When you compare functional medicine and conventional medicine, one of the most notable differences is that functional medicine requires the patient to be an active, working participant in their care. More often than not, a patient’s willingness to put in the work and take ownership of their daily choices will be the key to their success (or failure).
As a functional medicine provider, there is only so much control we have over your story and your results–the rest is truly in your hands! Often we see patients who will take supplements as recommended but refuse to change their sleep habits. Or you’ll see patients spend hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars on appointments and IV’s but continue eating fast food 3 days a week or never address the toxic relationships in their life.
Please hear me when I tell you–ALL OF IT MATTERS.
The following Foundations of Healing address several areas which you, the patient need to INTENTIONALLY address to achieve complete healing.
If you feel like you’ve done it all and you’re still not where you’d like to be, reassess each and every area to figure out what is missing. Remember: you cannot out-supplement a bad lifestyle. Welcome to our Foundations of Healing!
Foundations of Healing #1: Diet
Hopefully it’s no surprise that diet is our very first foundation. The food you choose to put in your body, day after day, can be the thing that heals or hurts you. It can provide you with the nutrients required for every single process in the body. Or it can damage your gut, brain, and cells to the point of chronic illness and pain. 37 Septillion reactions (that’s 24 0’s!) are happening in our bodies every second! Each cell performs 1 billion cells each second. Insane, right?!
It is no wonder that Hippocrates’ advice of ‘let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food’ has stood the test of time. It all boils down to what you decide which you’d like to feed– your body or your disease.
Foods containing sugars, inflammatory oils, chemical sweeteners, food dyes, highly processed grains, heavy metals, and hormones set you up for further inflammation and mitochondrial damage. By removing these food groups, we can potentially remove triggers for almost any disease process.
Depending on the patient, removing food sensitivities can also be an important step in calming systemic inflammation and optimizing health. For this, each patient can be very different and progress can be subtle. Removing a food you’re sensitive to for just a couple days is NOT long enough to see any significant changes.
Remember though, diet is not just about what you exclude, but what you include. Aim to include cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, variety of fruits, anti-inflammatory nuts and seeds, sufficient protein, mineral and electrolyte replacement, healthy fats, and fermented foods. While we love a good supplement, remember that they can NOT take the place of, or make up for a poor diet. By consuming the foods God gave us, not the junk in packages, you likely wouldn’t need many supplements in the first place.
So…are your current food choices helping or hurting you?
Foundations of Healing #2: Toxin Exposures
Today, specifically in America, we are exposed to more toxins than at any other point in history. Doesn’t that align nicely with the fact that we keep getting sicker and sicker as a nation DESPITE so many advances in technology and constantly spending more money than any other nation on research?
It’s incredibly frustrating, and remarkable that anyone thinks we’d be able to maintain good health when we’re constantly surrounded by EMF’s, heavy metals, endocrine disruptors, pesticides, plastics, and so much more. We’re even to the point where we’re finding these things in fetal cord blood. Nothing is untouched by man-made toxins anymore.
Although we can’t expect anyone to completely eradicate toxin exposure, we can set goals to minimize exposures and make realistic changes. One easy way to start is with your personal care products–when you run out of something, switch it out with a cleaner, non-toxic option. Toxins are hidden in everything from toothpaste to shampoo to body lotions and makeup.
You can also switch out your food for organic options. (Think it’s too expensive? Add up the costs of one night in the ICU from chronic disease or cancer, thanks to the glypostae and chemicals in non-organic foods.)
Turn off your internet at night, and don’t sleep with your cell phone next to your head! Household cleaners should be switched for natural products, and plastics should be avoided–especially when it comes to food. In general, if you’re using a product and you can’t pronounce it, it might be best to avoid it.
Optimizing your detoxification pathways is also essential to minimize the impact of the toxins you do come into contact with. Think of yourself as a toxin bucket–unless you’re working to empty that bucket, it will eventually spill over. Sauna sessions, dry brushing, lymphatic therapy, hydration with electrolytes, sweating, daily bowel movements, coffee enemas, and supplements guided by a practitioner can all help to support efficient elimination of toxins.
