Our bodies are a interconnected web of systems that work together to ensure that our bodies are working optimally
Our bodies are an extremely resilient and intelligent, working hard every moment to ensure our survival. Often symptoms have been manifesting for years before they finally reach the stage that we feel we need to address them. As one system of the body is affected another steps in to ensure the body is balanced. An excellent example of this are the hormones of our body. Each hormone is available in the blood in miniscule amounts. Very carefully controlled to ensure we have adequate supplies in times of danger. For a number of reasons a hormone may begin to become imbalanced, our bodies will work tirelessly to ensure this imbalance is not experienced within the body. When it feels it can no longer maintain the homeostasis and requires our intervention it starts to show us the signs through our symptoms. Thyroid, sex hormones, insulin, stress hormones are all so intelligently interconnected that to balance one it is vital to look at the entire picture. Our entire body is an interconnected web and one that needs to be understood in it's entirety before we can begin to identify the root cause of a persons health condition. Including their emotional wellbeing, their mental health, diet, lifestyle habits and the different body systems that maybe at play.
Many modern medical teaching schools were developed based on relieving a patient's symptoms as opposed to addressing the root cause of their condition. Modern Medical practitioners are identified by their specialist area of interest in the body. Functional Medicine however breaks through this model explaining that no system can be separated from another. Each organ and system of the body is dependant, this includes our mental, emotional and nervous system and it's interactions on the physical body. It would seem logical to agree that if we are not digesting our food properly and absorbing the nutrients then this will have a knock on effect on all systems of the body, as we struggle to provide the building blocks to numerous chemical reactions that are continually at play within our bodies. Functional Medicine emphasises that whilst a symptom may be presenting within an organ or system of the body, it's cause may lie within another. Ultimately many different symptoms maybe stemming from the same root in the same way that many leaves on a tree may begin to wither. By trimming the leaves we only momentarily relieve the tree from it's visual discomfort for the problem to only travel to another part of the tree or to return over time in the same place. By treating the root the entire tree gets nourished. In the same way, by addressing the root cause of your health symptoms you achieve a longer, deeper rooted lasting wellness, addressing many symptoms often at once instead of simply band aiding them for them only to return again. In order to achieve true wellness and thrive it is important to uproot disease from the root. One imbalance can go on to lead a number of different symptoms and conditions and unless the root cause is corrected the other symptoms will not truly ever go away. We can use skin creams and pain killers to reduce the symptoms but unless we go to the core of the problem we may simply end up manifesting symptoms elsewhere. By taking indepth history, understanding the individuals biochemical make up, their environment, genetic predisposition, lifestyle habits, we can piece together a picture of what maybe creating the imbalances within them and then formulate a plan to support them back to wellness.
Functional Medicine has allowed a number of traditional health systems like Ayurveda to reach the forefront as it support the ideas and concepts that have been outlined in the texts using science. Functional Medicine practitioners ensure that they offer evidence based by continually researching and keep up to date with the latest papers. Due to an upsurge in root cause medicine an increasing number of papers become available to provide evidence for diet and lifestyle intervention in numerous conditions that were once thought to only be treated by medications. An ever evolving science it is extremely interesting for a practitioner like myself to be able to support traditional Ayurvedic and Yoga principles with the latest science developments.
Test don't Guess
In a number of cases the need for further laboratory testing is required. This allows the practitioner to pin point where the clients imbalances maybe stemming from. This is especially useful in the case of hormone imbalances where often high and low levels can display the same symptoms. Testing also ensures that supplements are prescribed accurately for the individuals needs. In a world where supplements are available at the local supermarket, self prescription has increased tremendously. It is however of utmost important that supplements are only used when necessary, at the correct doses and monitored to ensure they are effective. Tests can be invaluable in some cases to support treatment plans.
For any program to be successful it takes both the practitioner and the clients input. The practitioner can offer their knowledge, the why, the how and the when, whilst the client is the one that actually has to implement the changes to allow the healing to begin. As a patient led discipline, the patient identifies their goals and the practitioner helps to guide and support them in achieving them. By working together and establishing clear roles and guidelines the programmes are more successful and ensure they are manageable for the client. This increases patient compliance as therefore positive outcomes. Functional Medicine practitioners work very closely with their clients and ensure the programmes are tailored to the clients needs, taking into consideration how fast or how slowly they wish to progress, what resonates with them and what does not. The client's intuition is an essential part of the process for no one knows you better that you do.