Think about the most pressing health concerns you’ve had this past year. Heartburn? Arthritis? Depression? Extra weight? Now think about the approaches you’ve taken to address those issues. Have you been working on the root cause, or just using a band-aid to find temporary relief? If you’re not sure, here’s a clue: If you keep coming back to the same treatment over and over, but continue to experience the same symptoms over and over, you’re just using a band-aid. It might look like this: The same antacid for the same heartburn. The same NSAID for the same arthritis. The same antidepressant for the same depression. The same weight loss pill/calorie restriction/30-minutes-on-the-elliptical for the same 10 pounds.
The difference with a root cause mindset is that, eventually, the symptoms may actually go away for good. Instead of a life-long struggle with issue A, B, or C, you can just go back to having a life! Root cause practices determine what systemic imbalances are present, and help to get them back into balance, effectively correcting themselves. Symptoms are signs that something is off. It’s your body’s way to say, “Hey, something is wrong here!” Addressing the symptoms, like many meds typically do, does nothing to help with whatever is off. They only mask symptoms so you can pretend for a little while that they’re not there, effectively telling your body to be quiet and stop bothering you.
So what does a root cause approach look like? Lots of investigating and testing. Determining which systems are off and in what way is key. Are your adrenals over-working or under-working? Are you digesting fats well? What is your diet like? How is your stress? What are your vitamin levels? Do you have heavy metal toxicity? These are all questions that might be asked by a root-cause practitioner. Some you may have the answers too, and some you may not, requiring more investigation. The process is like solving a puzzle, because the human body is puzzle! All the parts and systems are linked together; none works in isolation, so a small clue from your digestion may lead to a discovery about your endocrine system.
As a Nutritional Therapy Consultant, this is the type of work that I do with clients. We work together to solve the mystery that is your body, and then support the health and balance of your systems with nutrition, lifestyle, movement and supplements. You may say, “Hold on a minute! You just said meds cover symptoms, but you’re going to ask me to take some pills anyway, but just call them supplements?” To that I’d reply that supplements really are different than medications. If your body is indicating a deficiency in B vitamins, then they are something your body needs, in fact requires, to function properly. No one, on the other hand, is suffering from a Prozac deficiency.
There are other local root-cause minded professionals as well. Eagle River has several naturopathic doctors at both Natural Family Health and Eagle River Center for Natural Medicine. Naturopathic doctors have gone through as much advanced training as allopathic doctors, but they typically have more time to get to know you and your needs, and won’t be sending you to the pharmacy afterwards.
In our relatively sedentary lives, one major root cause of ailments is often lack of movement. You can certainly create your own remedies by starting to walk or bike to work or during your lunch break, but our community is filled with active professionals if you want or need some help. We have (at least) two Crossfit gyms, Crossfit Iron Refined and Crossfit Eagle River, and while perhaps intimidating at first, these gyms specialize in meeting the needs of beginners. Personal trainers are also available here, and at the other gyms across the area.
With 2017 now upon us, consider what type of year you’d like it to be. Another of the same ol’ same ol’, or one with real, lasting change? If real change is what you want, get the help you need to support it! Our community is full of professionals who will help you get to the root causes of your health complaints, and make the shift for good.