Visit Your Naturopath in Calgary

Welcome to the Integrative Health Care Clinic offering services in Calgary, Alberta. IHC and IHHonline was founded by Dr Susan Janssens BSc, ND with the mission of providing safe, effective, integrative and natural approach to modern medicine. Dr Janssens treats the following health conditions:

  • Woman's health (menopause, PMS, endometriosis, fertility)
  • Mood disorder's (anxiety, depression, bi-polar etc)
  • Brain health (age-related cognitive decline, dementia, alzheimer's)
  • Chronic pain syndrome (NeuralProlotherapy, Neural Therapy, Prolotherapy)
  • Chronic disease (adjunctive Cancer treatments, MS, ALS, autoimmune)
  • Digestive problems (food allergies, IBS, ulcerative colitis etc)

With Dr Susan Janssens and the team at IHC, we think you will notice a difference in the way we approach health care. You and Dr Janssens will have time to explore your health concerns, to ask questions, and work towards understanding the root cause of your symptoms. Our integrative philosophy provides you with the opportunity to promote your health by accessing your own natural healing abilities through;

  • Identification of health blockages such as nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, hormone and neurotransmitter imbalances, environmental toxicity and heavy metal build-up, infection, and chronic inflammation.
  • Removal or correction of blockages or imbalances at ALL LEVELS which are preventing you from healing.
  • Replenishment and rejuvenation of your body with proper vitamins, minerals, oxygen and nutrition.
  • Repair any damage that has occurred through improper lifestyle, stress, and trauma.
  • Promotion of education and knowledge for self-healing.

 Our mission is to create individualized health programs that work! Since our focus is on “all of you” we take into consideration the dynamic interaction between body, energy, mind/emotion, spirit, and your environment. We also believe the expert on your health is you! It is our privilege to use our expertise to assist you in experiencing optimal health. We invite you to take some time to explore this website, to learn about integrative medicine and the therapies that we offer. If you resonate with our philosophy of health care, we would love to work with you. Please give us a call at 403-288-4880 or email us under the contact button.


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Treating The Brain to Stop Smoking

Posted by on in Dr. Susan Janssens, Bsc, ND
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Nicotine is the principal addictive component that drives continued tobacco use, despite the users knowledge of the harmful consequences. The initiation of addiction involves the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system, considered the most important reward pathway in the brain. This circuit is a key detector of a rewarding stimulus such as the nicotine in cigarettes. Under normal conditions, the circuit controls our responses to natural rewards, such as food, sex, and love, and is therefore an important determinant of our motivation and desires. It also tells the memory centers in our brain to pay particular attention to all features of that rewarding experience, so we can recognize and repeat it once again. This is a very old pathway from an evolutionary point of view and is found in all mammals. The neurotransmitter dopamine even mediates reward behavioral responses in worms and flies, which evolved as far back as 2 billion years ago.

Let’s take a look at what this looks like in a theoretical clinical session. When I ask someone who smokes “What do you feel when I tell you that you cannot have another cigarette?” I often receive a response that they feel “anxious.” When I ask “Where do you feel that in your body?” They will often describe a heaviness in their chest and stomach or a tightness in their throat.  I will then request that they just sit with the anxiety and be curious about what may be underneath that particular feeling. Many find that feelings of sadness, emptiness, anger and fear come to the surface.  I then ask the client to go ahead and imagine allowing themselves the cigarette. How do you feel now, I ask? “Relief!” This experience, played out in the reward center of the brain is what makes cigarettes very difficult to quit.

Research indicates that nicotine causes the release of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. As the nervous system adapts to nicotine, tobacco users develop tolerance, and need to increase the amount of tobacco they use. The effects of nicotine last for about 150 minutes before the levels drop and cause the following withdrawal symptoms:



                  Feelings of frustration, impatience, and anger



                       Trouble sleeping

                  Trouble concentrating

                  Restlessness or boredom



                  Increased appetite

                  Slower heart rate

These symptoms can lead a person to start using tobacco again to boost blood levels of nicotine and stop symptoms.

To help my clients stop smoking I support the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine with the use of supplements during the withdrawal process. Though everyone is unique in the reasons why they start smoking, I have found that many people start smoking to treat an underlying neurotransmitter imbalance. For example, it is thought that up to 70% of the population may have suboptimal serotonin levels; this can cause feelings of irritability, depression and anxiety.  Often, smokers tell me they feel calm and settled after a cigarette. Hence, unless the underlying neurotransmitter imbalance is treated, relapse will most likely occur. Case in point is the use of Zyban, an antidepressant, which increases levels of norepinephrine and dopamine that is commonly prescribed to help people stop smoking.

Now with reference to the clinical session…I will begin to explore the client’s feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness. I ask the client to remember the very first time they experienced that particular set of feelings. Often some trauma is remembered such as a time when they had felt lost, sick or alone. I ask the client, “If you could have anything you want, what would make you feel better?” Upon reflection, almost everyone will know exactly what they need, such as being comforted or to feel safe. I ask the client to imagine that happening, and to sit with the feeling. I then ask the client to go back to the craving for a cigarette, and see if they still want one. Most people reply with a surprised expression that they no longer crave the cigarette, and that it actually feels distasteful. The root of the addiction in this case was the desire to feel loved, safe and comforted.  The cigarette was a poor substitute for the real emotional fulfillment. Setting up new neural networks based on healthy emotional life choices is essential to the healing process.  To aid in recovery, I recommend that clients support their neurochemistry with supplements, develop healthy eating patterns, exercise, seek counselling or psychological care and continue to practice setting up new comfort neural pathways with healthier choices.

There are always underlying reasons such as; genetics, lifestyle, upbringing, support systems, stress, and nutrition as to why people take up and continue to smoke. In all cases, it is essential to look at the total picture; and the root cause, in order to realistically counteract such a difficult addiction.


Dr Susan Janssens is naturopathic doctor who has been practicing for over 10 years. She provides a safe, effective, integrative and natural approach to health. Her areas of expertise are with brain enhancement, anti-aging, woman’s health and chronic disease. For more information please go to or phone 403-288-4880.

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