Here at The Functional Nutrition Clinic we work with a Functional Medicine model and I firmly believe this is the way forward in addressing and reversing chronic health conditions. But what does that mean, many people may have heard the term but (especially in the UK where it’s not that well know) what exactly is it? How does this approach differ from the conventional medical model?
Conventional medicine focuses on diagnosis of disease through a recognised pattern of symptoms and addressing those symptoms with medications that on the whole are the same for each patient with that given diagnosis
Recommendations from a functional medicine practitioner recognise a client’s biochemical individuality, that each person is different and one size does not fit all. It also acknowledges the mind/body/spirit connection
In fact in 1948 the World Health Organization (WHO) identified health as “a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
In conventional medicine you see doctors based on their specialties e.g. gastroenterology, endocrinology, gynaecology
Functional Medicine has a holistic approach and views all body systems as an interconnected matrix rather than separate systems.
As the graphic above shows, specific diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and fibromyalgia may be visible above the surface but the underlying cause is the altered physiology below the surface. The underlying imbalances, dysfunctions, exposures, stress load are the real causes of a person’s health issues.
“Treat the person not the disease”
At the Functional Nutrition Clinic our goal is to optimise the health and vitality of each of our clients.
Through the use of comprehensive health and lifestyle history taking, assessment of their unique biochemical factors and the results of functional laboratory testing we identify imbalances in the main body systems and the underlying causes of their chronic health issues.
It’s a patient centered approach.
Hippocrates said, “It is far more important to know what person the disease has than what disease the person has”
This is the focus of functional medicine
The conventional model works well for acute health problems and believe me if I were to be in an accident, break my leg or suffer a heart attack I can think of no better place to be than in the A & E department of an NHS hospital
But with the rise in chronic health conditions – over 70% of the NHS budget goes on looking after those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity and heart disease – this type of model is clearly less successful.
If you have a stone in your shoe –wouldn’t it make sense to take off your shoe and remove the rock rather than take a painkiller to take away the pain it’s causing?
Surely better to find the root cause of your inflammation that is causing high cholesterol rather than just take a statin to control the cholesterol?
A Great Example of a Functional Medicine Approach
Over last few weeks I have been watching Dr In The House on BBC1
Dr Rangan Chaterjee is a GP who has also undertaken training in functional Medicine
Week 2 Dr Chaterjee was helping Ray, a body builder who had been suffering chronic back pain for over 10 years.
The treatment he had been offered was painkillers (including opiates) and he was taking such huge amounts that it was putting him at risk of liver damage. He could hardly sleep, his mood was low and it was affecting his marriage.
The Dr spelt out the risk of such high amounts of medications and took him to see a musculo- skeletal therapist.
The root cause of Ray’s problem had occurred many years before when he had suffered a broken jaw. This had a knock on effect of twisting his spine. Once he was given exercises and manipulation to address the imbalance the pain went away! He was no longer reliant on massive doses of painkillers, his sleep improved which led to mood improvement and his relationships improved.
A great example of addressing the root cause of a chronic health issue
For more information check out the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06qbs4n
If you want to discuss your own health issues in more detail and find out how functional medicine can help you Reclaim Your Health click the image below to book your complimentary 15 minute strategy session:
About The Author
She has been helping clients Reclaim Their Health for the last 12 years Her holistic approach to building health can be complementary to and easily integrated with most conventional medical approaches in use today.