Functional Wellness: What It Is & How It Can Benefit You

Functional wellness focuses on the body as a whole. Like nature itself, our bodies are

interconnected systems; problems in one area can have profound effects on other, seemingly unrelated areas. Functional wellness also focuses on finding the underlying causes of negative symptoms and solving them. This is opposed to a common approach of conventional medicine which seeks to merely cover up and manage these symptoms with narcotics.

Functional wellness puts the entire body and the organs that comprise it into the scope of its

practice. Those who practice functional medicine know that dysfunction precedes disease. Thus they use various methods to pinpoint exactly what the dysfunction is in the first place, and determine the best means of repairing it.

What Works for You?

Functional medicine is about finding the best treatment for each individual. Our bodies are all unique in their own way; a disease can arise due to very different causes depending on the individual, and not every individual is going to respond the same to any given form of treatment.

Functional wellness is a highly personalized form of treatment, using natural supplement

protocols, dietary changes, and lifestyle changes.

Characteristics of Functional Medicine

  • Holistic: Functional medicine looks at the body as a holistic, interconnected system.
  • Investigative: Functional medicine looks for the underlying cause, rather than just

covering up the symptoms.

  • Restorative: The focus of functional medicine is the restoration of the body as a whole

by reversing forms of dysfunction.

  • Individualistic: Functional medicine takes each individual’s genetic and environmental

circumstances into account.

  • Preventative: Functional medicine aims to restore and maintain balance to the body in

order to prevent problems from arising again in the future.

What Does “Health” Mean in a Functional WellnessContext?

Health in functional wellness means to be functioning at 100% on a cellular level. It also means being in a state of homeostasis – a state of equilibrium where various bodily functions are balanced and working in harmony with one another.

The goal of functional wellness is:

  • Overcoming disease
  • Hormonal balance
  • The appropriate diet (this is highly dependent on the individual)
  • Improved energy levels – work and play should be active and unburdensome, and rest should be rejuvenating
  • Optimal liver function for ongoing detoxification of the body
  • Optimal digestive function – functional wellness seeks to eliminate gas, bloating, heartburn, stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, GERD, Crohn’s, etc.
  • Optimal immune system function – the body should rarely get sick, and when it does, it should overcome the sickness relatively quickly
  • Elimination of joint pain and inflammation
  • Elimination of headaches (often caused by inflammation)
  • The improvement of one’s general mood (with a specific focus on depression and anxiety issues)
  • Optimal sexual function (fertility plays a big role in functional wellness)

Unfortunately, most of us would be classified as unhealthy according to the goals of functional wellness. Too many people live with a variety of symptoms that get in the way of day-to-day life, or make it altogether impossible, while conventional medicine tends to look at these issues with a degree of flippancy.

There are many reasons for the epidemic of unhealthiness plaguing our modern world. We live in an environment saturated with chemicals, toxins, radiation, and pesticides. There’s also the preservatives in our food to take into consideration, as well as the stress of modern living that leads to insomnia, tension, and the urge to turn to unhealthy substances like nicotine and alcohol to cope.

Functional Medicine’s Approach To Autoimmune Diseases

Roughly 25% of women suffer from an autoimmune disorder of some kind; for men, it’s close to 10%. Once someone has an autoimmune disease, the odds of developing another one are about 25%. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks your own body by mistake.

Normally, the immune system fights off foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria. However, sometimes the immune system fails to recognize the difference between the enemy and the body itself. As a result, it releases antibodies that attack healthy cells in your body. Some autoimmune diseases affect only one organ, such as type 1 diabetes that targets the pancreas. Other diseases like lupus affect the entire body.

Through nutrigenomic (genetic) testing, functional herbal and nutritional protocols, infection

testing, sex hormone testing, and food sensitivity panels, practitioners of functional wellness can find the cause and daily triggers of your autoimmune disorder. From there, a specialized treatment plan can be set in place. Factors such as genetics, environment, lifestyle, and diet are all taken into account.

These treatment plans are specific to each individual – not all of us benefit similarly from the

same treatment.

When Our Body Speaks To Us, We Need To Listen

Our bodies are usually “silent” until disease takes hold somewhere. It’s a good thing not to

notice your liver or thyroid – when you do, it’s a sign that something is wrong. Physical symptoms are your body’s way of alerting you to a dysfunction of some kind. Is it wise

to simply try to anesthetize these symptoms with painkillers?

Stomach aches aren’t caused by a lack of pepto bismol. You need to find the underlying cause of your symptoms before you can determine how best to heal yourself. Functional medicine uses lab testing to find these underlying problems. Whether it’s testing for infections or hormone imbalances, the right lab work can yield the appropriate diagnosis, and from there, the most effective treatment plan can be created.