How Coaching Makes Functional Medicine More Effective
My early career in medicine began as an acupuncturist. I went to school in a converted old house in New Mexico, with chickens in the parking lot and burritos at break time.
My teachers were mostly from China, and very smart, interesting people. I learned to read the signs of the body. Puffy tongue means dampness. Frequent sighing shows liver stagnation.
As I entered practice, I gave generously to my clients. I used essential oils and did massage. I counseled them on dating and workplace drama.
But when I got sick, I didn’t know enough to help myself. As I looked for solutions, I found functional medicine.
I didn’t know it by that name at the time, but I studied the body systems in a new way, and I studied a new body of therapeutic foods and supplements.
I was fascinated with this new world and reaped some benefits in my own health. I went on to study functional medicine in a more formal way, completing the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition program.
But then one very rainy winter in Oregon, I got really sick. And again my knowledge was not enough. I turned to lab testing and found mold and Epstein Barr. I found some great insight from functional practitioners but also fell into some serious gaps:
There was a rush to give supplements.
There was a ‘this should be working’ attitude.
There was an overlooking of me as a whole person.
One of the most disappointing things for me was the lack of empathy I felt from the functional practitioners that I saw. While I’m sure that they did care, I didn’t hear it in their communication.
I was really sick. I’m talking bone-tired, twitching eyelids, can’t hold a thought for two seconds sick. Beyond expensive supplements, I needed to feel heard and loved. I needed advice on how to make it through the day.
I’m not saying that one functional doc is meant to be an answer to all of life’s issues! When you are seriously ill, it’s going to take a village, persistence, & a good mindset. Eventually, I found a counselor who helped me address the stress of chronic illness and the displacement caused by mold.
As I struggled to figure out my illness, I had to recalibrate my view of functional medicine. Was it not at all what I thought it was? Was it a waste of time and money?
I am very thankful for my roots in Chinese Medicine and life coaching that gave me a roadmap for how things could, indeed, be better.
My current practice is very progressive. It’s all online, and we run tests from mold to parasites. We have clients all over the world and use video chat and electronic intake forms.
But I have embraced wholeheartedly the old-fashioned values of listening to my client carefully, of reading between the lines and seeing what’s really stressing them and letting them have a voice in how their protocols proceed.
We remember to say, “you’re doing a great job,” and remind you that things will get easier. We help you deal with skeptical family members and birthday cake in the break room.
We are coaches, and we help you navigate the hard parts of life.
The term ‘functional medicine’ was coined by Dr. Jeffrey Bland in 1991 as he and his wife established the Institute of Functional Medicine. Dr. Bland is a nutritional biochemist and we can really credit him for establishing and advancing this field.
Functional medicine excels at testing. It looks at how to best support the body’s systems without doing harm. But here’s the thing...
You are not a group of symptoms or test results.
You are person with a story of how you got sick, and the story of how you get well is still being written. Having a coach who truly listens and lifts you up will be an important a part of your healing journey.
Are you ready for the next level of holistic functional care?