It is a valid question. Indeed, it is one of the core questions of all of humanity. But, it must be followed by another question, "What does WELL actually mean?"
You probably agree with our conviction that true wellness is far more than just the perception of absence of disease. Your wellness is your capability to do what you want to do, to become who you want to become, for all of your life. We believe that you are the architect of your own definition of wellness - what we call True Life.
What is Functional Medicine and How Does True Life Alliance Deliver it to Me?
Functional Medicine is the term that defines the way we think, our medical worldview, or the lens through which we see the Human Story.
The Institute of Functional Medicine is the lead organizing body and where Randy James, MD received his full certification as a Functional Medicine Practitioner. Their website is a robust resource for further details about the history and growth of Functional Medicine - www.ifm.org
In essence, this philosophy is based on the fact that YOU define the Function of your life, and Medicine (the philosophy, not "medications") is there primarily to support your goals for True Life, and is NOT primarily there to "treat an illness."
Any symptoms one experiences are therefore not primarily pointing out a need for a medication or treatment, but are pointing to "dysfunction" somewhere in the whole construct of your life (whether social, emotional, physical, etc). We call those "root causes."
Consequently, there is no one resource that can get you and keep you well. In fact, Dr. James is fond of saying, "No one is ever completely well. All of us, no matter how unwell or well we perceive ourselves, can be well-er."
Progressing on this path requires a comprehensive approach. Functional Medicine focuses on four key areas:
- Mind/Body Connection and Relationships
In True Life Alliance, we have expanded on these and reference them as
In True Life Alliance, we have groups - community classrooms, if you will - for each area. We do NOT have a library of information in there. Our focus is live, weekly webinars with live discussion and ongoing Q&A in the forums where we have real life discussion on applying our Functional Medicine methodology to your life.
Your "True Life" is defined by you and you alone. We generally look at symptoms and performance. How many symptoms are you willing to submit to and live with, and how high do you want your performance to be? Dr. James is fond of asking patients in the clinic about their goals for life in this fashion, "In the future, do you want to be performing at an olympic level? Or, are you content with the slow fade into a nursing home? Probably neither, but you need to clarify what you want, then we will develop a plan to get you going in that direction."
People are surprised when Dr. James goes through the list of common American maladies such as headaches, PMS, heartburn, and more that we often are not even aware of, accepting them as a "normal part of life." But, while it is a fact that all of us will sometimes be unwell, that should not lead us to think these symptoms are "normal." They are not. They are the consequence of root causes. Therefore, while there is never a guaranteed "cure," your symptoms can be addressed, and you can hope for improvement.
Your True Life is not some "pie-in-the-sky" vision of perfect or optimum wellness. It is a rational, realistic vision of who you are becoming. Functional Medicine is an evidenced based, realistic approach of how to live towards that vision.
Again, for a comprehensive overview of Functional Medicine, please visit www.ifm.og
Traditional medicine in America is a wonderful system to effectively care for acute illness or trauma.
"If you are in a car wreck, and your body is mangled, or you develop sudden severe nausea, you want to be in America. We have an efficient and skillful system for putting people back together and helping them feel better," explains Randy James, MD.
However, the success of that system has led, in part, to the problem we have in American health care. We have been trying to solve the chronic symptoms of root causes by using the lessons learned in acute care.
Lets take heartburn, for example. We have excellent medicines that will quickly reduce one's symptoms, and that is wonderful, for the rare/acute occasion. But, our doctors are recommending that one take these kinds of medications chronically rather than finding and addressing the root causes.
Consequently, we are spending trillions managing diseases and symptoms rather than going to the roots of the problems and spending our time and effort there, aiming at actual improvement of the dysfunction.
At True Life Alliance, we believe there is a better way. Functional Medicine gives credit to our traditional medical system when it comes to acute care, and it is leading the way in providing a comprehensive program to inspire all of us towards our True Life.