What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is individualized medical healthcare. Functional Medicine asks how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual.
Functional Medical practitioners are qualified medical doctors. To clarify, UK Nutritional Therapists who have undergone postgraduate training, use the principles and training from the Institute of Functional Medicine to underpin their analysis and recommendations for clients. I am not a medical doctor. You can be assured that I will work collaboratively with your GP.
What are the principles that guide practitioners?
- That each person has unique genes and a unique environment that the shaped their health.
- To take a patient-centered, rather than a disease-centered approach
- To seek a balance between the body, mind, and spirit
- To understand the web-like interconnections of internal physiological processes which when altered, underlie ill health and disease
- To promote robust health, not merely the absence of disease
- To support optimum function of all the organs to enhance health span, not just life span
Functional medicine emphasises a definable and teachable process of integrating multiple knowledge bases within a pragmatic intellectual matrix that focuses on functionality at many levels, rather than a single treatment for a single diagnosis. Functional medicine uses the patient’s story as a key tool for integrating diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and evidence of clinical imbalances into a comprehensive approach to improve both the patient’s environmental inputs and his or her physiological function.
The Institute for Functional Medicine teaches health care professional’s how to apply these principles in practice through an intensive 5 day training course called Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical PracticeTM.
I attended and completed the AFMCPTM-UK training in London in 2017.
What does this mean to me?
You will realise that we shift the focus away from your illness or disease, towards a perspective of health and wellness. My care aims to help you become the healthiest that you can be, through awareness, education and encouragement. This is demonstrated in the diagram below.
I will spend time with you, listening to your story of the important health events in your life, both, physical and emotional. We consider how you live your life, such as your favourite foods; your diet history; how well you sleep; how well you relax; how much and which types of exercise you do. How supportive are your relationships and social networks; how do you manage your stress?
We will consider the influence of your genes and how they affect your physiology (normal body functions) by the way they are interacting with your environment, diet and lifestyle choices. Consider for a moment, an analogy. Imagine that the genes you receive from your parents and grandparents are dealt to you, like somebody dealing you a hand of cards. It’s what you get, that’s it. Some people in life get a great genetic hand - they don’t seem to look after themselves, eat unhealthy food, smoke and drink too much alcohol, yet live a long life! However, even if you have been dealt a poor genetic hand, you can still win the game, because it all depends on how you play your cards. You’re in the driving seat. It’s your environment, the food you eat, your exposure to stress, the way your attitudes and beliefs influence your behaviours, that determine if you win the game and live a long, healthy and happy life. This is why we need individualised health plans.
I am here to help you play your hand wisely. You need to feel empowered and in control of your own health improvements so that you can make those necessary and sustained diet and lifestyle changes. We will work together collaboratively, rather than prescriptively. We will carefully break-up large goals into smaller more manageable ones, so ensure that you keep progressing over time.