The 30,000 Foot View

There are so many misconceptions about functional medicine.

It’s more than just nutrition. It’s a systemized approach, that is, really a whole new way of thinking.

I recently put together a video to give you a 30,000 foot view of a personalized functional medicine program and how it can be taken down to a grain of sand to find the root cause of a patient’s problem.

Using the GoToIt, DigIn and 5R processes, we as physiotherapists can take away the guessing and create more targeted personalized plans for quicker patient outcomes.

After all, our goal as therapists is the ultimate patient outcome.

Let’s look at each step of the systemized approach as it relates to the specific example of digestion. This holistic approach can be applied to hormones, energy, structural integrity, detoxification, and more.

The best way to remember the process to uncover root cause is GoToIt. This stands for:

  • Gather information
  • Organize that information to find the imbalances within the patient’s system
  • Tell the story to build a relationship with your patient and show your presence as their caregiver
  • Order whatever is happening by priority to determine what we need to do to gather more data
  • Initiate a personalized plan
  • Track and fine tune that plan

The first step is to gather information with DigIn:

  • Digestion and malabsorption: Gather information find out if there is an issue. Don’t be afraid of lab tests such stool analysis which can help you understand how to put a personalized program together. The more data you have the better
  • Intestinal permeability: Often known as “leaky gut,” this is when epithelial cells in the intestines break apart allowing food particles not digested completly to be released into systom and cause havoc in a number of ways. It can be measured in lab testing through zonulin (the compound that is released when epithelial cells in the intestines break apart).
  • Gut microbiome: What is the integrity as far as the biodiversity of the good bacteria and bad bacteria in the system? What is the composition? Is there diversity? Are there parasites?
  • Immune regulation: Through testing, look at markers for oxidative stress and inflammation to determine if there is an inflammatory process happening in the intestines.
  • Nervous system: Is there an imbalance in the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems created through stress? It is fundamental for therapists to know causes for this imbalance and to help that patient through whatever nervous system irregulation has developed using therapy skills.

Once we’ve gathered all that information and realized that digestion may be an issue, it’s time to put a personalized program together for a great patient outcome. To do this we use 5R:

  • Remove: Parasites, food, and similar that may be causing irritation or continuing the process of creating symptoms. These are identified in the lab panels.
  • Replace: There may be certain things such as acid or enzymes that need to be replaced in the system.
  • Reinoculate: When there is an issue of gut diversity, bring back probiotic biodiversity to create a bioform that helps protect the intestine. It is the solid first barrier to the outside world and requires protection to reduce oxidative stress and immune disregulation.
  • Repair: Using the information identified during the DigIn process, bring in certain nutrients like L Glutamine (fundamental amino acid that repairs gut), zinc, slippery elm, etc. to repair the system.
  • Rebalance: Rebalance the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, fundamental in keeping good peristalsis, to help control cortisol levels which can upset digestive system.

Functional medicine is a systematic approach that can help you uncover the root causes of your patients’ symptoms and develop deeper, more meaningful connections with them to become their “go-to” provider.

Watch the full video here, and let me know your thoughts on this approach to physiotherapy.