Many people that hear about the positive effects of Functional Medicine are often curious about what it can do for them. But they can also be nervous to ask more about what the process and treatment involves. And so, in this blog, I’ll take you through what happens at your very first Functional Medicine Consultation.
In the last blog, I talked about Functional Medicine and how it’s used to help people improve and sometimes overcome lifelong issues.
I mentioned how bad lifestyle choices involving too much stress, too much sitting, negative relationships and an incompatible diet can produce the symptoms or indicators which point to an imbalance within the body. I talked about how looking more closely at these modifiable lifestyle factors can bring positive change and how recognising the antecedents, mediators and triggers that have led us on our search for answers, represents an important step on our journey towards better health and wellbeing.
For a quick recap, you can re-read the blog here.
With all that in mind, one of the very first steps taken at your initial Functional Medicine Consultation is the completion of the Medical Symptoms Questionnaire.
Completing Your Medical Symptoms Questionnaire
The Medical Symptoms Questionnaire asks a series of questions related to you and your family’s history of illnesses, your current lifestyle and significant events throughout your life – as well as past and present symptoms. It’s a time consuming process, but one that’s absolutely crucial. It’s also important to make sure that all the information given here (including dates – even if just estimates) is as detailed and as accurate as possible. From all these details, your Functional Medicine Practitioner will be able to identify the antecedents, mediators, triggers and symptoms and spot the major imbalances leading to the root causes – that will in turn, lead to the creation of an individually tailored treatment plan.
Plotting a Timeline
During your initial consultation, the questionnaire will be discussed in depth with events and symptoms plotted into a timeline and placed in chronological order. Doing this, inevitably leads us to the ‘A-HA!’ moment where we’re able to pinpoint significant time periods and root causes. Together, the Practitioner and Client will be able to use the timeline to ‘tell the story’ and begin to understand how past and present circumstances have played their part within it.
Many times, these first small steps allow the healing process to begin. It’s impossible to appreciate enough the power of acknowledgement and understanding that can come from someone listening and allowing us to recognise the root causes of our symptoms.
Following on from the Initial Consultation
After the initial Functional Medicine consultation, the Practitioner will send a report including the Timeline, potentially useful functional tests (to further clarify root causes) as well as a recommended treatment plan. This can include anything from supplements to a specific personalised therapeutic diet for a specific period of time, and may also include recommendations or referrals for other holistic therapies such as massage, physio, learning meditation techniques or mindfulness. Talking therapies, coaching or counselling could also be recommended – but as everything to do with Functional Medicine, this is dependant on the unique needs of the individual.
Treatment & Support
You can decide at this point whether you’d like to take the findings of the initial consultation and use the information from the report to pursue treatment on your own or we can support you in this journey – by ordering the suggested tests, booking your recommended treatments, or by starting you off on a long term plan to guide you through the recommended lifestyle changes. This is where your Functional Medicine Coach can be an invaluable resource and support on your journey. You’ll meet your Functional Medicine Coach weekly and your Functional Medicine Practitioner on a monthly basis, and receive continued support over the phone/via text message to make sure all your questions are answered.
Long Term Treatment Plans
If you decide to sign up for a long term plan, your progress will be revisited and reviewed periodically with the means and methods of treatment adjusted accordingly. This journey usually requires a commitment of at least three months but this largely depends on how long you’ve had the original symptoms or issues. As a rule of thumb, for every year you’ve had your symptoms, you should add a month to the initial three month treatment period.
Questions, Comments or Advice
As always, I hope this post proves useful to those out there at their wits end with ongoing issues and symptoms. If you have any questions, comments or would like some advice relating to Functional Medicine following on from this, please do feel free to get in touch here or you can contact the Whole Harmony Wellbeing Centre through our Facebook page .