Got questions about Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy?

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From what to expect and how many appointments you’ll need, to the difference between appointment packages and single appointment bookings, you’ll find all the information you need below:

Functional Medicine is a medical, integrative, and science-based approach addressing the underlying causes of a lack of optimal health, ill-health, and disease.

It is a model of healthcare that engages both client and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership, where the focus is on the client as a whole, not just on isolated symptoms. Functional Medicine looks at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.

There is significant overlap between the principles of Functional Medicine and Nutritional Therapy.  Nutritional Therapy is the application of the latest theories and research in nutrition and health sciences, to individuals seeking to manage chronic disease and promote optimum health.

This approach includes usage of a wide range of tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may contribute to an individual’s symptoms and health concerns. This allows to improve the physiological function of body systems and support the body towards maintaining health and wellbeing.

As with Functional Medicine, in Nutritional Therapy an individual’s genetic predisposition, medical conditions, medical treatments, environment and lifestyle factors are central considerations.

Our team combines the principles of Functional Medicine with Nutritional Therapy. This enables us to provide a detailed analysis of an individual’s health status and discover underlying imbalances. We do this by listening carefully to our client’s journey thus far, understanding how symptoms manifest, and interpreting both conventional and functional laboratory test results.

Our evidence based approach addresses root cause ‘systems biology’ imbalances in the body.

We restore optimal function to these root cause systems by through foods, lifestyle and supplements. Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy considers food and lifestyle as fundamental components of health, which have the capability to transform dysfunctional body systems into optimally functioning systems, thereby reducing or eliminating the symptoms of ill-health and disease.

Our practitioners investigate deeply into each client’s case to understand the unique imbalances and circumstances that have led to their current health status – this is our starting point and from here we can begin to address imbalances through a natural, effective, evidence based approach.

While we have a proven track record of helping to remediate or resolve often very complex health issues that have not been helped by conventional medical approaches, it is important to note that the Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy team at Optimised are not medically qualified.

It is therefore outside of our professional scope to medically diagnose or treat conditions.  We will liaise with, or refer you to, medical healthcare professionals, or other complementary healthcare practitioners as required, so that you receive the most appropriate solution to your health concern.

This really depends on your symptoms, how much support you personally require, and how long you’ve been unwell for.

If you don’t have any symptoms, have just a few minor symptoms, or want a general health review, then you might find that anywhere between one and three appointments is sufficient.

However, if you have chronic, or complex symptoms, have been suffering symptoms for a period of time, have a medical diagnosis, or need to change your nutrition and lifestyle significantly, then one of our packages will be most suitable for you.

Our packages range in duration from 3 to 6 months. Many clients will complete an initial package of appointments and then move to another package so that they continue receiving ongoing support.

While we request the first appointment is held in person, we recognise that this may not always be possible.

Appointments can therefore be held virtually from anywhere in the World using a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone, you would just require an internet / wifi connection.

We provide bespoke advice based on your individual health circumstances, health goals, the root causes of your issues, symptoms, nutritional preferences, lifestyle and budget.

After your consultation, you will receive a Personal Health Plan, which will summarise our recommendations and your plan around nutrition, lifestyle, nutritional supplements and laboratory testing (where appropriate).  No two Personal Health Plans are the same.

With regard to nutritional advice, we will work with you to identify what changes feel realistic and in what format you would like to receive the information, e.g. recipes, example meal plan, meal suggestions, foods/drinks to increase and foods/drinks to reduce, where to buy from etc.

No.  We are ‘complementary’ health practitioners which means we complement conventional medicine. We are not ‘alternative’ health practitioners and we do not provide an alternative to conventional medicine – we offer an integrated approach.

Although we have a proven record of achieving results, even in complex chronic health situations, we are not medically qualified. This means we sometimes require input from a medical professional.

If you are symptomatic, then you must be willing to see your doctor and seek medical advice.  We can liaise with your Doctor on your behalf, with your permission, for example writing to your Doctor to update them on your progress, any new symptoms we become aware of, or to request further testing or their medical opinion (all associated costs are included in your consultation fees).

