Welcome to a new way of healing
Welcome to the gold standard of functional medicine care
Welcome to Functional
Below is a guide to functional medicine in London. You’re going to learn everything you need to know about it and how functional medicine can help you.
Why is Functional Medicine needed
A global city requires a new approach for the 24/7 lifestyle that most Londoners experience. It’s increasingly apparent that as a species we have manufactured a life that is ill at ease with our basic physiology. We need a daily understanding of how and why we do things and what the consequences to our health may be. This is Functional Medicine.
Our hyper-stimulated lives are part and parcel of modern living and being switched off from this stimulation is almost impossible in London. Londoners ask too much of themselves and we consistently overuse our valuable resources to the point where our bodies cannot cope with the demand.
Functional Medicine is capable of solving complex health issues which traditional medicine cannot. It is a new model of healthcare, that provides a road map for best solving the complexity of health and wellbeing in London for Londoners.
Dr Susan Blum M.D.
Founder of Blum Centre for Health Assistant Clinical Professor, Dept of Preventive Medicine, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City
“Functional Medicine Associates is joined up medicine and healthcare at its best”
“The Functional Medicine Standard Bearer for the UK”
Patrick Hannaway, M.D.
Research Director, Centre for Functional Medicine @ Cleveland Clinic Lead Faculty, Institute for Functional Medicine
It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centred focus of medical practice to a more patient-centred approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, Functional Medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Functional Medicine in London - What is it?
A comprehensive view on Functional Medicine and what Functional Medicine Associates offers.
As Londoners, we all believe that lifelong health and vitality is our birthright. Yet few of us know why we lose it or how to get it back. In this cityscape where time quickly whizzes by, we need a new model of health that provides the tools to take charge of our own health. A process that the patient and not the doctor owns, but they work in partnership.
Striving for optimal health is to take a holistic London approach by looking towards the new field of Functional Medicine.
You may have noticed that there is a revolution happening in medicine. This new model of health care is gaining momentum and it’s helping Londoners just like you. It’s called Functional Medicine. For a growing number, Functional Medicine holds the solution to not just surviving this 24/7 lifestyle but provides the tools and ongoing process for you to thrive. An increasing number of Functional Medicine Practitioners are appearing in the city as part of this health care revolution.
Functional Medicine is the new health operating system that allows people to understand not “What” is wrong with their health but “Why”. Choosing to look at why you have become sick, rather than what the sickness is, in the future may offer a solution to reducing the global burden of chronic disease, improve patient outcomes and create healthier communities and cities such as London.
Functional Medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. It not only treats symptoms, it treats problems upstream at the source. It is the accepted model of health care that most London nutritionists, holistic clinics, alternative medicine clinics and even conventional medical doctors are starting to adopt.
Functional Medicine in London and elsewhere represents a paradigm shift from traditional disease-based medicine, to one which uses a systems-based or network medicine approach. Functional Medicine represents a shift from the current reductionist, organ-based medical view to a more ecological understanding of health and disease based on understanding how the systems of the body are all working together at any one time to create health or disease.
Functional Medicine provides an understanding that the body is an interconnected system rather than a group of systems that can be isolated and targeted. That patient’s seemingly unrelated symptoms such as brain fog, IBS, SIBO and adrenal fatigue are indeed related and may be affecting each other. Functional Medicine – what is it all about? It’s about explaining that we the people of London, are not just an isolated system but one that is interacting and part of a much bigger system, where we live, who we choose to live with and how we choose to interact with the physical environment all affect our health.
According to Mark Hyman MD, Chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine and multiple New York Times bestseller,
“Unless we move to this approach, we cannot otherwise get to the solutions for our health care crisis, or solve the problem of chronic disease”
Functional Medicine and its place in work environment.
Functional Medicine challenges the normal and offers a solution of how to be more work efficient and more productive.
Corporations are realising that their wellness programmes are somewhat of a tick box exercise. Gym memberships, for example, are great for the ones that go, but the numbers are small.
Businesses need a way for their employees to understand the wider picture of how our lifestyles at work affect our long term health. Functional Medicine in London offers that holistic medicine view.
