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What is Functional Medicine

                                                      Why I do what I do

Functional medicine is offend described as "root based" medicine. Instead of treating the symptoms (leaves) it looks to the underlying factors (roots)

If you read in the about me section of my website I describe a bit of how I landed in the world of functional medicine.

But here is the longer version...

It all started when my son was born. We had a few glitches during his birth that landed him in NICU for a few hours, intubated and on antibiotics. Not the ideal start to the world, but we all dealt with it like champs and my son recovered without complications.

He grew and thrived, he was happy and didn't have any glaring health issues. But his digestive system was never quite "right". Mainly in the form of frequent loose stools.

In the eyes of conventional medicine because he was otherwise healthy, they figured his digestive pattern was just his "normal". But let me tell you, loose stools are not normal, it is always an indication of something that is not quite right in the body. Usually food sensitivities, an imbalance of gut bacteria from bacteria or yeasts, or other infections.

It was then I began my own research into the role of gut health; the importance of a healthy microbiome at preconception, during pregnancy, the transfer of beneficial microbiota to a newborn as it moves through the birth canal, and the positive impact of prolonged breastfeeding on the microbiome. Thankfully my son was born naturally, which at least colonized him with some beneficial bacteria. We know now that being born by Cesarean can alter the natural pattern of acquisition of beneficial microbiota and can impact the baby immune system and be a contributing factor to developing certain health conditions. He was also breastfed which gives ongoing beneficial bacteria to help the babies immune system, digestive health, prevent infection, and impacts brain health.

But for him, the trauma of being taken away from his mom hours after birth (thankfully this didn't last long) the antibiotics at birth, combined with his genetics was likely enough to throw his system out of balance creating dysbiosis and consequently GI distress. Later on this was exacerbated by food sensitivities, a parasitic infection, clostridia and candida overgrowth. All of which I discovered through private functional medicine lab testing. With this knowledge we were able to treat his infections and dysbiosis and work on healing his gut.

I began to become fascinated with the gut and why feeding our body with nutritious whole food rich in probiotics and prebiotics is so crucial to every aspect of our health. From mental health, to cardiovascular health, skin, allergies and everywhere in between. I studied traditional diets and cultures and how they ate seasonally or when food was available, and how they took time to prepare their foods to improve its nutritional value. For example early grain based cultures did not prepare their grains haphazardly. They had different strategies to make their grains more nutritious and easier on the body to digest; such as soaking, grinding, sifting of the brain, fermentation, sprouting and cooking. These days our grains are genetically modified, improperly prepared and don't have any resemblance to the grains of the past. Its no wonder they reek havoc on many people's digestive systems.

I eventually found functional medicine. I appreciated the fact that functional medicine bridges the science of modern medicine with traditional and holistic medicine. It recognizes that we have come far in the advances of diagnosis and treatment and strives to put into practice new science and insights. But it is also not not afraid to learn from the knowledge of the past; the great minds of traditional healers from long ago and incorporate holistic modalities such as Chinese medicine and acupuncture, osteopathy, herbal medicine, energy medicine and mind body healing.

Functional medicine does not look at the body as various independent organs or systems where management is primarily through the suppression of symptoms. Instead it looks at the whole person determining what in their personal history, physical and social environment, their genetic makeup or the internal emotional mind, are contributing factors to the formation of disease.

For example if you have high blood pressure conventional medicine would prescribe a drug to lower it. They might also discuss lifestyle and diet such a lowering stress and eating less processed food. But often the later is not the focus, nor the expertise of the conventional Doctor. In Functional medicine the practitioner would investigate what is causing the high blood pressure in the first place. Emphasis is placed on assessing the foods you are eating, sleep, emotional baggage or trauma, environmental toxins. Once the underlying cause is determined often the symptom disappears completely rather than simply being masked by prescription drugs.

Functional medicine seeks to prevent disease from happening in the first place, and if it does, we seek to reverse it completely by treating the underlying cause.

We use nutrition, plants and herbs, deal with trauma, look into one's emotional being, and recognize that we have the ability to heal

After learning more about functional medicine and its 'root cause' approach I felt out of place in the conventional world. I disagreed with much of what was being taught and practiced in the conventional world. I decided I wanted to be the kind of practitioner that talked in depth with my clients, that listened and learned about their backgrounds, even the messy bits; the stuff that many right off as being un related or unimportant. I wanted to hear their stories and enable them with a more positive outlook on health.

Our bodies are connected, every bit of our being from preconception to where we stand today. Every ounce of our life experience has impacted our health in profound ways. I don't believe we ever need to hear that this is it, that these are the health cards we are dealt with. We can alway be better, feel better and live better no matter what era of life we are in.

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