What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is a science-based approach to health that aims to establish + address the underlying cause of disease, illness or symptoms.

It’s underpinned by the deep appreciation that every single person is biochemically unique and therefore treatment for each individual should be too.

How is Functional Medicine different?

Functional Medicine addresses the root cause

Conventional Medicine is brilliant in acute settings – for example in the instance of car accidents. Having had friends + family members end up in intensive care because of the above, I’m eternally grateful for Conventional Medicine that literally saved their lives.

However, when it comes to long term disease or illness, Conventional Medicine tends to emphasise the need for a diagnosis. Once this has been determined, drugs (that typically come with numerous side effects) are usually prescribed + symptoms are merely managed. Which is fine, if that’s what one wants to settle for.

But “settling” certainly doesn’t lead to a flourishing body + full life.

So Functional Medicine takes the approach of optimising health by making changes to nutrition + lifestyle factors whilst addressing the root cause of the concern. It might take a bit more effort than popping a few pills but when you get to feel fully like yourself again at the end of it?

It’s worth it.

“I love using food + lifestyle changes to tackle my digestive + hormonal issues – they are approaches that have really opened my eyes to the world of nutrition + wellness, which has changed my life forever.”

Grace T, London

Functional Medicine views your body as a whole

Conventional Medicine typically sees the body as compartmentalised organs: if you’ve got skin issues, you end up at a dermatologist. Gut issues? Gastroenterologist. Heart problems? Cardiologist. Female hormone health concerns? Off you go to the gynaecologist. And so on and so forth.

But that’s not how the body’s made up.

So in Functional Medicine, we view your body as a whole – an artwork of integrated (rather than separate) systems – that make up you, an entire human being. By doing this, we’re better able to understand how each biological system not only works but also impacts on each other.

For example, period problems such as oestrogen dominance (with symptoms of heavy periods, breast tenderness, PMS, weight that won’t shift) are very much linked to the gut; one of the reasons being that the gut micro biome (the bugs found in the gut) plays a critical role in oestrogen metabolism so if there’s disruption in the gut, it could send hormones out of whack too.

The Functional Medicine Tree

A really helpful way of understanding this is through the Functional Medicine Tree which visually demonstrates how everything is connected. Here, we’re also able to see all the factors that are considered when it comes to establishing + addressing the root cause of concern.

functional medicine tree image

Souce / credit: Institute of Functional Medicine.

“I recommended working with Lara to all my friends, family, colleagues + people I meet out and about because you CAN address the symptoms that are making you feel unwell rather than settling for the belief that ‘it’s just the way you are’.”

Leila M, London

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What is a Functional Medicine Practitioner?

Instead of asking “What drug matches the disease?”, a Functional Medicine Practitioner asks “Why do you have this problem to begin with?” – and then together with you, we set out to establish exactly that.

A Functional Medicine Practitioner’s approach is founded on these fundamental factors:

  • Doing no harm
  • Seeking to understand why continuously
  • Personalising health care for each individual based on scientific evidence
  • Supporting the natural healing + self-regulating mechanisms of the body
  • Entering into a therapeutic relationship between patient + practitioner
  • Acknowledging that health is about more than the absence of disease – it’s about an achievable state of vitality

Why? Because a Function Medicine Practitioner knows that a flourishing body leads to a flourishing life.

And surely that’s the whole reason we’re here?

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My journey with Functional Medicine

Nutrition fascinates me. And the human body amazes me. It’s no wonder I went on to get a BSc Degree in Dietetics + become an HCPC registered dietitian.

But not long after working in various hospital settings, I found myself increasingly frustrated + deflated by a system that didn’t address chronic health concerns in a meaningful + satisfactory way.

I felt just as desperate + confused as the very people I was trying to help. Not to mention the health challenges of my own.

So I set out to see how I could do more, be more, make a meaningful difference. Cue: Functional Medicine – an approach that resonated with every single fibre in my being. It didn’t take much for me to pop my study cap back on to learn all about this way of doing wellness.

And the best bit about it? Clients came back with guts that were good, periods that were pleasant (yes – you read right!) and a beautiful appreciation of what supporting + honouring their own bodies is all about.

For the last couple of years, I’ve also had the incredible privilege of working with + being mentored by one of London’s top Functional Medicine Practitioners, Steve Grant. We continue to work closely together + I’m forever grateful to be able to learn from him.

Because I believe in bettering ourselves + improving on skill whenever possible, I’m currently enrolled in a 10 month course from Andrea Nakayama: an internationally-renowned Functional Medicine Practitioner who is a pioneer in both the art + science of Functional Medicine.

“Lara is very thorough in her approach and has definitely helped me reduce stomach sensitivity and identify my main triggers.”

Helen B, London

What to expect from my Functional Medicine approach?

Even before your initial consultation, your journey begins. You’ll be asked (nicely) to complete a comprehensive questionnaire detailing everything from your health history to that of your great grandmas twice removed (jokes – not quite, but almost).

From this information, I’ll already start to put together pieces of your puzzle in a way that allows me to better understand your individual story, health challenges + personal goals. This way, during your initial consultation, we get to focus on the areas of primary importance.

We’ll also dive more deeply into your medical history, family history, symptoms, current lifestyle, nutrition habits, stressors + any recent lab tests you’ve already had done (not to panic if you don’t have any).

Based on the above, I’ll make some suggestions for getting you + your bod back on the same team – we chat through these together because I’m all about keeping things achievable, realistic + sustainable.

I’ll then also recommend what level of support is best suited to you going forward so that you can lay the best possible foundation for honouring your body.

My Functional Medicine Clinic in Old Street, London

I run a busy clinic out of 42 Acres which is a beautiful + tranquil space less than a two minute walk from the Old Street tube station. I also see clients on Skype – all the way from Singapore to Vancouver to LA bebe.

So if you’re keen to get started, feel free to book yourself in or pop me a message – my door’s open + I’m always happy to chat.

“Lara is innovative and very up to date, often seeking out new approaches and tailoring them to your individual needs. Having been round the NHS system of nutritionists and dieticians, Lara is in a league of her own. I trust her 100% with my wellbeing and would encourage anyone to do the same.”

Mala S, London

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