We are great at understanding how a business runs but not so great in understanding the running of our bodies. To avoid getting frustrated with the lack of results, businesses need a Functional Medicine Practitioner to create a narrative in explaining the human body. This narrative allows us to translate the science of what is going on in a way business people understand.
Imagine your body as a business in difficult times. Even with significant investment into your health, that only allows you to balance your books and if you are doing really well maybe lose a few pounds and keep blood pressure under control. Given the climate (e.g. a consistent lack of sleep) you may actually be doing rather well, your stock may even be rising. That may lead many executives to ask ‘how do I push on from here?’ The answer, you won’t!! At least not until you change the climate and one of the easiest and most effective strategies for doing this is simply to sleep more
Functional Medicine explains – how colleagues, friends and family influence our health.
London can be a lonely place to live and work and the pace of life means we tend may to avoid people in the rush to get that project done or simply get home. How you live your life and the connection you feel to yourself and others is at the very core of Functional Medicine, something that business needs to wake up to.
Have you ever considered how social gatherings and/or relationships, be they with family friends or workmates, can influence the choices we make? This phenomenon is known as ‘network medicine’ and first appeared as a term in the medical research in 2007.
How we are interconnected to others and how these relationships influence our health is becoming an area of great scientific interest. Our social and working networks pervade all aspects of human health and are likely the most important influencing factors on our health. Research in this field has allowed scientists to move away from looking at humans & their health in a linear fashion, replacing linear thinking with a more organic, complex, interconnected web of influences.
An example of network medicine appeared in a 2007 paper published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine. This particular study demonstrated the impact of social relationships on health. It concluded that, over time, having an overweight friend made you 171% more likely to become overweight yourself.
Research clearly shows that decisions around health, both positive & negative, are based on the norms of a social group. This is the reason that corporations who have a genuine investment in wellness culture can dramatically change the health of their workforce. Humans love to follow, be led. Seeing the CEO eating a healthy meal in the canteen every day or members of the board frequenting the corporation gym. This type of wellness culture needn’t cost anything. It is a social decision led by “leaders” who have a positive influence on the wider group.
Getting people to sit down in the canteen and share a meal together is a simple but very powerful health measure regardless of the choice of food. Studies show that simply sharing a meal with co-workers becomes a therapeutic modality because it creates a sense of belonging. In older populations, studies demonstrate that the act of sharing meals has a positive influence on health and nutrient intake.
Going forward, it is clear that organisations need to invest into a Functional Medicine Practitioner as part of their corporate wellness programme. A Functional Medicine Practitioner can help the organisation to facilitate health change within their existing structures and help them understand the positive and negative impact that networks and relationships can have on health. Investment in this area will more than pay back over time as the research clearly shows.
Functional Medicine – stresses how happiness has a major influence on our health.
Happiness is good for our health. It improves productivity and creativity at work allowing us to think and learn faster, and more importantly to feel more emotionally connected to our co-workers. This connection is the very essence of human physiology. Humans are designed to be connected to each other, our DNA is wired in this way. It creates “Health by Safety” the safety of being connected to positive people.
Functional Medicine Practitioners understand the power of happiness. Positivity drives connection, connection creates safety by numbers and this is how a community, organisation and culture is built. A 2004 paper in American Behavioural Scientist showed that having a laugh together makes people more open and willing to cooperate.
Happiness has measurable effects on physical well-being. Being positive boosts immunity and reduces inflammation, it improves our sleep and helps us recover from stress. In fact, it is a major intervention strategy for health, and it’s free! Happy friendly workers are almost always more supportive to others and happiness is most likely one of the best contributors to business performance and profitability. The science shows happiness allows us to build better social connectedness (which should be the essence of what a wellness culture should be trying to achieve), it improves levels of engagement and commitment in work and can provide a better customer experience even if the worker does not stand to gain financially.
To quote some recent social science research from the University of San Diego and Harvard.
“Happiness tends to spread up to three degrees of separation from you – to those close to you, your colleagues and acquaintances, and even strangers you will never know. This is how you create a culture of happiness in your workplace, home and community”
Creating happiness and positivity is a very powerful way to generate health and profitability. The science is clear, so let’s implement these into wellness culture.
