Functional Medicine, Holistic Health, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner all sound like foreign terms, right? Well they’re becoming more common because people, just like you, want answers to their burning health questions. But what exactly are we talking about here? Let’s see if I can unpack this, at least a little bit, for you.
You’re not feeling quite right, and maybe you haven’t for quite some time. It’s really been more of a nuisance, but you just know that something is off and you can’t quite put your finger on it. So you do what 90% of Americans do, you call your doctor. The receptionist answers the phone, asks your symptoms and determines that you’re not a crisis situation. The doctor is going out of town on vacation so she will squeeze you in at noon. You arrive, update your insurance forms for the gazillionth time (is that even a number?), wait in a room full of people coughing, sniffling, sneezing and groaning and you swear that if you get sick before the weekend that someone is going to have to pay for it. Finally, you get called back, they take your weight (surely this a torture tactic brought from ancient time into modern day civilization), put you in a room, take your temp, your vitals and ask again about your symptoms. You wait again, while hearing the screams of children and the voices outside your door and you wonder exactly what is happening and are you next on the list, and finally the doctor arrives. You discuss your symptoms for a 3rd time and then based off the symptoms your doctor may make a diagnosis. If he’s not sure he may do some bloodwork. If all the bloodwork comes back “normal” then there is no answer and you are “normal”, except you’re not normal. You don’t feel normal. You don’t want this to be your normal. And you pay your co-pay as you walk out the door.
When you choose to deal with someone that looks at your health holistically, like those titles I listed above, they are looking at you and treating you as a whole person…not treating body parts or symptoms. When one part of the body is affected then the entire body is affected. Holistic health is based on the theory that parts of any whole can’t exist or be understood except in their relation to whole. These principles have been around since the time of Hippocrates and are the basis of the ancient healing practices of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Don’t get me wrong, in emergency or trauma situations you need those that have the knowledge and experience to deal with that. Broken arms are not treated the same as leaky gut and I’m thankful for the ones that are skilled and schooled to handle trauma situations.
With that little bit of 4-minute knowledge on holistic health, let’s take a look at your health “nuisance” under the partnership with a holistic health practitioner. You contact the practitioner and set up an appointment. It’s possible you could have a pre-consult to see if you are a good fit for each other and how committed you are to working on your health issues. You will more than likely receive forms to complete or have an hour long meeting with your practitioner covering about everything from your food intake, to your supplements, medications, monthly cycle, where you work, how you work, your chemical exposures, to any traumas you’ve faced in your life, even your daily elimination habits. Yes, you may feel like it would be easier to write a short biography, but if a practitioner doesn’t take the time to understand your body, your environment, and your habits then how can they understand you.
There may be tests recommended to determine food sensitives, the state of your gut, your adrenals and maybe even a parasite check…yes Virginia you may very well have parasites, they’re more common than you think. With my clients I do a NES whole body scan to see where there may be stuck energies that are preventing your body from working at optimal levels…but I digress. The holistic health practitioner is going to take in all the information that you’ve provided, and that the tests have provided, and work with you on a plan that is going to take into account your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. You will find yourself with new ways to look at and work on diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction and possibly some sort of supplementation. This is your plan and you are required to do the heavy lifting here. It’s not a pill popping symptom relief type of relationship. Your practitioner will be interested in your symptoms but your symptoms aren’t what’s treated. You are. Your symptoms are simply a sign that there is something deeper that needs to be addressed. This is the beginning of your new health journey, and it is a journey.