It is our preference, with your permission, that we keep the channel of communication open between ourselves and your medical Doctor, so that we can all work together, in an integrated fashion, to support you.

Upon booking your appointment, you will receive an email confirming your appointment date and time, together with access details for the Optimised online system, where you’ll be able to complete our health intake questionnaires, 7 day food diary, and terms and conditions.

Once completed, all of the information will be saved to our secure, fully GDPR compliant system, where your practitioner will be able to access and review the information you provide, and prepare ahead of your consultation.

Please allow at least one hour to fill the forms in, this information is critical to our understanding of your situation and we therefore request the questions are please completed carefully and as accurately as possible.

You will need to complete these forms at least 2 working days prior to your appointment. Please note that if your forms are not returned 2 working days prior to the start time of your appointment, we reserved the right to cancel your appointment and reschedule it.

Completing your forms on time provides your practitioner with an opportunity to properly prepare for your initial appointment so that the appointment time is used efficiently and to your best benefit.

The forms include a review of your body systems, medical history, family health history, current medications and supplements, current nutrition and lifestyle habits, previous medical testing and results (if applicable).

The initial consultation will usually last up to 1.5 hours (90 minutes). After talking through our thoughts from your completed pre-consult forms and previous test results (if relevant), we will then talk through some further questions together so we can understand more deeply how your body systems are functioning, how you are feeling, what factors may have triggered your health concerns or are associated with your symptoms, and your health goals.

We are very much here to listen through this part of your consultation.

Recommendations will be made for how to move forwards and begin to address your health concerns.  Your practitioner will work closely with you to create your bespoke Personal Health Plan.

If you suffer from any chronic conditions, then we may utilise a very simple yet highly effective tool, called the Functional Medicine Timeline. This is a timeline of key events, symptoms, environmental / lifestyle changes and so on, from birth to the present, and is used to identify what factors in your life have potentially contributed to the illness or condition you are currently experiencing.

A Personal Health Plan will be made available through the Optimised online system within 5 working days after the initial consultation or within 2 working days after follow-up appointments (if not otherwise stated at the appointment).

Your Personal Health Plan will include our recommendations around what foods and drinks to include or increase and which to reduce or avoid, often providing meal ideas, recipes and practical tips for moving towards a healthier lifestyle.

We may make recommendations for functional testing if felt necessary. This allows us to pinpoint what’s happening and better understand underlying imbalances, assess your progress, and improve health outcomes.

We may also refer you to your GP / Consultant for additional testing (alternatively this can be performed privately) or for review / follow-up of symptoms where medical expertise is required.  We will also recommend that you see other healthcare professionals as required.  With your consent we will endeavour to work with your Doctor (where relevant).

If there is anything in your Personalised Health Plan that you are unsure about or you are struggling with, please contact us as soon as possible so we can help you to address the issue in the most convenient way for you.  We are happy to answer any brief questions that concern the recommendations made, for example clarification of a recommendation. For any other questions that require more consideration from your practitioner or further research time, then we kindly request these are addressed at the next appointment.

In order to provide ongoing support, monitor progress, move your protocol forwards, and ensure the recommendations are still relevant as your health status changes, it is expected that follow-up appointments are scheduled every 2 to 4 weeks.

Frequency can vary depending on your condition and how much support you require. It is expected that follow-up appointments become less frequent as improvements are noted and fewer amendments are required to your protocol.

The follow-up appointments will last either around 30 minutes, or around 1 hour where the Personal Health Plan will be reviewed and adapted in light of how you are feeling and any new information.

This ensures we continue to work towards your goals in the most effective way. Regular consultations also allow us to shift the focus from one aspect of your health to another as you progress, as well as assessing what is or isn’t working for you.

Often there is significant amount of ‘ground work’ that needs to be performed before directly influencing the area of health that is of concern.

For example, to address hormonal imbalances we may feel it is relevant to first ensure your digestive system is working optimally, and there is a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, before trying to reduce or raise particular hormone levels. This approach is due to the inter-related connections (systems biology) between body systems and pathways.

If you have a chronic condition or long standing symptoms, then we absolutely want to work with you in a ‘package’ setting, where we have a defined 3 or 6 month time frame in which to work together to deliver results.