Functional Medicine good practice suggests boss pays workers to sleep more…
It sounds a little left-field but in the near future, this should be normal practise in corporate wellness programmes. So, before you HR directors have a breakdown, let us indulge and elaborate on the science of sleep. Numerous studies have been conducted around this subject. A 2009 Study in American J of Clinical Nutrition showed that if we induce sleep deprivation each night over two weeks, our body will try to make up for this deficit the next day by cleverly getting to us to snack. Kidding our brains that we need a sugar fix to compensate, about 200 calories more to be exact. And this study defined sleep deprivation as 5.5hrs sleep a night.
Sound familiar? Just think, the quickest way to ‘muffin top’ your other ‘jeans’ is lack of sleep. If you do the maths over the year it equates to almost 21 lbs of potential increased weight.
Could lack of sleep be the reason why most executives struggle with losing weight even with calorie-restricted diets, the best personal trainer and all the medical testing money can buy? A Functional Medicine Practitioner is aware of the negative effect of sleep deprivation and would always be discussing this as part of your lifestyle choices.
Working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner aware of your London lifestyle – you will be reminded that there is no comparison to the king of restoration, weight loss and anti-ageing that is sleep.
Sleep more and we also reduce other associated risk factors to health, Type 2 diabetes, depression, cognitive decline…ah, let’s stop there… as I will be up losing sleep typing the long list out.
What about sleep deprivation and executive performance? The ability to think, be sharp, focussed and creative? Forget all of these. Numerous research papers show none of these neurological functions can work anywhere near as good as when your brain has had a good night’s sleep. There is even science to show that you are more likely to look like S*** to others and as a consequence lose new business and even be perceived as less attractive to others. No point earning all that cash and not having anyone to share it with!
Most of us do not sleep more because the current culture does not allow it. This antiquated view, that I can sleep when I’m dead, or I’ll be happy when I have made it, does not hold up either in my experience or in the science. Times are changing, management journals are increasingly showing that organisations who are committed to the development of wellness over time do far better on the stock market than those who do not. It would be foolish then, not to invest into wellness strategies and the development of wellness culture.
Functional Medicine Associates – urges getting the sleep message out to organisations?
Just one hour more sleep per night will make you a healthier person but also a more efficient employee or CEO. It’s not rocket science. The rocket science is being able to translate this message to an individual who is ingrained into a business culture which still sees more as better (even though they get less done and are less creative). Fortunately, new science is allowing us to objectively disprove old belief systems of working. As one under-performing CEO of a global company once said to me about his work/life
“it’s like living in the twilight zone” To which my answer was “what do you expect on 4hrs sleep a night”
Functional Medicine helps simplify and explain executive burn-out.
How do you explain to an executive that they are at risk of burning out? You need a holistic health partner, a Functional Medicine Practitioner who simplifies and individualises the message.
London business culture means the executive happily wears the ‘badge of burn out’, when it simply does not need to be this way. Over the long term, our physiology cannot sustain this sort of behaviour and suffers the consequences. Functional Medicine helps the executive to imagine themselves as an F1 car. High powered but delicate at the same time.
In maintaining high-performance we need to have a regular pit stop, that allows the body to rest, have a check-up, refuel and change the tires. If this is not done on a regular basis, things start to fall apart. An all too common pattern for the London executive.
Carry on like this and you are likely to end up burnt out, isolated from others, with poorer physical, emotional and mental health. It is simply a myth to believe this is the way to work. Now the research backs it up. Working towards success without being happy or feeling daily happiness has dire consequences to both physiology and organisation. Happiness is a crucial part of the wellness culture.
Functional Medicine understands that buildings in London stress our brains.
Humans are hardwired for the countryside so how do we bring the outside into our indoor spaces? How do we change our working environment into something that less resembles a concrete jungle to one that looks and, more importantly, feels like an outdoor space? Humans are wired to feel more relaxed and at peace in the countryside and increasingly more stressed and confused in the cityscape, even if a person was born and raised there.
Skyscraper representing Functional Medicine in London.
A recent study by the University of Exeter used FMRI scanners to demonstrate this. The scanners were used to give a real-time picture of brain activity concentrating particularly on the area of the brain associated with feelings of calmness. Subjects were alternately shown pictures of the countryside and of cityscapes.
