Point A to Point B
How do you get to work every day?
Your alarm goes off. You resist the temptation to hit snooze.
Maybe you’ve got time for a little exercise.
Jump in the shower.
Wolf down some breakfast.
Throw on some clothes, and you’re out the door for the daily commute.
So far, so good.
Until you hit traffic…
or spill coffee on your clothes…
or the train is late…
Your daily routine is a roadmap. It gets you from point A to point B. Any glitch in this system can throw you off. Your journey could be delayed, or you might need to change directions altogether.
Your health works the same way. There are routines, habits, and roadblocks in your life that have brought you from point A to point B.
If point B (your current health) is not a place you want to be, you need to examine the roadmap that got you there.
How Functional Medicine Looks at Your Health
Most of your health care has probably been directed at treating the symptoms of point B. Pills for your aches and pains. Medicines that lower your blood sugar or your blood pressure or your cholesterol, but that don’t do anything about changing why you have those problems in the first place. And nutritional advice that you’ve heard a hundred times, that leaves you starving and overweight, and is actually outdated and misleading guidance.
Functional medicine takes a completely different approach to your health problems.
When you have a health issue, your body is out of balance. You were meant to be a healthy, thriving human being, and your body knows how to get you back in balance. You just need to quit throwing it off kilter with your habits, relationships, and beliefs. Your body is seeking balance – homeostasis – and functional medicine addresses the root causes in your life that are creating the imbalance.
How does Functional Medicine find these root causes?
Functional Medicine utilizes a systems-based approach to examine all the areas of your life that influence your health. In other words, it examines in detail your journey from point A to point B. And it is designed to get you back to point A – a state of optimal health and well-being – by changing the lifestyle factors that directly affect your health.
A doctor practicing Functional Medicine considers how your individual metabolic factors (which are the chemical reactions going on in your body) are influenced by your lifestyle and your environment. You can change how these metabolic factors govern your body’s function and even change how your genes are expressed. Your family history does not have to commit you to a life of chronic disease.
Functional Medicine is not a “one size fits all” kind of approach. Just because you and your best friend both have diabetes or high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it doesn’t mean that you have the same causes for your diagnoses. You don’t have the exact same roadblocks along your journey that caused your individual imbalances. So why are you getting the same treatment?
Have you ever had a doctor examine your life timeline? No? Well, that’s the first step in a Functional Medicine approach. By understanding and analyzing your genetic predispositions; mental, emotional, and spiritual influences; life experiences, attitudes, and beliefs; and your daily practices, it is possible to discover your imbalances and what caused them. A functional medicine doctor considers your current symptoms and your health history in a chronological order known as a timeline. This information offers an indication as to where your health is headed and possible triggers for your current issues. It also helps form a better understanding of your mental and spiritual health which are critical to uncovering your imbalances.
A functional medicine doctor will work with you to create a highly individualized plan to reverse your symptoms and get you on the path to optimal wellness. While functional medicine helps provide the navigational tools, it is up to you to take the wheel and start your wellness journey.
Disease does not have to exist if imbalances are removed and balance is restored.
To Your Health,
"We must teach aspiring physicians about systems science…Medical school curricula should emphasize homeostasis and health, rather than only disease and diagnosis…Embedding prevention in the teaching, organization and practice of medicine can stem the unabated, economically unsustainable burden of disease." -Dr. Patrick Hanaway