Treating the root cause is a phrase that many people in the holistic health community use. It can be used so much that we lose track of the meaning. Basically, treating the root cause means treating the cause of the symptoms. The opposite to this is just treating the symptoms. Even this explanation can seem like empty words that are hard to understand. I think the best way to explain this concept is through examples. Below I discuss three examples. I explain how you would treat the symptoms of a condition vs. how you would treat the root cause.

In the holistic health world, treating the root cause is praised highly. Treating symptoms is often frowned upon. A tree in a garden benefits from having both roots and branches tended too. Similarly, good health care should involve treating both root causes and symptoms. As a naturopath, my approach is to address both using gentle and natural remedies.

Treating the symptoms:

– Applying antibiotics or antimicrobial products to the skin

– Taking antibiotics or antimicrobial pills

– Medications like Accutane which alters the skin to reduce acne

Treating the root cause:

Addressing why the skin is vulnerable to being infected by acne causing bacteria.

– Balance hormones like androgens, estrogen, stress hormones etc.

– Improve gut health and detoxification

– Balance blood sugar

– Consider food sensitivities and dietary changes

– Reduce inflammation

Treating the symptoms:

– Taking anti-inflammatory medications or supplements

– Applying anti-inflammatory medications or natural products to the painful area

Treating the root cause:

Treat what is causing the inflammation and poor joint health.

– Balancing the immune system

– Addressing diet for inflammation and joint health

– Improving joint health with minerals and other supplements

– Addressing structural issues through physiotherapy, chiropractic care, massage etc.

– Reducing toxic load

Treating the symptoms:

– Laxatives, drugs to stop diarrhea

– Drugs to reduce stomach acid

– Anti-inflammatory medications or supplements

Treating the root cause:

Treating what is causing the bowel issues.

– Considering food sensitivities and diet

– Healing the gut lining and improving gut health

– Addressing mental health

– Balancing the immune system

– Improving the way that the intestines and “valves” in the digestive tract open/ close/ move

Do you want to learn more about how naturopathic medicine can treat the root causes of your condition? Book an appointment or free 15-min consult. This also applies to you even if you’re taking conventional medications. Conventional and naturopathic medicine can work well together to treat “roots” and “branches”.

If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at 



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