The scanning revealed that the area of the brain associated with calmness lit up immediately when subjects were shown the pictures of the countryside. When shown the cityscape pictures, however, the scanner revealed a delay in the brain’s response and a different part of the brain (associated with visual complexity) lit up. It seems that the brain is unsure of what it is seeing… the image didn’t seem natural to it.
This adds too much of the scientific research that shows the more we live and work in an unnatural environment the more difficult it is for our brains to make sense of it and respond naturally leading to an increased risk of mental and physical health issues.
“The brain has to do a lot of processing because it doesn’t naturally know what the environment is” commented Dr Ian Frampton.
Rural images produce a much quieter response in a different area of the brain, the limbic system, a much older part of the brain in evolutionary terms. We recognise the countryside because we have evolved with it. It seems we are less stressed by it because our ancient brain is wired to remember it.
What are some of the negative consequences of this?
Prof Michael Depledge of Exeter University has some thought-provoking words:
“Urban dwellers could be suffering in the same way as animals kept in captivity. Moves to cities have been accompanied by an incredible rise in depression and behavioural abnormalities”
In all of this, we need to look at how we live in our physical environment. We have existed on the land and not the urban landscape. Our genes are strongly connected to green spaces and environments opposite to this may well affect health outcomes. Even tiny green spaces in urban environments can reduce the risk of depression. In Japan, studies have shown that little green spaces in urban environments can even increase longevity.
So how do we bring the outside in? How do we bring green spaces into the workspace? Should we consider building working places from a human evolutionary perspective? These are important considerations for corporate wellbeing.
Functional Medicine in London – dealing with the effects of pollution.
Everything in our environment interacts with our genes to create health or disease. This is the revolutionary concept of epigenetics. Our diets, nutritional status, air, water, how much we exercise, trauma, psychosocial factors, and exposure to environmental toxins and radiation can all influence our genes and our health. Creating a healthy environment inside and out is our first step to balancing the system.
Losing your memory like many chronic diseases can be modified by the way we choose to live our lives. We can go a long way to reducing risk by stopping smoking and taking much more exercise, paying attention to a better diet, optimising our sleep, reducing our stress levels and losing weight.
All the above are controllable by the individual if they choose to. Some variables, however, we cannot control, and environmental risk factors such as pollution and noise have been shown to influence cognitive decline in patients.
18 previous studies have looked at such relationships and all have found that air pollution is associated with declines in cognition. A large study conducted in Canada showed that living close to major roads was associated with a higher risk of dementia.
A recent study published in BMJ Open 2018 investigated whether higher levels of both air and noise pollution where associated with increased incidence of dementia in London. This study looked at data over 8 years linking incidents of dementia diagnosis with pollution and noise levels. Whilst this study is not definitively saying that air and noise pollution was the causative reason for people being diagnosed with dementia, it is saying;
“We found a positive association between residential higher levels of air pollution and people being diagnosed with dementia”
The researchers controlled the study for confounding risk factors for dementia, but also recognised that there may be a weakness in the study due to the way in which dementia is diagnosed in primary care. It is difficult to truly diagnose both dementia and Alzheimer’s and, in this particular study, the time measures of exposure (8 years) may not have been long enough. That said, there is more than food for thought in this piece of research.
We are not completely sure how pollution negatively affects our memory. We do know that higher and consistent exposure increases oxidative stress (free radicals) and causes increased inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. These processes can be part of the multifactorial causes of cognitive decline.
Research shows that some of us have genes that don’t deal with these pollutants as well as others, making these individuals possible “canaries in the coal mine”. The inability to deal with higher and consistent exposures increases risk.
Functional Medicine Associates in London, UK.
Functional Medicine Associates: who they are and what they do
Functional Medicine Associates based in London is a team of IFM certified practitioners founded by Pete Williams, the first IFM certified practitioner in the UK and located in the prestigious Harley Street district of Central London. The IFM certification is a badge of quality and commitment, the relatively few who have achieved this accreditation will have spent much time, as well as a significant financial commitment in participating in this rigorous post-graduate training.
It sets them apart from others who may only be starting out on their road to becoming a Functional Medicine practitioner.
