What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is the art of understanding the root cause of a disease process or diagnosis by understanding the biology of the client. At Oasis Healing, functional medicine counseling is the heart of what we do. By understanding the biochemistry, or the biological reactions that take place for human life, the functional medicine practitioner can investigate where your biochemistry needs support. Through functional medicine testing, the practitioner will uncover the actual cause of why you feel the way you feel. In many cases, people can be suffering from the same condition or diagnosis but have completely different root causes to why they are experiencing what they are experiencing.
Take depression for example. Many people are diagnosed with depression every year. Some people have very severe symptoms and some people have more mild symptoms. Some people are refractory to conventional treatment while others thrive. Why is that? Well, the causes are typically different. If the cause is never uncovered, and everyone is treated with antidepressants no matter what, we will have a lot of people feeling better, but also a lot more who don’t get any relief from their symptoms. This is because what caused or stimulated the depressive symptoms is different. Functional medicine aims to uncover these mysteries for the individual.
Some of the underlying causes to disease include bacterial overgrowth, fungal overgrowth, toxin exposure, food sensitivities, inflammation cause by a viral infection, poor diet leading to nutritional deficiencies, a healthy diet that may not be right for you, poor digestion, overactive or under active thyroid, low hormone production, low or elevated neurotransmitter production, genetics, among others. For you maybe only one of these causes is true but it could be a combination of these things when working together makes you feel the way you feel. With functional medicine uncovering and addressing the causes are key to symptom support and ultimate healing. Recommendations in this type of medicine aim to work with the natural processes the body was designed to use for a healthful life. Therapies employed are to support nutritional status, balancing the gut microbiome, balancing hormones, eliminating and helping the body detoxify toxic exposures, reducing inflammation, calming the mind, and getting the body moving. My favorite types of therapies are nutritional supplements, herbal preparations, functional foods, exercise, and meditation. Supporting the body, mind, and soul are key to full body healing and prolonged wellness
People Who Practice Functional Medicine
By now you may be wondering who practices medicine like this? Some different practitioners that learn functional medicine are naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, among others. Also medical doctors of osteopathic medicine can complete certifications in functional medicine if they so choose.
What Functional Medicine Involves
When you see your functional medicine practitioner they will spend a good deal of time with you. Your initial visit will include an in depth health history conversation where the practitioner listens to you tell your story. This helps them to understand what you’ve gone through, why you want to feel better, and how they can help you. Next will typically come functional medicine tests. These tests are important as they aid the search for the cause of your ailments. Food sensitivity tests, nutritional testing, organic acid testing, neurotransmitter tests, hormone, and toxin tests are a few of the tests you practitioner may recommend for you to take. These are typically recommended based on your story and health history. Traditional lab work is also used to understand how your organ systems are working and help to aid in the assessment of treatment progress.
Once your test results come in you typically sit down again with your practitioner and they will explain to you what is going on in your system. This is the learning phase or the client. For me, this is my favorite part of the relationship I get to have with my clients. Someone being able to have a basic understanding of why they feel the way they feel is so rewarding to me. In my experience, once you can pinpoint why you feel a certain way and you have solutions you are usually more ready to make the changes necessary to feel better. Also the light that people have in their eyes when that “Ah ha” moment hits always brings me joy as a practitioner.
After this conversation and you’ve gotten an understanding of the causes, you are given certain recommendations for your individual case. I will be honest, if you’ve never done functional medicine some of the things you’re recommended may be things you’ve never done or never done consistently. Remember health is an ongoing journey, not an end goal.Be patient with yourself, ask questions, and give the recommendations time to work for your body.
Who Benefits From Functional Medicine?
The great thing about functional medicine is that everyone can benefit. Women, men, kids, and families can all benefit from incorporating a functional medicine practitioner on their healthcare team. As a consultant I’ve seen people with depression, anxiety, OCD, kids and adults with autism and ADHD benefit. I’ve also worked with clients suffering from skin conditions ranging from eczema to psoriasis and rosacea. Women suffering from recurrent vaginitis, thyroid imbalances, PMS, infertility, and chronic miscarriages recover with alternative health therapies. I have seen men with erectile dysfunction, low testosterone, and Parkinson’s find relief and improvements in their health. People who have trouble gaining or losing weight, chronic fatigue clients, suffer from autoimmunity, diabetes and heart disease, and chronic pain individuals who can’t find consistent relief even with the strongest medications find relief with functional medicine. So when I say everyone can benefit from this, I mean everyone. Even those who feel great and just want to optimize their health or prevent any ailments in the future would benefit from seeing a functional medicine practitioner a few times a year. The great thing about working with someone who knows how to treat the body functionally is that you will learn so much. So many things you will be able to take back to your family and teach your children so they can thrive and live healthful lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with a condition that just doesn’t seem to want to heal, direct them to your nearest functional medicine healthcare provider. After full launch of Oasis Health, make an online appointment with me, Dr. Jasmyne, and it would be my pleasure to aid you in your journey to health and wellness. 🙂