Why it could be time to turn to Functional Medicine
Firstly, let me be clear that I really admire anyone that devotes their lives to caring for the sick. The nurses, Health Care Assistants et al working in our health system are admirable people for committing their careers to, effectively, US.
The problem with our health care system as it stands
I do have a personal issue with our “health care” system – based on my own experiences and those around me.
When I had “asthma” as a kid, I was never asked about my diet, whether I exercised, what kind of environment I lived in. When I had “exhaustion” before graduating university, no one asked me what I ate on a day to day basis.
It took over 20 years for a doctor in our NHS to sit up and pay attention to my health concerns. And when I had “women’s health” issues I was told to come back to the consultant “when you want to have children”. Helpful. No one looked at my lifestyle or for any possible imbalances that could be causing these issues. What they looked for was an immediate, top level method of controlling my symptoms – looking at effect minus cause.
I’ve watched friends, co-workers and family members lose control of their lives when diagnosed with long term conditions – merely given a label, a prescription and told this is their life from now on. We can surely as a nation do better than this.
Could there be another way?
I’m not convinced it must be this way. Are you?
When I went gluten free it changed my life completely. Later, upon becoming a vegetarian, the improvements continued. That’s not to say I think going gluten free or vegetarian (or both) or only answer for everyone; one size does not fit all. But being on this journey and having completed my Nutritional studies, I can see what an essential role nutrition and lifestyle choices have on our quality of life. Everything we consume, touch and breathe has a profound impact on our health – it affects our chemical makeup and how our cells behave.
In my experience and from what I’ve read and seen since going down this road, our medical system isn’t structured to empower people or help them to stay well. I call it a “sick care” system – resources seem to only be directed at alleviating symptoms rather than prevention. I also don’t believe there is enough knowledge and training about nutrition (I’ve had to explain what being a Coeliac is to many doctors, sometimes the same doctor repeatedly) and generally doctors don’t take a holistic approach.
Then I read about Functional Medicine Practitioners.
“Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.”*
Now this is an approach that I can get behind. A holistic view of cause and treatment. On booking an appointment with a practitioner in my area, I was asked lots of detailed questions about my medical history, my current symptoms (irrespective of whether I might see a connection), how I live my life, my environment, what I eat on a day to day basis and much more. This might seem like a lot of questions and may even make some people nervous about the level of honesty required. I understand that.
But if we’re really going to take control of our health and be in tune with our bodies, I think we do need to have an open, honest and objective view of how we’re treating our bodies: after all, it’s the only place we really have to live.
I’d love to hear what brought you to this post and what your thoughts are on this approach.
*Source: Functional Medicine Org