Imagine an Olympic gold medalist, the president of the United States, and the winner of the Kentucky Derby, what do they all have in common? A team of experts who helped them achieve success. When you embark on your journey to better health, you also need a team of experts.
One of those experts should be a health coach – but not just any health coach. You want a health coach who has a strong background in the health sciences but has also completed extensive training in the field of holistic and functional medicine.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine practitioners provide patient-centric care. They are focused on viewing the patient as a whole and identifying the underlying causes of disease. We like to call this determining the root cause of an illness.
Practitioners of functional medicine provide total care for the patient. That means taking the individual’s physical, emotional, mental, societal, and environmental factors into consideration.
While you can hire any health coach, one who practices functional medicine will focus their care on you as an individual. They recognize that you are the one who has the greatest ability to impact your health, prioritizing self-empowerment and education for you as their patient.
Functional Medicine Versus Conventional Medicine
The biggest difference between functional medicine and the conventional model is the treatment of symptoms versus the root cause. Conventional medicine is reactionary while functional medicine is proactive. Conventional medicine is an effective model for emergency medicine but is also more of a one-size-fits-all approach.
Why Your Health Coach Should Practice Functional Medicine
So, why does it matter if your health coach or health advocate has a background in functional medicine versus conventional? You’ve tried dieting and exercise and you’ve met with your primary care doctor, but to no avail.
The truth is, you may be suffering from an imbalance in the body that commonly gets overlooked in conventional medicine like an overgrowth of Candida albicans or adrenal fatigue.
Here are four reasons a health coach who practices functional medicine could be the solution to your problems.
1. Treating the Person Versus the Symptom
Functional medicine health coaches don’t just deal with the symptoms. Yes, they will help you get your symptoms under control. But, they won’t stop there, they will also look for the cause of those symptoms.
The background experience of a functional health coach will allow them to look at your situation and know what needs to be done for your body through diet, exercise, stress management, proper sleep, and supplementation.
2. Functional Lab Testing
Health coaches who are also functional medicine practitioners have a tool that most other health coaches don’t. That tool is functional lab testing. It allows them to pinpoint the imbalances in your body versus just guessing according to your symptoms.
Most health coaches don’t have access to these types of lab tests or the training needed to interpret the results.
Lab testing is critical to helping you identify what it is that’s keeping you from achieving your health success.
3. They Provide an Integrated Approach
Functional medicine practitioners don’t deny the benefits that a conventional model provides. In fact, they embrace it and recognize the benefits of modern-day medicine yet understand that preventative, collaborative medicine is a better model for health outcomes and achieving long-term sustainable change.
A health coach who is trained in functional medicine will usually have a medical degree or degree in the health sciences (nursing, dietetics or nutrition, pharmacy, physical or occupational therapy, or chiropractic medicine) as well as training from the Institute for Functional Medicine or the School of Applied Functional Medicine.
They will be able to recognize when medication like hormone replacement therapy is necessary or when diet can be used for healing instead.
That’s the beauty of an integrated approach that involves both functional medicine and the conventional model of healthcare.
4. Expert Nutritionists and Teachers
A functional health coach is also a teacher. An effective coach understands that collaboration is key and that a partnership with the individual is the secret to success. A coach can help you to determine which foods will heal your body, what nutrients you may need to replenish, an exercise plan that fits your unique needs, and the best stress management techniques to fit your lifestyle.
The goal of a health coach who also practices functional medicine is not just to heal you. It is to equip and empower you with the tools that are necessary to heal yourself.
When designing your health care team for achieving optimal health care outcomes, you should consider a health coach that is rooted and trained in functional medicine.
Mandy Patterson empowers high performing women to find optimal health. As an occupational therapist, certified holistic health coach, functional medicine practitioner, Doctor of Naturopathy, yoga instructor and mom of six, she shows women that they can have lasting, vibrant health. Mandy offers personalized one-on-one coaching and group program options in person and online to equip women with the tools to be the healthiest version of themselves. For more information visit www.mandypatterson.com.