This ensures that we can do our best work. We can plan your protocol in more detail, and provide you with the necessary support so that your investment delivers the maximum benefit in the shortest time possible.

From experience, we know that those who commit to a package of appointments get better results.  Your practitioner can provide in between appointment support e.g. brief phone support calls to help you stay on track, and we can address any developments / concerns more quickly.

With single appointment bookings, there is no in between appointment support other than answering brief questions that concern the clarification of recommendations made in the Personal Health Plan. These questions can only be asked within 14 calendar weeks of the date of your last appointment. Further questions or requests for information would be addressed at the next appointment.

Food:  The nutritional recommendations may mean that you are spending more money on different foods than you are used to. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be spending more money and we can work with you around your budget. Eating well doesn’t have to be expensive. It may be that you’re cutting back on your coffee shop latte, in favour for buying more vegetables, so your monthly expenditure doesn’t differ too much. 

Nutritional Supplements: In most cases, high-quality nutritional supplement recommendations will be made (but please note this is an optional aspect of the protocol). Your practitioner can work to your budget for supplements. In the short term at least, it would be beneficial to have a monthly budget if you can, for supplement support. High quality nutritional supplements can for example help to increase the level of a particular nutrient to help exert a specific therapeutic benefit e.g. helping a pathway to function optimally, or to quickly correct a nutrient deficiency.

Functional Testing: To help us better understand the underlying root causes of how you’re feeling, to assess progress, or to rule in / out a working hypothesis, we will likely make recommendations for functional testing. These tests provide us with significantly more meaningful information than what is available through conventional medicine testing. The tests we recommend are scientifically grounded, often utilising the most current up-to-date research.

If there are tests that can be performed through your Doctor, then we can request your Doctor runs these (i.e. private healthcare or through the NHS) thereby reducing costs where possible.

Functional testing costs vary quite significantly, e.g. anywhere from around £50 to £600, depending on the test and how comprehensive it is.

Having a budget for testing would be very helpful, but not essential.

For Packages

If you have chosen a package of appointments, then contact between appointments has already been considered and is part of the programme. We understand that questions may arise after appointments – we offer 10 minute calls (how many is dependent on the chosen package) to help address any questions in between appointments, to help you stay on track and provide support as required.

If in addition to this you have a question, then your practitioner will be happy to answer any brief questions via email, but if a longer response or time for consideration is required, then we will kindly request that you book in for one of the allocated 10 minute support calls, or bring your next scheduled appointment forward.

For single appointments

With single appointment bookings, there is no in between appointment support other than answering brief questions that concern the clarification of recommendations made in the Personal Health Plan. These questions can only be asked within two weeks of the date of your last appointment.  Further questions or requests for information would need to be addressed at the next appointment.

We absolutely want you to make the right decision. Who you decide to engage with in your health journey is a very important decision and we want you to be confident you’ve made the right choice for you.

We want our clients to feel excited about engaging with Optimised Personal Wellness, just as much as we are excited about working with you.

We therefore offer a complimentary 15 minute Discovery Call where we can talk through how we can help you, you can ask questions, and then take your time to consider if we’re the right option for you.

Yes, at Optimised we have a proven history of helping people with diagnosed medical conditions.

Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy can be beneficial for people with almost any diagnosed condition. As our Functional Medicine approach optimises health through nutritional and lifestyle interventions, we can help in most cases.

Where diagnosed medical conditions exist, our approach is targeted at helping remediate the underlying causes of the diagnosed condition, resulting not only in improvements in symptoms, but in many cases a reduction in medications taken – we will refer to your prescribing Doctor for retests and medication reviews as appropriate.

Absolutely. You may have symptoms that are bothering you, yet there is no conventional medical diagnosis (either because Doctors haven’t been able to reach a diagnosis for your symptoms, or because symptoms are sub-clinical (not yet severe enough to warrant a diagnosis).

At Optimised we will work with you to understand what potential imbalances have led to the development of your symptoms and address the underlying causes so that symptoms can be improved.

We also work with people who are feeling fine but have been informed of an abnormal test result e.g. through a standard medical screen, or you have a family history of a disease for example rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease or cancer, and want to optimise your health to reduce the risk of developing a condition in the future.

