Understanding Functional Medicine

A primary focus of Allopathy (Traditional) medicine is to diagnose and “label” diseases. There are over 12,000 diseases and they are categorized according to a person’s test results and symptoms. They focus on the “what.” Functional Medicine looks at the “why.” Why did this happen in the first place? Some typical causes of Dis-Ease are toxins, allergens, infections, malnutrition and stress. 

Functional Medicine doesn’t treat just one symptom. It’s approach addresses everything, because everything about us is connected. Just like the mind, body and spirit of a person. All the things that we see as separate diseases are all connected by the same underlying mechanisms. We need to look for these patterns in our own personal data. Surveys show 81% of Americans take at least one medication a day. Meds are not the only solution. For example, before starting on a long-term regimen of antidepressants, consider the following. Depression is a diagnosis or “label.” What is the root cause of your depression? Could it be a combination of complex causes? Here are some examples of root causes behind common ailments that we often opt to medicate, without deeper consideration: 

Do you have a sensitivity to Gluten which can fuel Autoimmune Disease and lead to Thyroid dysfunction? Explore the many Gluten-free food choices now available at your local grocery store. 

Are you taking an acid blocker for acid reflux? Acid Blockers can cause Vitamin B12 from being absorbed, leading to a Vitamin B12 deficiency and low energy. Consider dietary adjustments and stress management. 

Are you getting enough Vitamin D?  Depending on your climate and your diet, you may have a deficiency leading to low moods and muscle weakness. Supplements, proper diet and 15 minutes a day in the Sun can “keep the doctor away.” 

Do you frequently take Antibiotics? Long term use of Antibiotics can lead to inflammation in the gut which can lead to Systemic Inflammation in the brain and mind-fog. Proper hygiene, hydration, diet and regular exercise can boost your immune system and help you avoid illness, reducing the need for antibiotics. 

Do you love to eat Sushi? Mercury poisoning may become a factor in your health. Get checked for metal toxicity. There are treatments called Chelation Therapy to remedy this, before this issue fuels various medical conditions. 

Do you love sweets and consume lots of refined sugar? Insulin Resistance can lead to anxiety and depression. Organic Xylitol made from Birch trees as a substitute, not over-eating, and mini-meals throughout the day can help balance your blood sugar levels (and your energy level and mood). 

What painful memories from your past remain unresolved? These can impact judgment, stress management, and contribute to various medical conditions. Consider talk therapy or spiritual guidance to address the root cause, before physical manifestations slow you down and make you ill. 

What is your present state-of-mind right now? What stresses you? Have you looked at ways of addressing these, to come up with a plan of action and make positive changes in your life, BEFORE illness takes hold and meds are required? 

Do you play? Do you participate in positive activities that are good for your spirit and allow you to be creative and release stress. Dancing, drumming, walking are examples of things that produce “feel good” chemical reactions in the brain that are natural antidepressants and increase mental and physical energy. 

Do you surround yourself with positive people who are loving, accepting and compassionate? Energy can heal or it may “hurt”. Be mindful of your emotional environment. Avoid energy “vampires” and think positive thoughts to avoid negative repercussions. 

Do you have a pet? There have been studies that show people who own pets have happier and healthier lives. Re-focusing the attention on a pet or loved one, can help you regain perspective on yourself and the world around you. 

Do you spend outdoors breathing in fresh air and connecting with nature? Do you live where there is pollution? Connecting regularly to the Earth can be both rejuvenating and healing, on a mind, body and spirit level. 

Before you take medications and settle for being labeled with a disease, step back and look at the “why” did this happen and consider the Functional Medicine mindset. As a Health and Wellness Coach, I fully support and follow the Functional Medicine approach that everything about the person must be looked at and the “whole person” must be treated for true, long-term healing to occur.

About Kim Ruggierio, CWC

Hello. My name is Kim Ruggierio and I am owner of Wellness Begins Here, LLC. I am a Certified Wellness Coach, Fitness Trainer, and Certified Reiki Master. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology & Wellness, and I am affiliated with The American College of Sports Medicine. I've had the pleasure of coaching competitive athletes and weight loss/fitness clients for more than 20 years. I have provided health and wellness information, guidance, and motivation to men, women and children, the elderly, and medically involved clients of all ages and gender. I hold a current CPR Certification and I'm insured to work with clients throughout the United States and abroad.
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