Functional Medicine is about seeing the complete picture, about the how and why an illness occurs. It takes all areas of life and health into account including physiology, lifestyle, home and work environment, genetics, philosophy, etc… It is a physiology / biology systems based approach to health.
Functional Medicine looks at the body as a whole and delves into how everything is connected and how one issue, one imbalance (physical or emotional) can affect us systemically, contributing to a chronic state of imbalance. The power of this system is the ability to drill down and address the root cause of the imbalance.
On the physical level, Functional Medicine addresses the body’s core physiological processes that cross anatomical boundaries including: assimilation of nutrients, cellular defense and repair, structural integrity, cellular communication and transport mechanisms, energy production, and biotransformation.
On the energic level, Functional Medicine addresses the person’s overall environmental, energetic, mental, social and philosophical aspects of their body mind.
According to Functional Medicine philosophy, there are 6 main “deal breakers” for achieving optimum health:
- Blood Sugar Imbalance
- Vitamin D deficiency
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury, infection or exposure manifesting in redness, heat, swelling and sometimes loss of function. It isolates the injury, infection, chemical, etc., and prevents it from spreading to the rest of the body. Inflammation becomes a problem when it develops into a constant, chronic state of being. It spreads throughout the body impacting and interfering with all of the body’s processes. We cannot heal if we are systemically inflamed.
Blood Sugar Imbalance
Cells need 2 things to thrive and function: Fuel (glucose) and Oxygen
Without these 2 essentials none of our processes will work efficiently in the body. Without proper glucose (blood sugar balance) and oxygen (carried by the red blood cells throughout the body) we cannot function on any level, none of our systems or bodily responses work properly. We can’t make neurotransmitter or hormones, our immune system mechanisms will not work properly and we become susceptible to infections and other environmental toxins. Stress and our ability to handle stress all become compromised. Result: poor tolerance to life in general.
The main causes of anemia are blood loss, lack of red blood cell production and acquired and/or inherited conditions and environmental factors. Some anemia symptoms include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, cold hands and feet, and headaches.
Caused by an invasion of disease causing agents into the body from either external or internal sources, a healthy state of functioning cannot be attained, if our body is in a constant state of battling and fighting infections. It depletes the energy required to fuel the rest of the body’s mechanisms and compromises our immune system.
The body is composed of approximately 60% water. Our bodies desperately need water for all processes to work! The body loses water through breathing, digestion and sweating. Our organs, endocrines glands, brain, body parts and all tissues need water. Water is the overall method of transportation that helps maintain the fluids that balance our digestive processes, help absorb and circulate minerals, nutrients and oxygen to the brain and entire body, flushes waste products, and helps to maintain body temperature.
A necessary component for our total health, Vitamin D strengthens our bones, helps regulate our immune and neuromuscular systems, support brain function, and plays an important part in the life cycle of cells.
If any one of these conditions occurs in the body, a functional state of health cannot be achieved.
Functional Medicine practitioners work with the patient to find the most appropriate and acceptable treatment plan to correct, balance, and optimize the fundamental underlying issues in the realms of mind, body, and spirit. Treatment protocols often include various aspects of daily living – environment, lifestyle, diet, activity patterns, psycho-social and spiritual factors.
Each body is a self-sustaining ecosystem – how well it functions depends upon how well the individual parts interact with each other and its surroundings. Working together, patients and providers design an appropriate approach to optimal health.
For more information on Functional Medicine, please visit: www.ifm.org