Or perhaps you want to be as healthy as possible for fertility reasons, or simply want to perform an in-depth health MOT.

We can help in these situations and Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy is often extremely powerful in preventative medicine and health optimisation.

Some private health cash plans e.g. through your employer or individual private scheme, may recognise and provide reimbursement for our services. It is definitely worth phoning your provider and asking.

The same provider may have different schemes (cash plans) that vary in terms of what services they cover and to what value, so you would need to check what your scheme covers.

The key questions to ask are;

  • Does your plan cover CNHC registered practitioners? Specifically, CNHC registered Nutritional Therapy?
  • If yes, then to what value?
  • If yes, do they require your GP to have made a referral to a CNHC registered Nutritional Therapist?

We are aware that the following private health cash plan providers cover CNHC registered Nutritional Therapists (but there may be others) as of April 2018;

  • Westfield Health
  • Elect
  • Health Shield

We want you to feel happy with your choice and confident that, together as a team, we will achieve results. Confidence in the process you are undertaking fosters greater commitment and ultimately better health outcomes.

Equally we want our practitioners to feel excited about working with you. Therefore, if within 14 days of the initial appointment you feel things aren’t working out, then we will happily process a refund, less the costs incurred to that point.

Optimised Personal Wellness is located in Manchester city centre, just off Deansgate and on the edge of Spinningfields. Please click here for further details.

Yes, we offer a payment plan so that payments for packages can be spread out to one payment every 4 weeks.

For individual appointments, payments are taken at the time of booking through the Optimised online system, using a credit or debit card.

For packages of appointments, the initial payment is taken at the time of booking through the online system, using a credit or debit card. Direct debit payments are then arranged for subsequent payments (every 4 weeks) for the duration of the chosen package.

The truth is that you get out what you put in. We’re all human and understand that changing nutrition and lifestyle habits can be challenging. Our role isn’t to judge but is to support you through these changes with positive encouragement.

We also understand that goals need to be realistic – we’re not going to ask you to exercise five times a week when you’ve not engaged in exercise for years! But we’re going to be very honest with you and say that some – and often quite significant – change is definitely going to be required and expected.

If a commitment to a basic level of change is beyond you for any reason right now, that’s no problem, but our services are likely to be not the right fit for you at this time.

For example, if you have been suffering with a chronic inflammatory condition, then we are likely going to request that you avoid foods that may be associated with increased inflammation such as dairy or gluten-containing grains.

These are potentially challenging changes to make so we will help you through this and provide other food/drink options that fit your preferences and lifestyle. However, if you, for example, are suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and you don’t wish to try a gluten elimination (for example), then we’ll be very honest with you and say our approach is likely not the right fit for you at this time.

Optimised Personal Wellness is an integrated health clinic and practitioners may wish to discuss your case internally to ensure best health outcomes for you. The Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy team hold regular clinical round table meetings to discuss cases and draw on each other’s experience and insights where relevant.

Optimised Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapists are dedicated to continuous professional development (CPD). The fields of Functional Medicine and Nutritional Therapy are constantly evolving, and we continue to learn more about factors that influence health and what interventions are proving to be successful.

Our practitioners not only meet, but vastly exceed, the minimum required CPD as set by professional bodies, BANT (British Association of Nutrition and Applied Nutritional Therapy) and CNHC (Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, set up with support from the Department of Health).

By working closely as a team, we can ensure that we are delivering the best service to our clients.  All of our practitioners are bound by confidentiality.

All information provided is confidential and all records held by Optimised Personal Wellness are maintained in line with Data Protection Act 2018 for a minimum of 7 years.

 

Our promise to you

Sometimes health can be challenging, with many potential underlying imbalances or the absence of ‘the one’ clear reason why health has deteriorated. We are persistent in our approach and committed to helping you feel better. We are happy and willing to research further so that we can help you navigate your way back to optimal health.

If we feel the best thing for you is to work with a different type (modality) of practitioner, then we will be open and honest with you and suggest a referral to someone we hold in high regard.

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To your healthy, optimised future,

Dee & the Optimised clinic team