Minimizing toxin load is going to be a never-ending effort in today’s world, and we don’t expect you to be perfect. But putting forth the effort to minimize exposure, can be the difference between a chronic illness and living a vibrant life.
Foundations of Healing #3: Biologic Dentistry
Let’s start by making it clear that we are not dentists and will never claim to be. However, we are practitioners very focused on addressing the entire picture, not just one area or body system. Therefore, we MUST include the mouth when thinking about health.
Could you potentially see true healing and never see a biologic dentist? Maybe. But your odds are going to be a heck of a lot better if you address the mess in your mouth.
Now, before you say that you don’t have any issues with your mouth– a history of mouth breathing, cavities, root canals, teeth pulled, crowns or caps, bleeding and recessed gums, or implants–any of these could be the cause of your systemic issues. Some experts estimate that 9/10 people have a mouth that is essentially a hodgepodge of heavy metals, bacteria, and biofilms hiding all sorts of toxins.
A few concerning issues when it comes to common dentistry practices:
- Amalgams contain over 50% elemental mercury–we’ve outlawed it in thermometers because of known harmful effects but still fill our mouths with it!
- Mercury has been linked to depression, memory loss, thyroid toxicity, chronic inflammation, and learning disorders.
- If your mouth contains more than one type of metal, when touching, it literally creates an electro-current that you’re exposed to all day, every day.
- Many of the metals used in dentistry bind to estrogen receptors, thus increasing risk of breast cancer.
- Every root canal, no matter how careful the dentist is, leaves a breeding ground for bacteria–third party testing has identified 42 different species of bacteria in root canal samples, many associated with autoimmune, neurologic and cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Root canals are ALWAYS infected, regardless of symptoms!
- Half of dental implants develop some sort of infection. And let’s not forget about the titanium used. Thanks to EMF, titanium increases an average of 4-5 degrees over time, melting the bone.
- Over 400 studies have found fluoride to be neurotoxic.
Even if you feel like your mouth is a non-issue, it’s worth getting checked out by a biologic dentist. You could be doing everything right and still not feeling great, while the answer has been sitting right in your mouth all along!
Foundations of Healing #4: Addressing Emotional Wounds
Arguably one of the most underrated foundations when it comes to healing, emotional wellness often presents physically. Experts will verify the multitude of chronic disease states that emotional traumas and unaddressed wounds can present as. So many people, especially men, have a hard time being vulnerable enough to see emotions as important enough to deserve attention, but science tells us otherwise.
We know that when we are able to process emotions and arrive in a true state of peace:
- Our levels of endorphins (feel good hormones) increase
- Inflammation goes down
- Insulin levels stabilize
- Detoxification pathways become more efficient
- Memory and cognition improves
- Natural killer cells increase in number (an important part of the immune response)
- Risk for disease goes down, and life expectancy goes up
- Genetic expression can change!
Addressing emotional traumas and wounds can include current situations, like a toxic work environment or friendship, or events that occurred 40 years ago that have never truly been processed. Working with a mental health provider or pastor can be beneficial for EVERYONE–no one is immune to the traumas of this world.
There are so many different modalities and techniques to addressing thinking patterns, relationships, and traumas. The most important one is the one that you’ll actually stick with! Find a modality and provider that you trust and resonate with, and commit to changing the patterns that aren’t healthy. They have more of an impact than you probably think!
Our Lymphatic Enhancement Therapy is one of our favorite ways to address trauma. We store all of these repressed emotions in our lymphatic system. It is not uncommon for our Lymph patients to have a flood of emotions during treatment.
And if there is a toxic relationship in your life that is a constant source of issues–tell them “see you in a year!” Value yourself enough to set that boundary, so you can truly heal.