The team at Functional Medicine Associates have had years of experience applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice. This has allowed them to evolve and continually learn from their and their patient’s challenges. Complex chronic disease is just that, complex! For this reason, they use a team approach for each patient. Their experience has shown that this can often be the difference between successful and unsuccessful outcomes. This experience and expertise has led to industry acknowledgement for Functional Medicine in London and the UK.
“The Gold Standard of Functional Medicine training”
- “The Functional Medicine Standard Bearer for the UK”
Patrick Hannaway, M.D.
Research Director, Centre for Functional Medicine @ Cleveland Clinic
Lead Faculty, Institute for Functional Medicine
“Functional Medicine Associates have seen hundreds of patients over many years and have learnt from our successes and very rare failures. Functional Medicine in London was non-existent 10 years ago. It has been a slow drip over the years and over the last 2 years it has exploded, I think simply because it works!”
“I doesn’t work for all however, mainly due to patients not realising what they are getting into and what will be expected of them. We have learnt that before we take on patients they are absolutely clear of what it is going to take to get them better. We need to be clear with expectations. It’s very satisfying when a patient gets better from years of illness. It is life-changing for them.”
“ Many people who have heard of Functional Medicine come to see us and are expecting an alternative medicine view, but still wanting a traditional medicine approach. They are expecting a new test, then a treatment strategy that is based on giving them supplements. This is not what Functional Medicine is, it’s not a test, a treatment, a supplement”
Functional Medicine in London is, however:
- A new way of thinking
- A focus on systems and networks within the body
- A focus on patterns and making connections over time in laboratory tests
- A focus on finding the root causes that lead to clinical imbalances
- A focus on creating balance
- A therapeutic journey
- A journey in which the patient is the primary participant
If a patient is ready for change then the results can be life changing.
“In positive news, my bloating feels pretty much under control, I’m not swelling on long haul flights and also not swelling under stress – which is amazing. I’m also going to the loo every day, at least once” So I’m eternally grateful to you for that!”
“My doctor said there was no cure for Fibromyalgia/CFS. There is, it’s called Functional Medicine. I feel sooo much better with Functional Medicine Associates treatment.”
Why Functional Medicine is needed in London?
A global city requires a new approach for the 24/7 lifestyle that most Londoners experience. It’s increasingly apparent that as a species we have manufactured a life that is ill at ease with our basic physiology. We need a daily understanding of how and why we do things and what the consequences to our health may be. This is Functional Medicine.
Our hyper-stimulated lives are part and parcel of modern living and being switched off from this stimulation is almost impossible in London. Londoners ask too much of themselves and we consistently overuse our valuable resources to the point where our bodies cannot cope with the demand. Over time this leads to a slide towards suboptimal health, leading to the development of symptoms, followed by dysfunction and ultimately disease. In our efforts to combat this slide we start to use external influences to help “perk up” and “calm down” aspects of our physiology. In effect, London living takes more out of us then we naturally have. London lifestyles mean we need to be introduced to an interconnected system of thinking so we can understand why our bodies are not responding as they would like and how we can unleash repair and restore. If we are choosing to work harder for longer it makes it imperative that we take care of our mind body and soul so that we can age gracefully and have the brainpower and energy to keep creating in our fields of choice.
In a more simplistic way, of course, there is the angle that busy cities offer more choice and more temptations and a Functional Medicine approach in London is needed in order to:
1) Personalize sleep hygiene routines
2) Identify stress management tactics
3) Configure and evaluate local seasonal food options
4) Sustain a high-performance exercise plan
5) Evaluate how to upgrade personal and professional relationships
Functional Medicine gives us this Holistic Medicine, this 360-degree view, it looks to new science to give you more understanding of how and why we do what we do and the results may be surprising. Here are some examples;
Functional Medicine – explains and challenges the ways and reasons for self-medication.
We self-medicate in the morning with caffeine and in the evening with alcohol. We use caffeine to help stimulate “perk up” hormones in the morning and get us through the day. By the time we have finished work for the day we are stressed and hyped up and turn to alcohol (a depressive molecule by nature) to calm our stress hormones and neurotransmitters. As the morning arrives we are usually stimulated into wakefulness by the stress hormone Cortisol. The rise in this hormone signals to our body that the day has started and let’s get up and go.
