THE JOURNEY TO WELLNESS
After many years of working as a GP, I now see health as a continuum. At one end of the spectrum, we have Chronic Disease, also now known as 'non-communicable disease' by the World Health Organisation due to the epidemic we are seeing. At the other end of the spectrum, there is Optimal Health. Somewhere in the middle, there is an overlap where unwellness becomes early chronic disease. This is the area I like to focus on for improvement. The reason? Not only do I want to help my patients work towards Optimum health for their wellbeing and longer healthier lives, but I also believe that this is the unaddressed gap in medicine. Health systems globally need to train doctors to identify early dysfunction in peoples physiology which may lead to future chronic disease. To use a metaphor, doctors need to be listening for the first sign of the violin strings getting out of tune, which will eventually impair the Symphony which a healthy body and mind can be when functioning optimally.
So what do we mean by Wellness?
Being well means having a healthy gut with daily bowel motions; it means a robust energy supply, enabling you to live your life as you wish; having a clear brain with no regular headaches or heaviness; making it to the evening without the mid-afternoon slump, or the wired 'second wind' in the evening. It means being able to maintain a sensible body weight without having to resort to fanatical diet and exercise regimes. Being well means having a clear skin, healthy nails and hair; it means having steady blood sugar levels and moods, no sudden ups or downs. For women, being well means regular periods, not heavy or painful, and an easier time in menopause. Being well means you have a strong immune system, and you are not at the mercy of the latest circulating viral illness. Being well means a good night's sleep, every night.
So what happens in the Wellness Clinic?
Before your appointment, I will send you a questionnaire for you to complete and send back to me. This will give me plenty of information about you before we even meet. During the consultation, we will look at your Health Story together, beginning at your birth until present day. I will be looking for triggers and clues which may have caused your present problems. Next, I will consider whether we need to do any further investigations such as blood tests to give us more information. Once we have all the information, we will work together to put your personalised health plan into place. I see this part as working together as a team to make you healthier. Sometimes, I may suggest a food plan as part of your prescription, other times supplements may be helpful. I choose supplements carefully and tailor them to your physiology and problems, and I try to keep the list as short as possible. No-one likes coming away with endless bottles of supplements and powders to take several times a day. However, there are times when the extra nutrition can be very effective for a while. As part of your overall health plan, we will also look at your stress levels, your sleep patterns and your exercise routines.
I like to spend time with my patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions between 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.