Foundations of Healing #5: Therapeutic Plans and Supplementation
Although we fully believe in the power of a clean, nutrient-dense diet we also know that the quality of today’s food is far from what it should be. Even our highest quality organic produce and protein sources aren’t what they used to be. Soils are depleted of nutrients and industrialization of the food industry has left our food supply with lower nutrient density than that of what even our grandparents ate. Some estimates say that in order to meet your daily nutrient needs just with food alone, you would have to eat 20,000 calories per day! This is where the need for supplementation comes in.
Keep in mind that while some supplements are generally safe to take without provider guidance, the supplements that worked for your sister or your neighbor may not be right for you. Ideally, a provider familiar with your history, current medical conditions, medications, and lab work should be directing your supplement regimen.
Functional medicine is a practice of INDIVIDUALIZED care–meaning your specific needs are taken into account. We are not handing out the same supplements to everyone. If we’ve recommended something, it’s because we truly believe it will benefit you.
Remember though–supplements are only helpful if you actually take them, and take them correctly! It is amazing the number of patients that incorrectly take supplements, or just don’t make it a priority to take them at all.
As your provider, it is impossible for us to know if what we are doing is helpful if you only take your supplements half the time, or if you take them at the wrong time of day. We’re very careful when creating protocols for you, and it’s not just to create extra work. It truly does matter. If you’re going to spend the time and money to seek help from a functional medicine provider, you may as well do things correctly–not halfway, not sometimes, not just when you’re feeling good. Go all in on your healing journey so we can truly see how good you can truly feel!
Foundations of Healing #6: Balancing your Energy
Bear with me, but we’re going to get a little more “out there” with this foundation. As we have covered in the past, you are very much an energetic being–this is a scientific fact. We can even measure both energy and electric activity of your body with instrumentation. The most obvious one is our heart. This is why a person gets an EKG done to assess the electrical conductivity. Therefore, when considering wellness we must remember to keep our energetic systems strong and unobstructed.
We can work on this through a variety of methods–chiropractic care, acupuncture, reflexology, and grounding (earthing) are all great places to start. (If you haven’t read about grounding, refer back to our blog post on that).
Another crucial aspect of balancing your energy is adequate sleep and stress management. This can sometimes be the most difficult piece for patients. You are not a machine made to be running constantly on adrenaline and under the control of your sympathetic nervous system. You will eventually reach exhaustion, and unfortunately this is how MANY people end up as our patients.
Get enough sleep, go to bed at the same time every night (before 10pm), learn to say no, and practice your preferred stress management techniques.
Lastly, intentionally move your body! Yes, you HAVE to do this. Walking, gentle yoga, stretching, or full-blown workouts all count.
A common mistake that people make is telling themselves they don’t have time. Or that they need a fancy piece of equipment. I’m here to stand on my soapbox and tell you: SOME is more than nothing. Do 10 squats every hour while you’re sitting in your office. Walk laps around the field while you’re waiting for your kids to finish practice. Park at the far end of the parking lot or opt for the stairs. Start where you can with what you have–movement begets movement!
Foundations of Healing #7: KNOW you can heal!
Just like you know the sun will set and rise each day, you must KNOW you can heal! Your body was divinely created. God makes no mistakes. You must have true faith. Not just believe. Because you can believe in a lot of things that aren’t real–think a big jolly man that slides down the chimney, or a little fairy that snatches teeth.
You must know God. Have a relationship with Him. Patients that do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, do not do as well. It’s that simple.
We are aware that by seeing us, you are taking the more “unconventional” route to healing. And if you come into your appointments with doubt in the science, or consistently let the conventional providers plant negative seeds in your head about what we do–what do you think happens? Now you don’t KNOW you can heal. You just think you MIGHT be able to. And this is a big difference! And we’re here to tell you, there is a very obvious difference between the patients that fully trust us and those that don’t.
We can share every scientific article supporting what we know and implement for you. But none of that matters if your brain has made up its mind otherwise.