For many Londoners, this signalling does not happen as it should. These are people who may have longer-term stress issues and find it harder to mount a great start to the day – unless they have caffeine which artificially stimulates the rise in cortisol. A sign of whether you may have some issues with cortisol production is whether a cup of coffee first thing in the morning makes you feel more normal and more ready to face the day.
Normally Cortisol has a lovely daily pattern of secretion. It’s high in the morning and comes down over the day to its lowest point near bedtime. It makes sense that a stimulating hormone should be naturally low at bedtime, otherwise we have issues calming down from the day and getting ready for sleep. In stressed individual’s alcohol helps to bring us from an overstimulated state to a more relaxed one.
Part of the human condition is a nervous system that is geared up for continuous flight or fight. For all of us, our nervous systems do not know any different because they live in a London based hyper-stimulated world. A world where our brains misinterpret stressors as life and death situations when they are not. We have the foot permanently on the accelerator and eventually running on empty only to be helped with stimulants and others to bring us back to normality. Our nervous system gets trained for flight or fight and forgets how to relax because we do not put it in this position.
Functional Medicine Doctors in London – A new type of doctor.
London, like most other places worldwide, is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. The system of medicine practised by most London doctors is oriented toward acute care — the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg.
London doctors and current healthcare models apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
Unfortunately, this acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease which is what the people of London need. In most cases, it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society and especially London. There is also a huge gap between research and the way traditional doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness. Why settle for outdated practices, when Functional Medicine in London and a functional medicine practitioner can help you.
Functional Medicine Associates offers a long term strategy, taking you away from a quick-fix mentality and focused on improving our daily behaviour/decisions to those that are conducive to health, well-being and the achievement of our life goals.
Functional Medicine understands your genetic predisposition and looks to see how your genes may predispose you towards illness, based on how you choose to live your life. And this choosing how to you live your life, your lifestyle choices, are very much dictated by your location. In effect London and all that comes with it, is at every second, of every minute, of every hour, talking back at your genes. London is messaging back at you, it is talking to your physiology and it is signalling to your genes to either create health or dysfunction. This is where your Functional Medicine Practitioner can help you understand and navigate these daily behaviours and connections.
Functional Medicine on the NHS is something that in the near future may well be more common as traditional medicine fails to cope with the epidemic of chronic disease.
Your traditional GP, the person you see when your feeling sick or displaying symptoms or dysfunction in your health is trained in the What but not the Why of medicine. The way they are also asked to treat, the time frame in which to treat, means that they do not have time to listen to the patient digging deeper into the root causes of their chronic disease. With less than 10 minutes how can you possibly listen to people and understand what’s really going on? It is indeed a somewhat impossible situation for our great doctors. It is difficult for them to delve into the latest research and most are not fully aware of interventions that may be helpful with some common conditions clients come to with. A Functional Medicine Practitioner in London may be the answer, having both the time and resources to delve deeper into your health.
What is a Functional Medicine Practitioner?
Who is a Functional Medicine Practitioner and what they can offer a patient
A functional medicine practitioner is an individual trained in understanding and being able to deliver a new model of chronic disease care called Functional Medicine. A Functional medicine practitioner gives you a road map to follow, to take you on your journey to health. They create a mutually empowering relationship between patient and clinician where both share responsibility for creating and implementing the healthcare plan to achieve desired well-being.
A Functional Medicine Practitioner helps you to:
- Understand your history in depth and make sense of how you reached your present state of health
- Analyse your history and symptoms and understand the root causes of your health challenges, in order to resolve them deep within rather than on the surface.
- Looks to the Why is it and not the What is it of your symptoms or health issues.
- Approach you with deep empathy and respect you as a person, rather than just your disease
- Recommend changes in diet and lifestyle, but continuously track the process, constantly modifying to support your unique body and reactions
- Empower you with the knowledge you require to understand your body and what can support you, so that you become empowered in managing your own health at all times.
