The Functional approach in Healing means that we are trying to figure out the root causes behind your health conditions instead of just managing and addressing your symptoms, which latter is how conventional health care (a.k.a. most of the conventional doctors) work.
In the realm of Functional Healing, we use a “well-care model”, which is a sub-clinical one. It includes a deep investigation (a thorough health-history conversation, and filling out detailed intake forms) with clients and non-invasive laboratory tests to uncover healing opportunities. We are NOT diagnosing, though. We are on the path of discovering certain patterns and detecting hidden health stressors so that we can proactively focus on taking action before certain imbalances become a real disease. We are proactively focusing on optimizing the body’s core physiological systems such as the hormonal, immune, digestive, detoxification systems.
Do Not Guess, Test!
1. Functional Blood Testing – Functional vs. Normal Lab Ranges
A comprehensive blood test is a very good place to start in the search of root causes behind chronic conditions. You have to keep in mind though, that conventional normal lab ranges are sometimes pretty far away from real optimal ranges, which we are aiming for. The functional approach works here too: proactively focusing on optimizing bodily functions by balancing the underlying causes of health conditions. This means, that we are not aiming to fit into the “normal” median range of all the chronically sick people who are visiting the labs and thus making the current statistics for normal lab ranges, but we are aiming to meet the criteria of an optimal range for normal function which is the real criteria for good health. Functional lab testing include more markers than conventional lab screens, in the interpretation we are using functional optimal ranges rather than normal ranges, and in functional blood testing we are looking for patterns instead of just looking at individual markers. When you are trying to interpret your lab results from a functional point of view, you have to make sure to use a help of a knowledgeable functional medicine or functional nutrition practitioner to reveal those patterns for you. A proper interpretation will also help you decide whether more extended functional testing (see my points below) is needed in your case. A comprehensive functional lab work would include (but not necessary be limited to) these following markers: CBC / Differential with Platelet Count /GGT / LDH / Iron & IBC / Lipid Panel / Blood Chemistry Panel, Comprehensive / Magnesium / Phosphorus, Serum / Metabolic Panel, Comprehensive / MMA, Homocysteine / Vitamin B12/ Folic Acid / Uric Acid / hsCRP / Ferritin / HbA1c / 25-OH Vitamin D / Complete Thyroid Panel with antibodies / Fasting Glucose / Fasting Insulin
It may seem like an overwhelming list but the good news is that you can proceed very easily with lab testing these days, there are many private labs you can use for running these labs relatively inexpensively, on your own. You may ask a functional nutrition practitioner to help you placing a requisition form to a lab or you may proceed through your doc and try to get the lab fees covered by insurance. If you choose to proceed via your general practitioner, you may not be able to reap the benefits of the functional interpretation though, and thus you may end up with an additional visit to someone who is trained in interpreting your results from functional point of view.