What is Functional Wellness?

It means Optimal Function. When we are functioning optimally, our body, its organ systems and the very cells that make up those systems are working and functioning at their fullest.

Within the body is an inherent ability to heal and provide optimal function. This ability has been labeled in various healing professions as the body’s vital force, innate intelligence, 'prana', and 'chi'. The scientific community refers to this phenomenon as homeostasis. Imbalance in different areas of the body can impede or block the body’s normal attempts to self-regulate and self-heal. —That is, to return to homeostasis. To get well and stay well, you must also treat the cause by determining how your structure, biochemistry and mind function and what must be done to create the conditions required for optimal function to be present.

Functional Wellness Guidelines
  1. Understand the Spectrum of Health
  2. Realize that many body problems are dysfunctional, and not pathological in nature.
  3. Replenish function to bring about health
  4. Restore function by restoring all sides of the triad of health: Structural, Biochemical, and Mental/Emotional 
  5. Give the body time to heal The Spectrum of Health.

There is a Spectrum of Health in everyone’s body.  Where you are, relative to the spectrum, fluctuates over time and is dependent on different variables. Traveling in both directions takes time, with neither one occurring overnight. Just as an unhealthy lifestyle over time can lead to illness, so the road back to health may take some time as well. 

The Spectrum of Health

In reinstating function to your body’s systems, emphasis is placed on finding the cause of the dysfunction and eliminating it to allow the body’s own healing mechanisms to restore natural function and vitality. Functional wellness is NOT geared towards simply eliminating symptoms.
In the truest holistic sense, you are more than the simple sum of your parts. Therefore, any true holistic wellness philosophy must be aimed at treating you as a whole person, rather than simply where the pain or symptoms lay.

Most Problems Are Dysfunctional In Nature 

When a part of your body is not functioning in its proper capacity, other parts of your body adapt. Quite often this adaptation goes unnoticed by our conscious mind and produces no noteworthy symptoms. However, many times illness or problems can be traced back to a point where you ‘just didn’t feel right.’ The more you slide backwards on the spectrum of health, the more body adaptations start to come into play, and more and more ‘symptoms’ start to be experienced. Quite often there is no pathological evidence of disease or illness quite yet.
Western medicine is quite good at detecting pathology (an abnormal manifestation in the body known as disease). However quite often the tests designed so well to diagnose pathology miss when the body is not at its proper level of function. This can lead to the body slowing developing from a functional imbalance into disease over time. 

Balance All Sides of the Triad of Health 

Functional Healthcare looks at the totality of who you are and who you are capable of being. Functional Healthcare looks at the effects of your environment and lifestyle habits on your health and who you are genetically, in terms of your inherent strengths and weaknesses. Your health can then be protected based on that knowledge. 

Any of the healing arts can utilize a Functional Healthcare approach, though many disciplines within the healings arts will tend to have unique strengths (and weaknesses) in terms of how broadly and deeply they affect the structural, chemical, and mental aspects of a person’s health. 

All sides of the triad of health must be considered for you to experience your fullest expression of health. In reality, there is no separation between structure (body and nervous system), chemistry, and mental (mind and spirit). They all are one. 

Taking Responsibility for your Own Health 
Ultimately, the one responsible for your own healing is you. Every day is filled with choices that lead us in the direction of health and wellness or down the spectrum towards dysfunction and disease.
It is vital to understand that you are the most important person involved in your own healing. That means unless you are doing your part to support, nourish and take care of your body with the guidance of a health care professional, the chances of success are reduced. 

Taking responsibility to do the things that bring you health, such as proper sleep, proper nourishment, emotional/mental stress levels, exercise, are not just helpful, but necessary. If a person works 8-12 hours a day, rushes through or skips meals, eats food lacking in good nutrition, gets little sleep, is in a stressful relationship, how is the body expected to be able to heal itself?

Given time, the body can do amazing things! By applying the concepts of functional wellness, you too can experience the benefits of personal optimum health!