Clinical Reflections - What Does Progress Look Like?
After being in practice for a couple of years I started to reflect on what can make the most difference to my clients wellness. You see so many stories across social media of people experiencing remission from autoimmune disease (if you’ve joined certain groups) and you’ll see that they did this with the help of a functional medicine practitioner (or simply followed a certain diet, which isn’t always simple for most).
Having made a lot of progress myself, practitioners can fall into the trap of not only feeling the pressure to make those kinds of promises but also after helping many clients achieve remarkable results, you want to see this outcome in every client. But remarkable results don't come from hitting home runs. This is where personalisation really comes into play and instead of aiming for the fences, it’s more important to consider the foundational basics of biology.
The problem with wanting remarkable outcomes is that it influences how wellness is approached. It’s very easy for both practitioner and patient to get trapped into wanting something amazing to happen. But it’s just not an appropriate or effective approach. The second problem with trying to hit home runs is that it can draw your attention away from ‘hitting singles’ - the foundational basics. It may seem slow and less valuable but missing something basic can undermine a patients’ potential for making progress.
My approach is to ask “how can I effectively characterise this person’s biology?” This puts me in the frame of mind needed for identifying problems that I can address. Improving things like iron and glucose is enormously important. Will it make an autoimmune disease go away? Not likely. But the best thing to do is to settle into the patient’s current situation and move forward from there.
Meaningfully improving your life can happen by helping you to do better. And that can only happen by focusing on biology. My approach is to understand the task better and work on ‘hitting singles’ rather than aiming for home runs. It’s exactly how I have approached my own health and despite the years of consistent hard work and detective skills (and a helping of life getting in the way), I have steadily got better and better.
So what does progress look like?
For some, improving nutrient deficiencies will make a huge difference to their life. It’s important of course to dig into why those deficiencies arose in the first place. Was it an infection? Gluten sensitivity? Certain medications? A poor diet? Or SIBO? For others it will be supporting pathways such as methylation or detoxification or understanding themselves more by looking at their genetics.
For some clients it will be changing their mindset. Perhaps that’s around food itself or it will be believing that they can heal, despite what’s going on in their lives. Or it can be improving negative self-talk, maintaining a positive outlook and actively reducing stresses, like toxic relationships for example. Because addressing your emotions is an important part of healing.
And the journey? It’s often not a linear path. You’ll have highs and lows, two steps forward and what feels like 4 steps backward - but it isn’t - because you are also continuously learning about your body and your root causes. Success is never linear, but it’s tempting to believe that when you read success stories. When you hit singles you have a piece of the puzzle to hold in your hand, that always connects to another piece of your puzzle and so on.
Want to feel and function more optimally? Hit the contact page to book your free 30 minute mini consultation today.