road.

Health Resolution = Revolution

As a Naturopathic Doctor I am working everyday to help change the deeply ingrained belief that our society has come to accept  in health care, which is: “Treat the symptoms.  Stop there.  No need to go further.”

When we go further we can resolve a concern for good and in the process, revolutionize the way a person feels body, mind and spirit.

Some people feel that changing their nutrition or lifestyle, or taking natural remedies to get better is too extreme.  Many North Americans have been conditioned, and still believe that the first “got-to” is pharmaceuticals or having a medical intervention.  After over a decade of practice this still shocks me.  I guess because I know so many natural approaches that are tremendously effective and do not carry side effects or risks.

What If I’m Already Taking A Prescription?

Many people wonder if I tell my patients to come off all their conventional medication and replace that with natural treatments.  As a firm believer in homeostasis, if we do this most people will be thrown into a state of chaos since the body does grow to rely on the chemical in the pharmaceutical.

I prefer to have patients continue prescriptions while we work on building the foundation of their health.  Often when we start to optimize weak spots in their physiology, their diet, lifestyle, etc., the body starts to change and symptoms resolve.  At this time I encourage patients to have a discussion with their doctor about the need for the prescription.  In some instances, when over the counter medication is involved or prescriptions that do not have concerns around withdrawal, many patients find they just stop relying on medication to feel well.

This process may take time.  Everyone is different and contrary to popular belief I do not have a crystal ball.  Again we are breaking through the old conceptions of a quick fix.  There are many natural remedies that work quickly and effectively, yet we also have to include strategies and solutions that may take some time.  For example, learning to eat well takes time.  Learning how to incorporate relaxation takes time.  Healing long standing health concerns takes time.

Where To Start With A Whole Body Health Perspective

There is a link between all our systems, and the most significant one is that which exists between our gut, nervous system, immune system and endocrine system.  When considering a symptom from one of these, the others need to be addressed.  Until balance is achieved within the group, a symptom can persist for a lifetime.  Naturopathic Doctors are skilled at understanding the whole picture and taking the time with their patients to do so and develop a plan that is the best fit for them.

For more information feel free to email me at



  1. Greg B. · January 29, 2015

    Hi Laura, Great depiction of the balance of how the human body as whole. Love how you have put into laymans terms . I explain this to my clients all the time! Thanks, -Greg Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:22:16 +0000 To:

    • Dr. Laura Imola, BSc, ND (Licensed) · January 29, 2015

      Hi Greg, Thank you and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It’s great that you are educating your clients, too. Let’s keep informing others about how important it is to think big about health.

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