Causes vs. Symptoms

Do you know the difference between the cause of you health issues and the symptoms your body presents?

Avoid suppressing symptoms unless they become harmful. Instead, if you help your body heal the underlying causes, the symptoms will take care of themselves.


Let’s use dandelions as an example to explain what I mean by the difference between causes and symptoms. Let’s say you paid a gardener to remove the dandelions from your yard. He went out there and picked all the dandelion leaves and stalks but left the roots intact. You may have no idea what he did. All you know is that he was fast, the yard looks great, and you’re happy. But the next week those dandelions are all growing back. Are you still happy? Your gardener treated the symptoms and ignored the root problem (pun intended). 

Treating symptoms instead of causes may be frustrating with dandelions, but it can be harmful when done to your body. Why? Because the symptoms you are feeling are usually your immune system’s attempts to combat the foreign invaders. Treating the symptoms can take away the weapons your body uses to keep itself healthy.

Let’s consider a simple example – a common fever. Why does your body temperature rise? Well, your body is very intelligent. It knows that boosting your core temperature will significantly boost your immune system’s effectiveness. As a bonus, the higher temperature provides a hostile environment for many pathogens. Helps the immune system, hurts the pathogens – seems pretty smart doesn’t it? That is, until you decide to take some very common over-the-counter drugs to stop the fever. When you pop the pills your fever disappears and you quickly feel better, but your body now has to fight without one of its primary weapons. To make matters worse, your body also has to metabolize the drugs to get them out of your system. In this case, taking the drug is treating symptoms, which is working directly against your body’s natural healing abilities. What should you do? Monitor the fever to make sure it doesn’t get over 102oF. If it does, bring it back down to 102 naturally with wet towels or a cool bath. Then let it burn at 102. Now you’re working with your body instead of against it. Your body is smart enough to go after causes rather than symptoms. You just need to support it, or at the very least, stop fighting it.

This is a simple example that demonstrates the principle – suppressing symptoms is rarely a good long-term solution. So why is it so common in our health care system? For the same reasons it’s common with dandelions. Treating symptoms is quicker, easier, provides instant relief, makes the professional look good, and is likely to result in more recurring visits back to the professional who treated the symptoms in the first place. Trying to eliminate the causes (the roots) is more work, takes longer, you will probably be more uncomfortable in the short-term, and it doesn’t make the professional look good. At least not initially. You may even question whether it’s really working. But we’re convinced this is the only path to true health.

I’m sure you wouldn’t pay your gardener to pick all the dandelion leaves but leave the roots intact. Are you making that same mistake with you body? Are you going to the doctor every six months for prescription drugs because your body is incapable of keeping you healthy? If you are, perhaps you need to reevaluate your assumptions about health.