March 5, 2024

What is Functional Health? The Basics of Functional Health with Amy Mewborn

What is Functional Health?

Functional health is not just a buzzword; it’s a profound shift in how we think about health and disease. At its core, functional health focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of health issues, rather than merely treating symptoms. It’s a personalized, holistic approach that considers the entire individual—body, mind, and spirit—to optimize health and prevent diseases.


The Pillars of Functional Health

 

1. Personalized Care

Every individual is unique, and functional health embraces this by tailoring health strategies to the individual’s specific needs, genetics, environment, and lifestyle. This personal touch ensures that health plans are more effective and aligned with each person’s life.

 

2. Whole-Body Approach

Functional health looks at the body as an interconnected system, where each part affects the whole. By understanding these connections, we can better address health issues and promote overall wellness.

 

3. Preventive Care

Prevention is a cornerstone of functional health. By focusing on the prevention of chronic diseases through lifestyle changes, nutrition, and stress management, functional health helps to maintain long-term wellness.

 

4. Lifestyle and Environmental Factors

Our environment and how we live play crucial roles in our health. Functional health examines these factors closely, offering strategies to improve diet, exercise, sleep, and manage stress, contributing to a healthier life.

 

How to Implement Functional Health into Your Life

Embarking on a functional health journey can seem daunting, but it’s about making small, manageable changes that have a significant impact. Here are some steps to get you started:

 

1. Nutrition

“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” This simple advice from food writer Michael Pollan sums up a functional health approach to nutrition. Focus on whole, unprocessed foods that nourish your body and support overall health.

 

2. Movement

Incorporate movement into your daily routine. It doesn’t have to be intense workouts at the gym—walking, yoga, or any activity that you enjoy and keeps you moving is beneficial.

 

3. Sleep

Quality sleep is foundational to good health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine to improve sleep quality.

 

4. Stress Management

Managing stress is crucial for functional health. Techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness can help keep stress levels in check.

 

5. Community

Social connections and a sense of community contribute to our overall well-being. Make time for friends and family, or consider joining groups that share your interests.

 

The Role of Functional Health in Preventing Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases—such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity—are on the rise, but functional health offers a beacon of hope. By addressing lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, and managing stress, functional health can play a significant role in preventing these conditions. It’s about making informed choices every day that contribute to long-term health and vitality.

 

FAQs

Q: Can functional health help with existing health conditions?

A: Yes, by addressing the root causes of health issues, functional health can significantly improve and sometimes even reverse chronic conditions.

 

Q: Is functional health the same as alternative medicine?

A: While there are overlaps, functional health is grounded in science and focuses on a holistic approach to conventional and complementary therapies, aiming for optimal wellness.

 

Q: How do I find a functional health practitioner?

A: Look for certified functional medicine practitioners or health coaches who specialize in a holistic, preventive approach to health care.