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    Functional Medicine in London

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

It’s underpinned by the deep appreciation that every single person is biochemically unique and therefore nutrition and lifestyle support should be individualised too.

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How is Functional Medicine different?

Functional Medicine honours that symptoms aren’t merely to be managed or suppressed, but actually listened to by heading as far upstream as possible to understand what’s causing them in the first place.

Conventional Medicine is brilliant in certain situations. Having had friends & family members end up in intensive care because of car accidents or similar, I’m eternally grateful for Conventional Medicine that literally saved their lives.

However, when it comes to long term disease or illness such as PCOS, Conventional Medicine tends to emphasise the need for a diagnosis. Once this has been determined, medications are usually prescribed to manage symptoms.

And while I fully respect that there is certainly a time and place for meds, I’ve often found that when they don’t work or women with PCOS simply want to take another approach, Conventional Medicine has few options to offer; this is simply because it tends to be more focused on symptom management rather than understanding what’s causing the concerns to begin with.

I also want to highlight that this doesn’t have to be a matter of “either/or” – there will be instances where medications might be used AND nutrition & lifestyle factors implemented while we address root causes of your symptoms.

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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.

In Functional Medicine, we view your body as a whole – just as we’d view a Marula Tree as consisting of the roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers & fruit, the same is true of your body.

So instead of focusing on one system alone, in Functional Medicine we deeply appreciate how different systems within your body are integrated & connected. 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 bugs found in the gut (also known as the gut microbiome) play a critical role in oestrogen metabolism so if there’s disruption in the gut, it could send hormones out of whack too.

Wanna view your body as a whole?

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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 symptom 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 indicated changes for each individual based on scientific evidence.
  • Supporting the natural healing & self-regulating mechanisms of the body.
  • Entering into a therapeutic relationship with you.
  • Acknowledging that wellness is about way more than the absence of disease – it’s about being in deep relationship with your body and having the confidence to respond accordingly to all that she is communicating with you.
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lara journey with functional medicine

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.

It was not long after working in various hospital settings whilst struggling big time with PCOS symptoms of my own, that I knew that there absolutely had to be another way.

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 cell in my body. It didn’t take much for me to pop my study cap back on to learn all about this way of doing wellness, particularly when it came to PCOS.

And the best bit about it?

Clients came back with cycles that are regular, skin that’s clear, faces that aren’t hairy, newfound energy and a beautiful appreciation of what growing a trusting relationship with their bodies is all about.

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  • suzanne testimonial
    Suzanne, London
    “I have been absolutely amazed by how things have shifted physically in just six months. My skin has cleared up, my periods & cycles have shortened, my weight has shifted, I no longer get daily headaches, I can concentrate on tasks, I’ve learnt how to deal with my anxiety and I have energy again! My view of my body has also changed completely through working with Lara.. I had close to given up on the hope of being healthy again but Lara was so thorough and dedicated to helping me, and I can honestly say it has changed my life. I would absolutely recommend Lara and Bloom, The Marula Wellness Signature Program!”
  • malena testimonial
    Malena, London
    “Since implementing Lara’s recommendations, I’ve had my period every month for the last 6 months; for someone with PCOS this is a massive achievement! My cystic acne also gradually improved and has now cleared up significantly. Lara is super compassionate as she has dealt with these issues herself, and she also truly cares about her clients. She’s really relatable and listens to everything you have to say. Lara made me feel really comfortable talking to her about my personal issues/symptoms. She’s very patient and works around your lifestyle and has great advice. She’s there every step of the way.”
  • anjali testimonial
    Anjali, Essex
    “Within a month of working with Lara I got my period back after not having it for nine months! And throughout the duration of working together, my skin became clearer, my brain fog lifted, I had so much more energy, my weight shifted, my mood & focus were significantly better and I experienced massive improvements in my digestive health too! I also became motivated to go to the gym without feeling shame, my old clothes fit comfortably again and my overall confidence soared. I would 100% recommend Lara – her guidance and knowledge have changed my life for the better and I cannot thank her enough!”
  • maya testimonial
    Maya, Australia
    “Over the six months of working with Lara, I now feel like a completely new person. I now have more regular cycles, more energy, less acne and I was also able to improve my insulin resistance and lose weight; I really could not have done that without Lara’s help.”
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    Sarah, London
    “My digestive problems have now improved enormously and after a few months my periods came back and have been less painful and more regular than they had been and am feeling a lot healthier overall. Lara really does go above and beyond what I would have expected from working with a dietitian. I would absolutely recommend Lara – for me it has been completely worth the money and I feel so much better now than I did 6 months ago!”
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    my ongoing functional medicine journey

