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Functional Medicine

Looking at ANY illness or imbalance must include a search for the cause

Correcting your body composition with all necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients is the basis of health

Lifestyle choices are the key to addressing most health concerns and symptoms

Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness. This is a holistic approach that looks at all systems through the Functional Medicine Matrix, a model designed to identify which systems are the most under pressure, what influences there have been in the development of the imbalance and what and where to begin with to bring about healing and a healthy balance. The systems are broken down into Assimilation, Structural Integrity, Communication, Transport, Bio-transformation and Elimination, Energy and Defence and Repair, while overlaying Mental, Emotional and Spiritual Influences.

The first line of therapy in looking at ANY illness or imbalance is DIET AND LIFESTYLE. What are YOU doing to create this state of disease? What can we change from today that will make immediate inroads into your health journey?

You may not want to hear that, but if you just get your diet and lifestyle in order, and correct your body composition (lean muscle to fat and water ratios and essential nutrient content) you yourself will cure most of your illnesses without the need for any medication. Sometimes medicines (I use natural ones) are needed to assist some biological processes that are out of balance, like an Underactive Thyroid or Insulin Resistance – these 2 often go hand in hand, and when the one is checked and found low or high, no further  investigations are often done and there is so much one can do.

I use a full medical assessment with blood tests as required, a specialised diet plan discussion and medical or nutraceutical supplementation. 

Leading health organizations now recommend therapeutic lifestyle change and lifestyle medicine as the “first line of therapy” for treating and reducing the risk of common conditions such as:

  • Overweight/Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Conditions related to aging

Lifestyle choices are also the key to addressing other health concerns and symptoms, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Low sex drive
  • Stress-related symptoms
  • Poor memory or lack of mental clarity
  • And many others

Detoxification

Historically, cleansing has always been an integral part of natural healthcare in cultures all over the world. Cleansing (and fasting) is also integrated into spiritual traditions of all kinds. So, here’s why we need to periodically cleanse our bodies:

  • Prevent Disease: toxins lodge deep in the body, weakening organs and making you prone to disease
  • Stimulate Elimination: a cleanse eliminates the waste build up in the colon, enabling our systems to run more efficiently
  • Wipe-out Pain: toxins become crystallized in the body, if not eliminated, they can cause pain – eliminate the source of the problem
  • Increase Metabolism: cleansing helps metabolism become efficient at generating energy and increases the body’s ability to absorb the necessary nutrition from food
  • Lose Weight: as the level of toxins in the body rises, more fat is manufactured to protect the body; removing toxins allows for natural weight loss
  • Increase Energy / Vitality: fatigue is a primary symptom of toxicity, cleansing reduces the body’s excessive workload and liberates energy
  • Purify the Liver: our main detoxification organ (cleans drugs, alcohol, poisons, etc.) can be the source of many health issues – a healthy liver can make all the difference
  • Clarity of Mind: cleansing leads to an open and clear mind and can reduce depression and anxiety
  • Stress Reduction: eliminating old build-up while consuming better quality nutrition allows your body to produce the correct balance of brain chemicals for relaxation
  • Healthy Glowing Skin: skin is the largest organ of your body and has the ability to excrete toxins – using a sauna (or sweating) encourages elimination of toxins through sweat

Detox programs must be an individualised plan. It seems paradoxical, but we need to be fairly healthy to detox properly. By way of example: we need to have corrected any bowel issues before detoxing, because effective detox relies on the final elimination of our wastes, and if we are not eliminating well, then when we mobilise the Liver to clear extra toxins, it will be unable to do so properly and there are health impacts to that. Not an efficient way of healing and there may be other limiting health factors, so it should be directed by someone or understood properly if you are to attempt it yourself. 

But detoxing allows for amazing healing results. If you have hit the plateau of weight loss, a detox jumps starts you and gets the engine turning again. Detox programs are essential for continued health and longevity. 

If a Fertility patient has undergone many assisted procedures, she may be too toxic to conceive and may need to do a detox program before embarking on any further treatment, chemical or natural. It is a great way to get and stay clean and lean. 

Intermittent Fasting 

I am a firm believer in the benefits of fasting, having enjoyed many benefits from it myself. I regularly advocate the 16:8 fast, where you fast from dinner the night before until around midday (eg 8pm-12noon). Fasting includes drinking water, black tea or black coffee with no other additions whatsoever.

The idea is to trigger the body to require stored energy reserves (aka FAT cells) to continue it’s energy requirements while you go about your morning. If you are storing excess fuel as fat, then No, Breakfast is not your most important meal of the day, as we should rather use up our excess before adding more in, don’t you think? Eating consistently, even though your body does not require the energy does not make logical sense, because as we all know, storage fees are expensive, and it costs us a lot of health to keep all that fat around. Yes, even if the food is nice or feel hungry for the first few days, you will get used to it and once in the groove, you’ll love it, most people do. It’s quite empowering to gain this control and fits so well into life. Even if you have a function to attend, then do so and enjoy it, then fast again the next day. The benefits are cumulative and are experienced daily.

Fasting in the morning uses up excess fat for energy and provides the entire body with fuel, benefiting our hormones by lowering Insulin levels to raise counter-hormone Glucagon to go and retrieve the fat for fuel consumption. This fact helps so many health conditions, by reducing both Insulin levels and fat stores which in turn reduces Inflammation. Also, when we are not eating so regularly, we give those organs and break from use and they can undergo maintenance and healing time, just like any machine requires. Another bonus is that not so much energy and nutrients are spent on digestion and absorption of nutrients and all that can be redirected to other points of healing required in other parts of your body…like that jaw bone that was losing bone or that ankle that was battling to heal. We need to be more gentle on our bodies, and not expect it to keep processing and clearing out all the junk we put into it so regularly…humans eat too much, in my opinion.