A Functional Medicine Practitioner appreciates that getting to the root of complex health challenges takes time and patience, and it is just not possible to apply a set of protocols or an ideal diet and expect it work for everyone. They are someone with assessment skills, who is trained to read your lab results from not just the absence of disease but what an optimal level may look like. They have the ability to work through complex cases and can problem solve along the way. A Functional Medicine Practitioner looks to lab testing for trends and patterns, not just results. Given that you are unique it allows the functional medicine practitioner to reveal and better understand the interconnection between all your body systems, and provides you with a targeted approach created just for you.
Functional Medicine doesn’t ignore the emotional and cognitive components of someone’s experience/well-being. It understands various components of our lifestyle significantly influence the health and resilience of the body, and thus need to be the focus of any health programme.
Who are the best qualified Functional Medicine Practitioners in London?
The Institute for Functional Medicine a medical education provider in America is the world leader in providing Functional Medicine training and their IFM Certification Program (IFMCP) provides the most comprehensive training available in Functional Medicine.
The educational materials that they provide have been developed by the world leaders in the field of Functional Medicine. IFM Certified Practitioners consistently become recognized as the most thoroughly trained and tested Functional Medicine clinicians in their fields and the most sought-after by both patients and employers.
The IFM Certified practitioner is the gold standard industry qualification. This is not to be confused with the AMFCP certificate, also provided by the Institute for Functional Medicine which is their entry-level course.
The IFM certification is a badge of quality and commitment, the relatively few who have achieved this accreditation will have spent much time, as well as a significant financial commitment in participating in this rigorous post-graduate training, case studies and examination. It sets them apart from any others who may only be starting out on their road to becoming a Functional Medicine practitioner.
Pete Williams was the first person to become IFM Certified in the UK in 2013. His consultancy Functional Medicine Associates London only employs IFM certified practitioners and has been called the
“Standard-bearer for functional medicine in the UK”
by Patrick Hannaway MD, Research director at Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic and Lead Faculty at the Institute for Functional Medicine.
Pete has noted the increased awareness of Functional Medicine in London and all across the UK, but also warrants some caution about the choice of Functional medicine practitioner that a potential patient works with.
“More and more people want this approach to solving their chronic disease issues, or helping them simply understand how to optimise their holistic health in a stressful place like London. His advice to people is to make sure you investigate your practitioners qualifications and experience. Many practitioners say they are trained in Functional Medicine but do not have the appropriate qualifications and little experience. I would always advise working with a IFM Certified practitioner”
“Whilst there are lots of people who are stating they do functional medicine in London there are still only less than 20 certified practitioners in the UK”
Functional Medicine - The future of individual wellness.
Functional Medicine in London: looking into what is coming next
Our current health-care system was never designed to truly help millions of people who currently suffer from chronic disease. Functional Medicine is starting a paradigm shift in the way we think and apply a new model of health care.
Functional Medicine – what is it all about? It is focussed on keeping people well by striving for prevention rather than having to treat disease with “a pill for an ill” We have to change the way we think, move away from a disease centered approach to one that addresses the root causes of why we get and stay sick.
So much of what causes chronic disease is a simple mismatch of our genes and our environment. We have in effect unconsciously created an Obesogenic world with things that are supposed to help us, but do not. We need to move back to a life where convenience is not around every corner. Were labour-saving devices are limited or used wisely. We need Functional Medicine practitioners to be guides, co-creators with individuals and larger corporations. We need the individual to be empowered to take charge, armed with the tools and the road map for them to navigate themselves back to health and vitality through Functional Medicine offerings in the UK.
In the future, Functional Medicine should run side by side with traditional medical approaches and should be part of every GP facility. More awareness of Functional Medicine, like the changes happening in America, should shape policymakers and medical organisations to take up the challenge of a better approach. There are signs that this is happening in medicine, recent courses from the Institute for Functional Medicine are sold out well in advance with an increasing groundswell of GP’s, frustrated in the way they currently practise wanting to learn this different approach. “Functional Medicine doctors in London” will become a more regular google search.
There is a growing groundswell of people and organisations that are realising we need to change our current way of living in London. Our current way of living is at odds with our genes and we need to change the way we live and work. The mission is simple, be brave and start taking individual responsibility for your health. Be guided by a Functional Medicine practitioner who understands root cause medicine and how to apply that to you.