    My Ongoing Journey with Functional Medicine

    For the last few 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 also continue to learn from internationally-renowned Functional Medicine Practitioners through in-depth continuous education courses and conferences.

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    What to Expect from My Functional Medicine Approach

    I differ from many other functional medicine practitioners in a few ways:

    1. High Level of Support

    Rather than the sporadic nature of one-off consultations, through Bloom: The Marula Wellness Signature Program, I instead offer much more solid support.

    You can be confident that you’re in the hands of someone (me!) with up-to-date, evidence-based knowledge who is walking alongside you every step of the way on your PCOS journey – something that ad hoc sessions simply don’t allow for.

    This means that I get to know your story, your body and your current lifestyle in depth. I get to understand you as a human being. This helps me to know what changes to recommend that are personalised to you, that are realistic (and therefore sustainable) and that will ultimately make a real difference in reversing your PCOS symptoms while growing a trusting relationship with your body.

    You’ll be tracking your intake and the severity of your individualised symptoms on a safe and secure platform that we’ll be using while working together; anchored in curiosity & non-judgement, I review these entries from Monday – Friday (with a 24 hour response time). So rather than waiting weeks for a reply, you get real-time support – we can therefore make tweaks easily and that helps you move way further down the line of reversing your PCOS symptoms and making the desires for your body (and life) your lived reality.

    It’s one thing to know the saying that “healing isn’t linear” but it’s another thing to have dedicated support to navigate the more bumpy patches of your PCOS journey. And that’s exactly what Bloom allows for – because we’re in such close contact, you can share when you’re struggling so that I can not only hold space for that but also provide tools & insights to support you in moving through it.

    The bottom line is that Bloom: The Marula Wellness Signature Program, provides the container for high level support where I show up 100% for you, and allow you to do the same for yourself.

    2. Timeframe

    We’re not about quick fixes here at Marula Wellness, and through the six months of journeying together, I want to help you untangle from any such thinking that “it’s been 17 days and you’re not completely better already”. The blame, shame & bucket loads of disappointment that comes with quick-fix promises is what keeps us stuck in the “nothing is working” cycle that simply doesn’t serve you.

    It’s also important to remember that when we’ve been dealing with symptoms for two, three, five, ten + years, six months is but a relative drop in the ocean.

    Through a six month time-frame, we give you time to make realistic changes, we give the changes time to take hold, we give you time to establish a trusting relationship with your body and we give your body time to respond – and in doing so, we honour you entirely.

    3. Foundational Factors

    Many functional medicine practitioners focus heavily on fancy-pants tests and supplements. I get it – it’s way more ‘sexy’ to chase test results and start elaborate supplement protocols than it is to focus on the seemingly mundane factors that we innately know are important but always sideline when it comes to implementing them.

    But not in Bloom: The Marula Wellness Signature Program.

    As we journey together, I support you in understanding what your foundational food & lifestyle factors are, and together we find fun & creative ways to implement them as we work towards reversing your PCOS symptoms.

    Don’t get me wrong though – I’m super grateful for many tests and supplements out there, and I do make use of some of them when indicated, they’re just not my starting point. Here’s why:

    I’ve had many clients come to me after working with other functional medicine practitioners or very specialist doctors, and they find themselves in complete overwhelm – they’ve done every test under the sun, are taking a list of supplements longer than both arms and still feel as stuck as when they first started. Or in the instances where symptoms do improve, it’s temporary.

