In naturopathy, Dr. Bolliger found answers to the same questions that propelled her into a law degree: how systems work and how to advocate for yourself. It was only when Dr. Bolliger had her own children that the importance of health really manifested; however, she found her core values in direct opposition to current medical practices. In Bolliger’s opinion, too much emphasis is placed on drugs which cover up or palliate symptoms, rather than treating their actual cause, by strengthening the patient’s overall health.
The emphasis on disease management, rather than prevention, and working with the whole body is at the root of the problem. Dr. Bolliger’s practice is similar to that of a detective, examining the root causes of illnesses, finding out why these symptoms surfaced in the first place.
Although Dr. Bolliger was accepted at traditional medical school, she decided to go a different route and instead took her medical training at the Canadian School of Naturopathic Medicine, which focused on natural solutions that helped the body balance itself, including homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and nutrition. Balance within the body is of paramount importance to Dr. Bolliger, who sees the human body as being so perfectly made that it only needs certain elements, such as the correct nutrients along with the right conditions for it to heal itself. Naturopathic Medicine uses treatment protocols that have been clinically and time proven such as acupuncture and homeopathy to help patients who have strayed off the path of health and gotten ill. As evidence-based science offers valuable insight on how things work and how to optimize our health, we are in an era where major strides are possible in nutrition as compared to the mere eleven hours given in most medical schools’ curriculum. Drugs, Dr. Bolliger puts forth, only address the physiological reactions, without taking into account the context of the illness, thus failing to address the entire picture.
Dr. Manon cites the shortcomings of the Canadian health system as a major concern. In this system, patients are allotted 7-minute consultations with their doctors, which are insufficient for thorough assessments. The 7-minute consultations allow the patient to query one body part at a time. This means that if a patient has more than one malady that exists in more than one body part, the doctor may be limited to addressing only one issue, and the patient is forced to return at a later date in order to have the remaining issues examined. This has the effect of compartmentalizing the patient into a number of separate body parts and prevents the physician from viewing them as one unified body and person. This compartmentalization offers physicians only a limited perspective on an individual’s health. Visits are prescription-driven, and focused on classifying the symptoms into disease states for disease management, rather than addressing and helping to promote health. Two of the main modalities she uses in her practice are homeopathy for chronic diseases and Bowen therapy for pain.
Homeopathic medicine is based on the observation that like cures like, a somewhat similar idea to that behind immunization. Homeopathy is also tailored to the particular individual — providing a solution to their individual expression of the disease. For that to work, very precise information must be obtained in order to stimulate the immune system to overcome the disease or condition. The healing process that ensues also has the additional benefit of strengthening the immune system, making the person healthier, not just symptom free.
Bowen therapy is used by Dr. Bolliger to address both physical and emotional pain. It is a simple, gentle yet effective treatment that allows the body to re-establish balance. “Let’s face it,” Dr. Bolliger says, “when patients are in pain, you must address their pain first.” Bowen therapy enables healing by restoring the proper function of the parasympathetic system, as well as hydrating the muscles and fascia, which allows for proper cellular communication. Chronic stress, puts our bodies into an over stimulated sympathetic state, which triggers high cortisol levels and, our adrenal systems eventually becomes exhausted. One of the most powerful mechanisms to restore balance in the body is to restore the parasympathetic system. Many patients experience a 60 to 80 percent improvement in their conditions in just 3–5 treatments, even if they’ve suffered from these conditions for a number of years.
One of Dr. Bolliger’s many concerns is the depletion of our planet’s resources and its soil. This is one of the reasons why we do not have access to as many nutrients as we should. While she is not a big advocate of vitamins, she does feel however that we need to make sure that we keep an eye on our nutrient consumption. For example, those who live in areas where the amount of sunlight is inconsistent should take a vitamin D supplement. Additionally, everyone needs to remain hydrated in order to allow their bodies to function and eliminate optimally, to counter the effects of everyday living.
Dr. Bolliger also offers workshops on Bowen Therapy. She views one course, in particular, “Reboot Your Body,” as a community outreach program, which she has made accessible online and through workshops. She cites this as her most powerful therapy because it allows each individual’s body to experience healing first hand. This program helps patients to sleep better, reduces colic in babies, improves digestion, decreases aches and pains and increases flexibility. It also improves circulation and promotes detoxification. When the body is in balance, a person is less likely to get sick. Reboot Your Body is a powerful stand-alone experience and has also been very effective at enhancing other treatments, such as acupuncture, physiotherapy or treatments for trauma. One of the key benefits of this program is that an individual can use it to help a spouse, child, parent, or friend. Dr. Bolliger also teaches a higher-level class in Bowen Therapy for health care practitioners, such as nurses, massage therapists and physiotherapists, who in turn use it on their clients. Dr. Bolliger’s most recent program, called LISTEN, teaches patients to pay attention to their bodies, finding new ways to empower themselves.
Dr. Bolliger believes that with guidance from our natural health professionals and by learning to LISTEN to our bodies, we can vastly improve our own health and be more mindful of our planet.