Why 2021 is the perfect time to blend your healthcare
This year we’re more conscious of our health than ever, so 2021 is the perfect time to try a blend of traditional and functional healthcare
That sudden dry cough…a bout of chills…could it be Covid? Something else? No doubt, over the past year, you’ve been more attentive to your health than ever before. Perhaps this attention has taken the form of health anxiety or furious online research about symptoms of illness, cures and when to see a doctor.
We’d like to present an alternative approach to your healthcare - something altogether more proactive and holistic. It’s called functional medicine and it will completely revolutionise your attitude and approach to looking after your health.
Here are a few reasons why 2021 is the perfect time to try a more functional approach to your healthcare!
A more proactive approach
Wouldn’t it be nice to minimise the risk of getting ill in the first place? What would you need to do to make that possible?
Functional medicine focuses on YOU, rather than on illness. It involves working closely with a healthcare professional to understand your unique risk factors for any illnesses to develop. This means you’ll identify how likely you are to get sick, and then take action to try and prevent it from happening. Or, if you’re in the process of treating a pre-existing condition, functional medicine can provide an alternative perspective.
This proactive approach is very empowering. Often, we can feel powerless to prevent or treat illness, when it feels as though the risk is all around us, all the time. With functional medicine, you’ll take back control of your health
Treating existing ailments
Functional medicine seeks to use your body’s own natural healing mechanisms to treat illness. Sometimes this is in addition to prescribed medicines, and other times as an alternative.
It involves working to understand your body in a holistic way, so you can assess any factors that might contribute towards ill health, now and in the future.
Functional medicine is also focused on attaining optimum levels of energy and vitality, rather than simply fighting disease.
Whether you’re treating an existing condition, or preventing future illness, the first step in your functional medicine journey is to look back.
Your healthcare provider will ask you some questions about your family history and any past medical issues you’ve had. They’ll also ask you a bit about your background; including any challenges you’ve experienced related to your mental, emotional or physical wellbeing.
With this information, they can begin to build a picture of any risks from your past that might contribute to illness. The next step is to assess your current healthcare status. Your healthcare advisor will ask questions about your lifestyle, habits, activities and diet, as these are important factors that can contribute to, or prevent, illness.
This is also a great time to discuss any other health issues or symptoms you’re experiencing, even if they seem completely unrelated. The more information you can provide, the better!
The big picture
Functional medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare. It refers to the interconnectedness of your body, mind and emotions, as well as your past experiences.
For example, perhaps you’ve been suffering with fatigue and headaches for some time. You’ve visited your GP many times and they’ve provided over the counter painkillers to treat the symptoms, but are unable to identify the source of your pain.
A functional medicine practitioner will begin by assessing your history and your current lifestyle. Then, they’ll ask you some additional questions about other symptoms you may have. For example, they may ask about your sleep patterns, your diet and vitamin intake and your current levels of stress and emotional wellbeing.
They may check if you have skin conditions or digestive issues. If you identify as female, they’ll discuss your menstrual cycle and check if you tend to have flare ups at certain times of the month, to rule out any hormonal imbalances. Similarly, you’ll chat about your energy levels and whether certain factors tend to influence when you feel your best.
Once you understand the complete picture, you can then work with your healthcare partner to use the body’s natural healing mechanisms to treat any existing illness.
Functional medicine seeks to attain balance back into your body.
Often, you’ll experience symptoms of a condition that actually has its roots far deeper than you may realise. Food intolerances, emotional stressors, poor sleep and even bad gut health can all contribute to illness. But these are factors that aren’t always considered when you visit your GP.
One of the reasons for this is that your GP simply may not have time to review your entire healthcare picture. With the pandemic forcing many GP surgeries to limit appointments, doctors are more stretched than ever. So if you do get an appointment, it’ll usually be quick and to the point.
Functional medicine is a more long-term approach and works best when you’re able to build an ongoing dialogue with your healthcare professional.
The Vala team works closely with many patients who want a more holistic approach to their healthcare, especially in light of the pandemic. It’s so important to stay healthy and take action on any health risks before they turn into bigger issues.
Whether you’re keen to take action on current symptoms or simply improve your overall health, 2021 is the perfect time to give functional medicine a try!
Ready to begin?
We’d love to support you on your journey towards a happier, healthier self.