Whole Health Concord opened amid health and wellness spike

  • Whole Health Concord, located at 7 Broadway, recently opened its supplement shop for its patients. Ben Domaingue—Ben Domaingue

  • Whole Health Concord, located at 7 Broadway, recently opened its supplement shop for its patients. BEN DOMINGUE / Monitor staff

  • Whole Health Concord, located at 7 Broadway, recently opened its supplement shop for its patients.

  • Dr. Laura Jones, founder and owner of Whole Health Concord. Ben Domaingue photos / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/16/2021 1:10:22 PM

When Laura Jones was developing a plan to open a natural healthcare store in an old ice cream shop in Concord, COVID-19 was never part of her calculations.

Just months after opening her new business on Broadway Street, a global pandemic struck presenting both challenges and opportunities for her fledgling operation.

As the virus spread and people were forced to stay home, many became more tuned to their physical and emotional wellbeing, seeking alternative treatments alongside their standard primary care.

Jones’ vision for Whole Health Concord, a naturopathic clinic for patents seeking alternative treatments for their ailments, took an unexpected turn. She was one of New Hampshire’s few practitioners of functional medicine who began to see an uptick in business during COVID-19, while other parts of her growing company, like yoga and meditation session, had to be re-envisioned.

Jones, a licensed primary care naturopathic doctor, earned her Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire.

Jones, who purchased the old Ballard’s Ice Cream building in January of 2020, was forced to close temporarily just two months later due to COVID-19. Patients have been able to take advantage of telehealth screenings and treatment throughout the pandemic.

“I’m actually quite delighted,” Jones said, approaching the two-year anniversary of her newest business venture. “I would say we’re busier than we expected.”

The storefront sells vitamins, supplements, and individual foods for dietary restrictions. As supplements are not regulated nor approved for medical use by the FDA, Jones takes great pride in ensuring quality for her patients.

“Companies that we use, we make sure they’re very good quality and that they third-party test their supplements,” said Jones. “The potency and quality of the supplement is so important for it to work well with the patients.”

Jones also reopened classrooms for programs such as yoga and meditation, but they have been held virtually due to the pandemic.

“With COVID-19 we still don’t have the participation that we want to have,” said Jones.

Naturopathic practitioners are considered doctors, as they hold four-year graduate degrees in their field and are trained at accredited institutions recognized by the Department of Education. Licensed Naturopathic Doctors are considered primary care specialists who can prescribe medication to their patients, much like a standard primary care physician. Their philosophy on medicine aims to be more proactive for their patients, however.

“The philosophy of our medicine is a bit different since we always want to try to treat the cause of the disease rather than the symptom,” said Jones.

With the increased popularity of natural medicines, primary care physicians have begun to work alongside naturopathic practitioners, though many remain reluctant to recognize naturopathy as a legitimate form of medicine.

“My preference is that they use it as a supplement,” said Jones. “A patient should be able to get the best of both worlds.”

In a recent study from the National Institutes of Health, researchers found that using yoga and naturopathic intervention in COVID-19 patients resulted in a “significant reduction” of anxiety and depression levels.

Despite Jones’ belief in naturopathic treatments, she does not rule out the benefits of traditional modern medicine.

“I tell patients ‘thank God for conventional medicine,’ like sometimes we really need it,” said Jones. “I do think at times they’re over prescribed or patients are on them too long when they could make a lifestyle change.”

Jones hopes her practice can continue to be a positive resource for the community.

“I just want to continue to be a super great resource for the community,” said Jones. “I also want to continue to help other practitioners learn naturopathy and how to be successful with it.”

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