    But when we focus on the foundational factors first that are tailored to you? There’s a very different outcome.

    Focusing on tests & supplements while overlooking foundational factors is a bit like planting the best quality seed in really dry, crusty soil – yes, having great quality seed is wonderful but the health of the soil is more essential to focus on to start with.

    The same is true for you – there are certain foundational factors that are necessary for reversing your PCOS symptoms, before diving into extensive testing & supplement taking.

    In Bloom: The Marula Wellness Signature Program, that’s exactly what we do – we set you up with the foundational factors and when indicated, use testing & targeted supplements to optimise matters even further.

    There will be instances where both happen alongside each other, but either way foundational factors are never overlooked.

    4. Going Deeper Before Going Wider

    Have you ever felt that using food & lifestyle factors to reverse your PCOS symptoms feels like a full time job?

    There are SO many recommendations out there that many of my clients say that on their own, they simply don’t know where to start.

    A core Marula Wellness philosophy is to go deeper before going wider.

    In Bloom: The Marula Wellness Signature Program, I help cut through the noise of endless suggestions that leave you in a tailspin, and laser focus on the factors that are actually going to make a difference in reversing your PCOS symptoms.

    5. Emphasis on Growing a Trusting Relationship with Your Body

    Growing a trusting relationship with your body is one of the most important things on this journey, and is an integral part of working with me. Here’s why:

    Firstly, I see time and time again that many women will reverse their PCOS symptoms but because they haven’t been intentional about growing a trusting relationship with their body, when flare ups happen (because life happens), they’re back to square one of being overcome with fear & frustration. Whereas for the women I work with, they’re able to anchor into understanding what their body is communicating with them, and from a place of care & kindness towards themselves & their body, respond accordingly. In time, they’re also able to acknowledge how flare ups can even be appropriate responses to given situations, thereby providing profound information.

    Secondly, in restoring a trusting relationship with your body, you’ve then got an ally & a sovereign guide for life. Through ongoing practice, you’re able to tune into your body for making both big & small decisions in life – I cannot underscore the enormity of this gift enough.

    And very few other functional medicine practitioners even acknowledge this let alone support you with it.

    6. Never Viewing Your Body as Something to be ‘Fixed’ or ‘Managed’

    Many functional medicine practitioners use the language of ‘fixing’ or ‘managing’ your body or your PCOS symptoms.

    Neither sit well with me.

    You’re not broken and instead of becoming the ‘CEO’ of your body and viewing her as something to be controlled, I’m way more interested in supporting you to grow a trusting relationship with your body for all the reasons spoken about above.

    7. My Virtual Functional Medicine Clinic

    Pre the Zoom-surge of 2020, I was already 90% online and therefore able to support clients around the globe – I’ve worked with women in Cape Town, LA, Lebanon, London, Manchester, Melbourne, Morocco, North Carolina, Spain, Wales and Zimbabwe.

    Now, all consultations are carried out online and this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future as my clients enjoy the ease that such a set up provides.

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    pcos nutritionist lara rickard

    If you’re a yes, yes, yes to all of the above?

    Your best next step is to book in a Complimentary Discovery Call by clicking the button below:

    marula meal plan magic
    Marula Meal Plan Magic

    You’ll get three days of simple & delicious recipes (with shopping lists et al) that support in reversing your PCOS symptoms.

    They’re so good, you’ll be cartwheeling your way to the kitchen from excitement while saying BYE FELICIA! to the overwhelm that consumes you when you think about how or where to start with food & PCOS.

    Don’t believe me?

    Download your Marula Meal Plan Magic free guide right now, and just watch!

    By submitting your email address, you’re a heck YES! to receiving additional emails from Marula Wellness. They’re kinda like getting a bouquet of blossoms delivered to your inbox every week – packed with helpful resources, exciting offers and tales of my own unfolding PCOS journey. Also, because I’m no longer active on social media, this is the only way to keep in touch with me! If at any point you want out though? It’s as easy as paint-by-numbers to unsubscribe. For more information about how your data is processed, please visit my privacy policy.

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