According to the American College of Preventive Medicine, most chronic diseases are preventable and reversible if a comprehensive, individualized approach that addresses genetics, diet, stress, physical activity, and sleep is implemented through integrated functional medicine teams and based on empirical research.
What are the functional medicine treatment approaches?
In this way, health is perceived as more than the absence of illness, just as illness is more than the absence of health. In order for the body to live up to this principle, it needs to be supplied with the necessary nutrients through a healthy diet, adequate sleep, movement/exercise, and management of stress.
Functional Medicine Approach #1 – A Elimination Diet
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Remember that every time someone eats, that changes body chemistry. A functional medicine clinic often guides patients to implement a modified removal diet. Patients are educated to remove certain foods from their diet, such as those containing gluten or dairy, and are encouraged to adjust (increase) the consumption of fruits and vegetables that encompass every color of the rainbow. Patients are advised to remove all added sugars. This practice is often difficult for people; therefore, the FM team must work to encourage their compliance with the elimination diet.
Utilization of an elimination diet requires a patient to remove the most frequent causes of food sensitivity (milk, gluten, high saturated fats, highly processed foods) while tracking clinical symptoms to see if there’s an improvement. In addition, patients are advised to eat protein, healthy fats, nuts and seeds, beans, and beverages to support a more anti-inflammatory way of life. Whenever possible, we urge that individuals select meats that are wild-caught organic, and grass-fed. Basically, patients are directed to consume only “actual” food, not processed.
Patients are advised to follow this diet for 3 months (detoxification period) and log any changes that exist within their physique. Patients are taught to read and understand food labels, to ask questions of restaurants and manufacturers, and to ask their healthcare staff about any food ingredients of concern. At the end of 3 weeks, patients are given the choice to keep with the outlined diet or to go back to their dietary lifestyle.
Functional Medicine Approach #2 – Physical Exercise
The focus then is to review the individual’s improvement on her or his detoxification procedure during the elimination diet. Patients are encouraged to raise questions about any foods that they avoid, or need to have more or less of, add, or refrain from eating. Assessing a patient’s food logs, and directing the steps every patient plans to take with respect to dietary alterations during the week can further help achieve this.
This process is further eased using mindfulness eating techniques. Mindfulness is an exercise in consciousness, or only noticing. We believe that mindfulness is the basis that has been missing for a lot of people, and is the key to helping them conquer food cravings, addictive eating, binge eating, emotional eating, and stress eating, as well as immunity to or limits in their physical activity plan. This technique is also helpful in different aspects such as stress and sleep.
The objective of mindfulness is not to alter anything so much as to allow the mind to go where it wants, and also to be aware if it wanders. Being mindful entails the capacity to detect one’s ideas and sensations (eg, taste, smell, preferences). The aim of mindfulness is to raise patients’ awareness of feelings, their own body functions, and ideas.
The second pillar focuses on physical exercise. Physical exercise is any activity that includes stretching, strengthening, cardiovascular health, or other exercises, and enhances or preserves physical fitness and general wellness and health. In this session, we emphasize the need for strength knowing that aerobic exercises are generally promoted. Strengthening exercises work on muscles to help give equilibrium that is physical and added strength. Cardiovascular (aerobic) exercises may include walking, biking, and swimming, and needs to be carried out regularly for at least 30 minutes each or according to the person’s tolerance levels.
When working with people with chronic pain, it is important to adjust an exercise program to accomodate the patient’s requirements and capacities. While others could be stiff or sore, many chronic pain patients are deconditioned. Some people are prone to pushing though some could be preoccupied with dread of pain which causes an avoidance of the action altogether to complete a job. Often, people wait for a “great day” to finish rigorous activity. A cycle of overactivity can happen on a recurring basis and cause unwanted effects, such as injury or re-injury.
During this particular session, patients receive instruction on time-based actions to help them pace themselves while completing daily tasks. In pacing, time provides the guide for activity participation, instead of the feeling of pain. To put it differently, patients must measure the amount of time that they could engage before sensing pain, instead of waiting to grow to signal them to stop. Pacing helps to keep a consistent action level over time, which can be rehabilitative and involves taking breaks.
Functional Medicine Approach #3 – Sleep Hygiene
In the third session, the supplier starts with a review to assess a patient’s progress toward his or her personal objectives. The focus would be to introduce education about the psychology of proper sleep hygiene and stress control. Many patients that suffer with chronic pain normally have unsatisfactory or poor sleep patterns.
During this particular session, patients are educated about sleeping influencers and are invited to make changes to some element that may be impeding sleep in a negative way. Providers may also suggest stimulation control and provide guidance designed to associate bedtime with all the rapid onset of sleep and also to establish a normal sleep-wake schedule that’s consistent with the person’s circadian sleep cycle.
The psychologist and individual also identify any psychological issues and stressors that may exert a negative impact on sleep. Patients are taught to use relaxation techniques to help reduce anxiety and initiate sleep and are directed through a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) workout which can be employed at home to promote sound sleep. PMR is a method which will help reduce muscle tension by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. PMR entails a physical and mental component. The component involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups, whereas the mental component focuses on differentiating between feelings of anxiety and relaxation. With exercise, the patient learns how to effectively introduce relaxation to attain a decrease in muscle strain, which reduce stress as well as enhance sleep.
Functional Medicine Approach #4 – Stress Management
The group therapy protocol concludes from the fourth semester with a concise overview of important topics in the previous sessions, with an emphasis on progress made toward human goals, problem-solving against some barriers to treatment recommendations, and encouraging each player to make personal goals for posttreatment.
Patients are challenged to maintain their diet regime going ahead or opt to reintroduce foods back into their diets. Patients who opt to incorporate back foods are encouraged to include select foods, one at a time, each for one day. Patients are taught to integrate the food back into the diet if no detectable symptoms or sensitivity reactions happen.
This consideration is presented to reinforce the notion that incorporating back foods might come in the resurfacing of symptoms that were removed or greatly diminished when certain foods were removed from the diet, allowing the individual to create a decision regarding his or her priorities according to her or his level of commitment. Although this can be a 4-session application, patients are also encouraged to create follow-up appointments for individual consultation visits to explore targeted concerns and requirements. The goal of the program is to educate and support self-care for the length of the program, but also for a lifetime, not only among chronic pain sufferers.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Wellness
Overall health and wellness are essential towards maintaining the proper mental and physical balance in the body. From eating a balanced nutrition as well as exercising and participating in physical activities, to sleeping a healthy amount of time on a regular basis, following the best health and wellness tips can ultimately help maintain overall well-being. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can go a long way towards helping people become healthy.
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