When clients seek my help for their suffering, first we must agree: I am not treating or diagnosing disease. What the heck does that mean – if not that, then what are we doing here???
To clarify this, I find it useful to use the image of a train wreck: the accident site is clear. The disaster is right there, people are hurting, everyone is busy trying to clean up the mess. It’s horrible and anyone involved wants the catastrophe fixed – pronto!
In chronic disease, symptoms can be seen akin to that site of the wreck: painful, messy, urgent. For the sufferer, getting rid of the symptoms is the whole point, and what drives the search for help.
But ironically, symptoms are not my focus as a practitioner of Functional Healthcare. Clients who seek me out will not get medical triage. For one thing, I am not a medical doctor, and I do not diagnose or treat disease. What I do is different.
Following on from the metaphor of the train wreck, what I do is look way farther back up the track. I am searching, if you will, for the places the train first went off course. To find that, I am going to focus on your systems, not your symptoms. What I’m looking for is root causes.
All chronic disease is caused by one or more of the following Six Causes of Disease. By testing for these, and evaluating all eleven systems of the body, we hope to get to the root cause of your chronic illness, beginning a journey of a thousand steps with the proper first step.
The Six Causes of Disease
- Unresolved Trauma
- Infections, including bacterial, viral and parasitic
- Genetic Variability
- Nutritional Deficiency
- Toxic Exposure
1. Unresolved Trauma
Did you know that head trauma can cause IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)? There is a “super highway” connecting the head with the gut called the Vagus Nerve. I love the vagus nerve! Allow me to geek out for just a minute: the vagus nerve is one of the many miracles in your body. It keeps things calm, in “feed and breed” mode, going along as it should. But in stress, the body mounts a “fight or flight” response. If a bear is chasing you, you need that mode to enable you to fight or run. But is this mode, the lovely calm functionality of the vagus nerve is “dampened down,” almost as if stress is the foot at the throat of the vagus nerve, choking it.
If head trauma (or other physical trauma, or also emotional trauma) goes unresolved, the vagus nerve never gets to reactivate, and you are kept in a stress response long past the moment of danger. This affects all hormone function, including the serotonin and dopamine of your body, which is mostly manufactured – and used – in the colon! I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that if trauma goes unresolved and unaddressed, your health suffers in many dramatic ways.
What would happen if you continually poked a sleeping bear with a pointed stick? Just little pokes, but constant, and relentless. Can you see the bear eventually awakening with a roar and causing all kinds of mayhem? This is what it’s like to consume, or expose your self to, what you are allergic to. At first your body may shrug it off, but eventually your bear of an immune system will awaken, and it will not be happy!
Allergies can be both acute, in which case you are probably aware of them (like an allergy to cats, or shellfish, or peanuts), but also can be subacute, and cause a delayed immune response. When I did an allergy test on myself, I was shocked to discover several items identified that I consumed and was being exposed to (in my home) on a very regular basis – I was definitely poking my own bear until I knew better!
3. Infections: Bacterial, Viral, Parasitic
No one wants to think that they are walking around with worms or bugs in them. Or pathogenic bacteria or viruses. Especially not in their gut. However…I have seen many a sneaky parasite, or an infection such as Epstein Barr, klebsiella, E. coli, C. Diff or H. Pylori revealed to be at the root of a chronic illness. Many times these bad guys masquerade as other things, too, and remain undetected unless tested for. Lyme Disease (now pushing epidemic status in the US) may currently be the most famous bacterial infection in this category.
4. Genetic Variability
Are you genetically capable of processing grain? You might be surprised to find that 93% of us are not! This is one of the genetic variabilities that can be tested for. Others include MTHFR, and Apolipoprotein E for those with risk factors for Alzheimer’s Disease.
5. Nutritional Deficiency
Chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression, fibromyalgia, inflammation: all of these may have roots in nutritional deficiencies. These are actually just the tip of a huge iceberg of conditions that can be caused by nutritional deficiencies. Also important to note: many deficiencies can be actually caused by prescription medications.
6. Toxic Exposure
Mold, solvents, heavy metals, bisphenol A, pesticides, herbicides, industrial chemicals, pollutants. None of these are on anyone’s ideal breakfast menu! However, with over 200 pollutants such as these identified in newborn babies’ umbilical cord blood, you can assume that we each have our share of them in our bodies. Our bodies have inborn mechanisms to process toxins, but overload can overwhelm our system, not to mention if our system is already compromised in some way.
If the starting point of evaluating your chronic illness does not include evaluation of the above Six Causes of Disease, you have not been properly evaluated. I consider this a baseline component with every client, especially when someone has been after results for a long time, going from doctor to doctor without success. A new baseline must be set by going back to the beginning. I use extremely specialized Functional lab testing to find all six of these causes of disease, so that when my clients and I decide on a course of treatment to address their weaknesses and insufficiencies, the starting point is defined and clear, we have an orderly progression laid out, and we are able to retest to be sure we have reached our goals (for example, eradicating parasites, removing heavy metals, or restoring a healthy microbiome in the gut).
There is a proper Start – Middle – End to treatment. Proper Functional testing for the Six Causes of Disease is the beginning.
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