Functional Medicine is discovering the root cause of the symptoms. It is complimentary to allopathic medicine. Diagnosing a set of symptoms does not imply that one knows WHAT is causing the symptoms or HOW to reverse them. Functional medicine considers that not two people are the same. The elements that are contributing to one person’s symptoms, may be completely different even though the symptoms are mimicked. Stress, toxins, processed & fast foods, leaky gut, food sensitivities, insulin resistance, thyroid issues and xeno-endocrine disruption can all play a part in chronic disorders and diseases. By the time we see symptoms of dis-ease, the process has started long before, sometimes years even. It is important as a functional medicine practitioner that we spend time getting to know the individual, their lifestyle, habits, schedules, diet, stress, genetics and much more. Each piece of the puzzle can give clues to the whole picture.
There are 5 foundational pillars of functional medicine and health- Nutrition, Stress, Exercise, Joy and Sleep. These work synergistically together and play a vital role in your wellness and can help prevent disease throughout aging. Taking supplements and medicine can only go so far without a healthy lifestyle.
Foundational Pillars of Health- What are they and how to achieve them?
- Nutrition: I cannot say enough about being intentional with what we put into our bodies on a daily basis. We are either healing or causing disease. We have all heard about avoiding processed foods, sugars, sweetened beverages, gluten, etc. Although it isn’t always easy, it is something we should strive for. Nutrition is important because it gives us the nutrients and cofactors for all the metabolic reactions in our body. If we are eating processed, junk and fast food, our body and mental health will ultimately suffer. Nutrition also affects our gut. More and more information is coming out about microbiome, the bacteria that live within our gut. The good bacteria do amazing things for us and good nutrition helps keep the bacteria in balance. Approximately 70% of our immune system in in our gut. Healthy digestion and gut means a stronger immune system. If you have GI issues, we can discuss how functional medicine can help you feel well again.
- Stress Management: Being in a constant state of stress keeps our bodies in a flight or fright state. This causes a consistent rise in cortisol (stress hormone) which can skew our other hormone pathways. With stress, our sleep and ability to detox suffers greatly. Stress management is key to keeping our nervous system on a parasympathetic path and decreasing cortisol. Try to prioritize stress management by engaging in one stress relieving activity at least twice daily. A few ideas: meditation, yoga, left nostril breathing, box breathing, mindfulness and visualization. Supporting your body with stress management can allow our body to move into the rest and digest nervous system response we need for healing and balance to occur.
- Exercise: This is mandatory for our bodies, the benefits are endless. At least 150 minutes weekly of vigorous exercise. Start gentle and slow and move forward gradually to more vigorous exercises. You can start by walking the dog a couple times a day for 20 minute intervals, elliptical or treadmill. Even if you have any type of fatigue, exercise is a must.
- Joy: Doing at least one activity every day (even for just 2 minutes if that is all you can do) that sparks joy in your life can be extremely beneficial. This is different for everyone. Sometimes this may look like self care and taking care of yourself. Sometimes it make look like connecting with those you love. Maybe it’s worshipping. Some people love to cook and bake and say it’s therapeutic. Whatever you love and enjoy, do it often.
- Sleep: Sleep is so important for our bodies to recover from the stress of the day. Try to get 7-9 hours of solid sleep nightly to allow the mind and body to regenerate and clean house. Practice sleep hygiene: screens off at least 1 hour before bedtime, lower lights before bedtime as well, do a calming activity- meditation, reading, praying. Make sure your room is dark and quiet. Charge any electronic devices out of the room where you sleep to avoid any EMF interference.
Making one small obtainable goal every 1 to 2 weeks can help set you up for success and better health.
Revelation Wellness is looking forward to partnering with you on your health journey.