What is Functional Medicine and Why Should You Care?
What is Functional Medicine?
In conventional medicine, a doctor diagnoses and prescribes according to a person’s symptoms. Functional Medicine is an individualized, science-based way of looking at illness from a root-cause perspective rather than just its symptoms. It looks at WHY your body is responding the way it is and seeks to support the body’s own intuitive healing processes. It does this through lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, eliminating irritants and toxins, reducing internal inflammation, supplementing with what your body’s needs, and then, prescribes medications only when necessary. A practitioner will order labs and interpret them, put the puzzle pieces together to formulate an individual plan for you. This usually includes prescribing lifestyle changes as a first-line of defense in reversing and preventing illness as they have the biggest impact on your overall health.
Lifestyle factors are HOW we treat our bodies. It really does matter what we put into and fuel our bodies with, how we handle stress, if we exercise, or how we sleep. Our bodies are designed to heal, restore, repair and function optimally. We just don’t always do our best in caring for and supporting our intricate machinery! But, these things really do matter and affect us on a cellular level translating into health and wellbeing or illness.
Why Should You Care?
Let’s say your car engine has a problem that needs attention and the dashboard light came on. You wouldn’t fix the dashboard light. You would address the real reason why the light came on in the first place.
It is the same with our bodies. It makes sense if you think about it. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. When you get a virus, cut, pull a muscle, or break a bone you heal. An amazing phenomenon if you think about it! So, do you just pop a pill for the symptoms? Or, do you address the reason why you are having symptoms?
Food Is Information
Many times you are not giving your body the right tools. Your body breaks food down into little bits of information that plug-and-play throughout the body to relay messages, to restore, heal, build muscle, activate pathways, produce energy and chemical process. It is an amazing and complex machine! If you aren’t giving it the right information it needs to make all those parts move, something breaks down and it can’t perform well.
Think of it like the game of telephone when you were a kid. Remember, someone would make up a story and tell it to the next person who would tell it to the next person and so on. At the end of line, the last person would tell her story. It was always hilarious and silly because it didn’t make sense. The information became garbled and the story didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to sound.
This is similar to what happens with many processes in your body. It needs all the pieces of information to get the story right. It needs certain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and information that healthy foods provide to get the story right. Without this vital information, you eventually get a symptom, telling you something is wrong.
Your Body Knows
Your body intuitively knows what it needs to be healthy. As a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, I help you learn to how to listen to it and help you make the lifestyle changes you need to make. From someone who just wants to lose a few pounds and feels stuck, to someone who is seeing me at a doctor’s request, or someone facing a difficult diagnosis, I am their ally. By asking clients thought provoking questions, I help them drill down to their real values, motivations and see their obstacles from a new angle. This allows them to gain a fresh perspective and opens up new ways to reach their health goals. Often clients are too close to their own problem to see the big picture. This helps them re-evaluate what steps they need to take to make those important lifestyle changes. They feel empowered, supported and have clarity about what to do next.
I have been personally helped by Functional Medicine. In fact, I have avoided all mainstream, symptomatic medications for Crohn’s disease over the last eight years due to healthy lifestyle factors! If addressing the root cause and making healthier lifestyle choices can do that for me…what can it do for you?
What symptoms do you need to address? Wouldn’t you prefer to treat the cause?
Visit the Institute for Functional Medicine to find a practitioner near you.
Or, visit this page find out more about how I can support you and how health coaching works.