In a functional medicine consultation I aim to diagnose what is going on and create a treatment plan, just like in conventional medicine, but with a difference!
I look at the root cause behind what is going on. I do this by looking back at everything that led up to this point in time, and organising that information on a timeline. I also work by identifying what is going on in the various physiological systems of the body such as the immune system, the detoxification system, the energy production systems and so on. There are in fact 7 of these systems, and we look at every one of these, every time.
This is very different to ‘What diagnostic label can we give this situation?’
Sometimes I do specialist laboratory tests to add to that information.
Once I can understand the root cause and how this is affecting the systems of the body, I can start to support and optimise those systems, so the body can heal and we can become well again.
The body has a huge capacity to heal. Every single system in our body has a 4 or more fold reserve in function. By the time you are experiencing symptoms, these reserves are quite depleted and things have probably been going astray for some time. The good news is that not only can we repair our systems but we can rebuild our reserves. In fact this is essential to building health resiliency for the future. This is what will give us our health span, as well as our lifespan.
And in Functional Medicine we look for natural ways to treat and heal the body whenever possible, but as a trained doctor I can also use conventional medication, depending on what is best in a given situation.
So who is Functional Medicine for?
People come to see a Functional Medicine doctor for all sorts of reasons. Let me take you through a few scenarios.
Manage your health in a more natural way:
You may have a medical diagnosis and been told you need to take tablets, possibly for the rest of your life. For example type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hypothyroidism, or depression. You are someone who wants to sort it out naturally, and even avoid medication if at all possible.
Or maybe you are going through the menopause and struggling with the many changes this can bring, and you are wondering how you can best look after yourself, without necessarily reaching for HRT.
You have exhausted what conventional medicine can bring, and you are looking for a fresh approach:
Perhaps this sound familiar? You have been struggling with symptoms for a long time such as fatigue, or aches and pains, or bowel symptoms that are the bane of your life. You’ve had all the tests, and been told there is ‘nothing wrong’ but still feel really bad. The symptoms haven’t gone away. Deep down you know something isn’t right. You feel foolish going to the doctors to say this because it sounds like you are questioning their expertise, and you don’t want to do that. You want to have a good relationship with your doctor. But inside you feel like no one believes you and it seems like your only option is to put up with things as they are. You tell yourself you just have to learn to cope with it. And it feels miserable. Maybe you have even got to the point of feeling like nothing can be done.
You are not going mad if this feels like you, you may just need a different approach to what conventional medicine offers you.
Or maybe you are a medical conundrum? And conventional medicine has not been able to come up with an answer.
Or you maybe have a number of seemingly unrelated diagnoses and you are wondering if they are somehow connected. For example, you might have asthma, eczema and chronic sinusitis. You take different medications for each condition, and perhaps even see different specialists. In FM we would recognise that the immune/ inflammatory system is messed up in each of these conditions and correcting that system could quite possibly resolve all 3 diagnoses.
Conventional medicine sometimes provides labels that are descriptive rather than truly diagnostic eg chronic fatigue syndrome. This simply describes what you are experiencing, in this case tiredness most of the time. But it doesn’t offer much as to why you have it, or even how you can start to turn it around. In Functional Medicine we look at the systems, and
future proof your health:
You may have seen a grandparent suffer with dementia, and decided that you want to protect your own health as much as possible. What are your risks? What is the best thing for you to do? How can you help yourself?
Or a close family member has been diagnosed with cancer and you are wondering how you can minimise your own risks?
Or you may have come through an illness of your own, but want to get your body as fit and hleathy as possible, with all the systems working in harmony.
Functional medicine is the medicine of the future. It is what is called 4P medicine:
Personalised, Participative, Preventative and Predictive
It is truly medicine with soul!
THE FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE SESSION
The first medical consultation is always done face to face, here at the clinic in Suffolk, UK.
Before I meet you will already have filled in some medical questionnaires, which help me to understand as much about you as possible, before we meet.
This session includes:
- Preparation of your intake medical questionaires
- An in-depth 90 minute medical consultation
- Interpretation of your key health issues from a functional medicine perspective
- An outline plan as to how functional medicine can help you to address your health concerns
- Recommendations for follow-up tests needed at that stage.
This first assessment session looks at your health in a lot of detail. Functional medicine is a holistic in its approach, and for many people this session can bring up a lot of ‘aha’ moments, as they start to gain new insights into their health. It can also be quite an emotional session, as for the first time you start to gain an understanding of how your health got stuck in this place.
The aim is to by the end build up a clear picture of your health journey so far, gain an understanding of how the systems of your health have come out of balance, and plan an outline roadmap to help you recover your health, energy and well-being.
