Whole Body-Mind Assessments at Hale Health Medicine
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE – looking for underlying causes
The term ‘functional’ in functional medicine refers to this medicine’s focus on whole body functioning or whole body ‘performance’. Our assessments involve a thorough investigation of the entire body and mind, with a focus on uncovering causes or contributors to health issues or diseases. Many doctors and specialists like Dr Hale have taken the extra training to deepen their knowledge about how to do these assessments and how to provide personalised effective, and safe solutions while minimising the need for medication.
Much of the focus in medicine is on finding a diagnosis, reducing mortality and reducing discomfort. It is about saving lives in emergencies, fast assessments, high stakes and high risks with both surgical and medical interventions. Our societies would be far worse off without it. Arriving at a diagnosis relies on your doctor taking a brief history, sometimes doing an examination and ordering tests such as pathology and/or imaging. However this process in the family practice or emergency department may fail to produce a diagnosis, even though a patient may be very unwell. In addition, sometimes the drug(s) that are normally prescribed for those symptoms don’t work, or aren’t tolerated.
Dr Hale says, “In these situations, our usual medical training leaves us with few skills or tools that can assist the patient. When doctors are trained in functional medicine however, they know how to search for, and make sense of a single or a multitude of contributing or aggravating factors underlying a patients symptoms or disease. If a disease is not yet present, a functional approach also presents the ideal opportunity to take steps to help prevent or reverse the evolution to disease. This is also true for Functional Neurological disorders.”
Functional Medicine Recognises HEALTH & DISEASE
At Hale Health Medicine, Dr Hale leads a team of practitioners who recognise the existence of optimal health. There is nearly always HEALTH before there is DISEASE (except babies who are born with diseases such as inborn errors of metabolism or cystic fibrosis). Advances in the sciences of health, aging and disease are all providing major clues about how we can slow or even prevent the progression from HEALTH to DISEASE. This IS the science of healthy aging, and it is becoming increasingly clear that optimal health actually MEANS something at the level of the cell and the level of our genetics & epigenetics.
Functional Medicine recognises and addresses individual patient factors that have been shown to accelerate aging and development of chronic diseases:
- Poor nutrition
- Sugar and refined carbohydrate predominant diet
- Excess protein or processed meats in the diet
- Sleep disorders
- Mental stress and physical body oxidative stress
- Loneliness, grief, anger, isolation
Functional Medicine recognises that there are problems with HEALTH even when there is NO DISEASE
Some patients have chronic illnesses that remain poorly recognised and are not treatable with drug therapy despite exhaustive investigations with their family doctors and specialists. Such disorders include chronic gut/digestive disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivities, functional neurological disorders (where patients have physical manifestations but no clear diagnosis), and other unexplained disorders. Often, a cursory examination doesn’t give clues and routine laboratory tests are normal. As a result, many patients are told they don’t have a diagnosis or a real disorder, and that it could be due to depression or anxiety. Sometimes patients are diagnosed with a somatisation disorder which in some cases is not correct and needs to be further investigated. These ‘no through road’ scenarios for patients can greatly worsen a struggling patient’s already fragile health situation.
Experienced Functional Medicine doctors CAN make inroads with these challenging patients by investigating the ways in which their gut, metabolism, immune system or circulation is not functioning optimally. Basic first principles (diet/lifestyle/exposure&stress reduction) can be used to reduce the triggers and perpetuators of symptoms to help patients recover. Further and repeated ongoing investigations may be warranted especially as new scientific findings come to hand. Dr Hale and Team are well versed in the difficulties that many patient with chronic illness have had, and look forward to getting an increasing number of them back to 100% health.