What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is the future of chronic disease healthcare.
Chronic disease is different to an acute, emergency health problem, like a heart attack or a broken bone, and it requires a different kind of medicine.
A type of medicine that is designed for chronic health problems of a kind, and on a scale, that humanity has never faced before.
Functional medicine is evidence based, science driven, and differs in important ways from conventional medicine when treating chronic health problems. It is different from, but works together with, conventional medicine.
Personalised, root cause medicine
What is personalised, root cause medicine? And why does it matter?
Personalised, root cause medicine means that we are interested in finding out why the condition exists.
Then we can address the underlying root cause or trigger – the ‘why’.
Chronic health problems are often multi-factorial, complex, and highly individual.
In functional medicine, a solution that works for one person may not, and usually does not, work for someone else. There is no single pill or one-size-fits-all approach.
This is because we are all different in our genetics, dietary choices, exposure to bacteria and other pathogens, and our lifestyles. These factors are behind the majority of chronic health problems.
If you take 10 people with intestinal problems, each person could have a different root cause for their problem, and each therefore needs a different, personal solution.
Systems biology, treatment beyond symptoms, and leaky boats
To truly improve, stop, or reverse chronic health problems, requires consideration of lifestyle, personal environment (e.g. toxins and pathogens), dietary, genetic, and epigenetic factors.
It also requires consideration of the interplay between the internal systems of the body (systems biology), such as hormones, intestinal system, nutrients, toxins, pathogens, inflammation, and the immune system.
This is different to finding out that a condition exists and then prescribing medication to suppress the symptoms.
Or to put it another way…
Imagine that you’re in a boat that’s filling up with water.
A Functional Medicine approach:
- employs specialist testing that discovers the cause of the water coming into the boat, in this case a leak
- finds out where the leak is
- identifies what caused the leak in the first place, which could be a complex mix of poor build design, exposure to poor weather over the years, lack of maintenance and care over the life of the boat, or a specific event
- stops the leak and the cause of the leak so the boat doesn’t fill with water again
In chronic disease, a conventional medicine approach:
- focuses on the fact that the boat is filling with water (the symptom: the end result of the leak)
- focuses on removing the water from the boat (fixing the symptom, but not fixing the leak itself, or the cause of the leak)
- uses unfit-for-purpose diagnostic tools to identify the problem, and because of this, either:
- dismisses the possibility of there being a leak
- misdiagnoses the nature of the leak
- applies an ineffective remedy that solves the leak temporarily but causes other problems that weren’t there before
- and a huge team of experts will form a whole industry, spending their time and money developing amazing new technologies to evaporate the water, pump the water out, absorb the water, and build amazing facilities where the boat can be scanned, re-engineered, and sent back out to sea
But still nobody completely fixed the leak or thought about what caused it in the first place.
As you can see, unless you fix the leak and address the causes of the leak happening, it’ll keep getting worse over the years.
In the end, despite huge teams of people trying to take water out of the boat as the leak gets worse and it comes in faster and faster, the boat will eventually become overwhelmed and will sink.
You wouldn’t fix a boat like this, so why would you fix yourself this way?!
How does Functional Medicine treat so many different health problems?
This is a really important question. Up above we talked about ‘systems biology’.
Instead of treating individual and isolated symptoms, Functional Medicine works with whole systems that are dysfunctional – such as hormones, intestinal system, nutrients, toxins, pathogens, inflammation, and the immune system.
The dysfunction of these systems can result in many different and sometimes seemingly unrelated signs and symptoms (thyroid problems can results in hair loss anywhere on your body, for instance!).
But thyroid problems can also cause all of these of other symptoms, too:
- Weight gain
- Difficulty losing weight
- Fatigue, low energy
- Low mood
- Dry skin
- Hair loss – anywhere on your body
- Muscle pain
- Menstrual irregularities
- Fertility problems
When we properly fix the underlying system, all of the symptoms get better.
And that’s a better approach, right?
Not only that, but because all of these systems are inter-connected, when you fix one system, other conditions often also get better.
For instance, hypothyroidism has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Functional Medicine practitioners can be described as super-generalists.
Super-specialists, for instance a consultant gastro-enterologist, are experts in a very specific field. And many specialise further within that field, becoming experts in very specific cellular actions.
Super-generalists are experts in systems, and in holistic, patient centred, ‘wide field of vision’ healthcare.
In our experience, super-generalists using a Functional Medicine approach achieve better results in chronic diseases than super-specialists.
And because we work this way, we can help to address a very wide range of health symptoms, and a very wide range of health conditions.
How Optimised Functional Medicine can help you
We can help if you have an existing, diagnosed health condition (often that you’ve been suffering from for years) and want to pinpoint the specific root cause so that you are empowered to take control in employing an effective way of resolving or remediating it.
> if this is you, you might already have been prescribed medication, but want to know what more can be done
> you might feel that a conventional medicine approach hasn’t provided all the answers to your health problem, or has proven ineffective
> or you might feel that right now you’re simply managing your decline, and things aren’t getting any better despite medication or other medical interventions
Our team is always active in working collaboratively with your GP or Consultant, where appropriate, in order to find the most effective solution.
We can help if you have a problem that has not been medically diagnosed:
> where you’ve been to your GP, your test results have come back normal or inconclusive, but you still don’t feel right
> you don’t feel great and there’s something not quite right, but you’re not sure what the problem is
> you’ve done your own research, you’ve got a good idea what the problem might be, now you need expert guidance on the specific issue and putting an effective plan in place
> you want to pro-actively invest in your health and personal performance. You recognise that the absence of illness isn’t the same as optimal, bursting, vital health and happiness, and want to pro-actively invest in yourself and your future
We help by looking at all the possible causal factors at play, pinpointing imbalances, and developing a personalised strategy to achieve optimal health.
Working with our Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapy team not only offers a powerfully different perspective, but also one of the most comprehensive clinical testing suites available. We combine this with a range of options that are expertly tailored to your exact requirements and circumstances when designing the very best way forward for you.
If you’re looking for a Functional Medicine Nutritional Therapist delivering real health transformation, you’re in the right place.
We’d love to help you.
To your healthy, optimised future,
Dee & the Optimised clinic team
How can we help you? Send us a message below and we’ll come right back to you…