If you are interested in this, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange a free 15 minute phone call to explain things in a bit more detail, and get you booked in!
What happens after the initial assessment?
Once we have discussed your individual situation and created an outline treatment plan, we then begin our work together, to help you put all of the important steps into place, to help recover your health.
We would typically work together once a month, for 60 minutes. This is where we plan the steps, teach you what to do, help you overcome the obstacles, and do the transformational work of creating a new relationship with your health.
In between these sessions you will be working hard on all the pieces we have talked about during our session.
These are some of the typical things you might be working on:
- Practising a ‘food as medicine’ approach – functional medicine uses lots of therapeutic food approaches, and you will learn a lot of the power of food to either support your health and vitality or deplete it.
- How to optimise your sleep.
- Learn how to activate your ‘heal and repair’ systems.
- Taking any supplements, medication or nutraceauticals that you need.
- Carrying out any necessary tests
- Doing the coaching exercises that you have been asked to do. Some of these are practical exercises, some of this is written work.
- Tracking your work, and being an active partner in your amazing health creation journey.
So you can see that Fucntional Medicine is a highly active process, where you play a huge role in powerfully creating your own health and well-being.
You will be well-supported, learn a lot, and become an expert in your own health creation!
From experience, the people who really get the results from this health journey, are those people who commit to the work and to the process. This work is definitely not for everyone! But if you commit, get stuck in, and do the work, you can see some incredible shifts in your health and well-being.
You will get my 100% support, encouragement, knowledge and guidance.
Monthly payment plans are available. You can cancel this plan at any time, and you are not tied in for any length of time. But I ask you for this commitment for 2 reasons:
1) So that I can help you keep moving forward and stop you from getting stuck. Because this is how you will get the results you truly want.
2) There is only one of me! The number of places I can offer in my clinic is limited and I only want to work with those people who really want to do this work! I want to support in your journey to turn your health around. I want for you to be the very best version of yourself. That is my passion! That is what I wish for you. But I can only do that id we are both fully committed to the process.
So how long do we work together for?
Thats a tricky question to answer, because it depends so much on what your particular health issues are, how they have been going on and on how sick they have made you.
Realistically uou need to be thinking in the 3-6 month ballpark. I have had clients who have made a miraculous recovery within 3 months, and then we were done! I have other clients with whom we have had to work incredibly gently because their system simply couldnt cope with any big interventions. And everything in between!
So I hope that now you feel as excited as I am about Functional Medicine as a powerful, dynamic, holistic and transformative way to work with you health issues.
Still not sure?
Its quite normal to have questions! Ask away, but here are some of the things people often ask me.
Its a lot of money!
Ok, so let me ask you this: how much money did you spend on your last holiday? On your car? Or if you added up all the money you’ve spent on books, equipment, courses and you’re still struggling…
We all resist spending money that is ‘just for me’. Because we are ace at telling ourselves ‘ I don’t deserve this’. We happily give stuff to other people: our time, money, energy, attention. You name it, we give it away without so much as a second glance. But when we think about spending that kind of money on ourselves we run for the hills!
And think about this: what is it costing you to stay stuck in this place? What is it costing you because you don’t have the energy to go for that promotion, or go self-employed and live your dream life? What is it costing you in clothes every time you diet and then put all the weight back on again. Oh, and what about those gym memberships…Yes, Ive been there!!
Don’t worry. Its quite normal to feel all of these things. I know I did. But I do know that having invested in my health, it has opened up my life again.
I don’t have time
Someone once told me this:“If you don’t make time for your health now, you will have to make time for being ill later”. That sounded so depressing, but it holds a truth. And it echoes with what we just said: we are so good at giving our time away, and feel guilty when we say no to others and spend that time on ourselves for a while.
“No, Margriet, you don’t understand, I really don’t have time”
Got it. So my question to you is this: If you don’t do it now, then when are you going to sort things out? Because your body is really letting you know it needs something else.
What if I can’t do it?
My clients usually admit to this a few sessions into the programme!! “I was so worried that I couldn’t do it, that it would be too hard”. But then they tell me how proud they are of what they have already achieved and how excited they are about what is ahead. They felt exactly like you do now.
The thing in coaching is, its all about YOU. We start where you are, and we go at your pace. Its not about you obediently following a preset programme, it is about what YOU need, and we go from there.
What if I fail?
Life doesn’t come with guarantees, and neither does a health creation programme. But what I do know is that with support, with guidance, with your own personal cheerleader with you every step of the way, you are WAY MORE likely to SUCCEED, than if you go it alone. But it does take work and commitment on your part, and if I don’t feel you are ready to start working together, I will be very honest and tell you so. Because I want my clients to succeed. I want YOU to shine brightly.