One of the best resources functional healthcare practitioners have is each other.
A supportive, like-minded community that can learn through shared experience is vital to the advancement of root-cause healthcare and the work needed to change a well-established, but broken, healthcare system.
It is incredibly important to me to be part of that support system, but how I do that “depends”.
When I respond to questions from colleagues, I would love to give easy, direct answers that will help bring quick resolution to what are often baffling health issues they so desperately want to help their clients resolve. But more often than not, I begin my answer with “it depends”. Sometimes I even hesitate before those words come out of my mouth because I know it isn’t what people want to hear.
I had that experience in my latest podcast, Practical Answers To Common Metabolic Questions. I was fielding questions from practitioners regarding everything from, “How long does it take to reverse metabolic imbalance?” to “How do I know the best eating and fasting window for my clients?” Guess how I began practically every response before diving into details? Yep, “It depends.”
I promise it’s not a copout. The fact is, “it depends” is what distinguishes true functional healthcare practitioners from all the rest. Standing behind “it depends” is all the work that goes into customized, effective healthcare. There aren’t many shortcuts. Yes, there can be familiar trends and symptoms that point to a specific root problem, but how that problem is best approached “depends” and is as unique as the person you are helping.
Early in my practice, I began to focus on blood sugar because I recognized its basic importance to overall health. When working with a new client, exploring what their blood sugar was doing and teaching them to monitor and track how it responded to their diet became a revelatory place to start.
Over and over it would happen; if a client got control of their blood sugar, health issues began to resolve themselves. My years of success with this became my inspiration for The Sweet Spot program and Staying In The Sweet Spot, the follow-up, maintenance program.
Despite the successes, there was a disturbing pattern. Clients would be cruising along having amazing results, doing everything they were asked and improving their health by leaps and bounds, when progress would begin to slow or stop. It was as frustrating to me as them.
No matter what the illness, it became glaringly obvious that many people have issues beyond the physical imbalances they’re trying to address; mindset issues, hidden emotional traumas, poor sleep, all of which impacts their ability to stay on the path to wellness.
The answer can get hung up in the chicken or the egg scenario; which came first, the physical ailment or the psychological stressors? Ultimately it doesn’t matter. The body is a complex system of which there are no independent parts. Health must be approached in a holistic way if there is to be lasting change for the better.
The 7 Body Freedom Pillars
So I could better understand and identify what was happening with my clients, I began breaking down different aspects of overall health that are crucial to supporting the major body systems. My work became the 7 Body Freedom Pillars.
I’m happy to say there is no “it depends” associated with the pillars. In my practice they are an important investigative tool and a primary part of the personalized wellness plans created for every client.
The pillars are the foundation upon which lasting health is built. When time and attention are not given to each, there is no lasting stability. If ignored, the effectiveness of hard-fought changes, made to support wellness, begin to fade.
Fun: Frequently overlooked, enjoyment is the cornerstone to achieving vibrant health. Are you making time each day for fun?
Restful Sleep: Restful and restorative sleep is integral to healing and rejuvenation processes. Are you getting the sleep you need?
Exercise: Exercise at a level appropriate for your current health status optimizes all health gains. Have you made fitness a part of your daily routine?
Environment: Environmental toxins contribute to illness as much or more than poor food choices and lack of exercise. Have you cleaned up your environment and do you avoid exposure?
Diet: The best diet is as unique as the person. Have you done the work to optimize your diet?
Outlook: What you think is just as important to your health as the food you put in your body, the exercise you do, your environmental exposures and the restful sleep you give yourself each night. Do you hold a positive vision of what you want to achieve? Have you let go of negative and limiting beliefs?
Mindfulness: The chemistry of stress is very damaging to your body and can leave you exhausted, overweight, and foggy-brained. Have you dealt with the stressful events in your life in a safe and effective manner?
When I introduce the 7 Body Freedom Pillars to clients and NEPT (Nutritional Endocrinology Practitioner Training) students, it comes with assessments that explore how stable their pillars are. It also comes with resources and tools that provide ways in which they can improve on those pillars that need work.
The Learning Curve
There’s a learning curve with the 7 Body Freedom Pillars. Clients have a tendency not to take it seriously and rush by them, focused instead on finding the “quick fix”; the missing supplement, the perfect protocol, the magic bullet.
It isn’t until all the time, energy, and often the financial investment they’ve made in their health starts diminishing that, with some encouragement, they return to the pillars to investigate. Sure enough, something in their foundation has changed. They won’t be sleeping as well, they’ve stopped exercising or there is new stress brought on by changing life circumstances that hasn’t been addressed.
It never fails, one of their pillars has begun to wobble.
When clients and practitioners invest in the 7 Body Freedom Pillars, it changes their perspective of what true wellness really is and what it takes to achieve it. Addressing the condition of each pillar leads to developing the strong foundation required to support all body systems. This in turn helps create the lasting results clients and practitioners are working so hard to achieve.
I share them with love and the hope you will find working with them as effective and rewarding as I have.
Did you know?
When I’m working with a client that is doing everything right, but becomes stuck for no apparent reason, I know it’s time to dig deeper.
A ground-breaking public health study published in 1998 discovered that childhood trauma leads to adult onset of chronic disease, both physical and mental. By completing a simple questionnaire, clients come up with a number referred to as their ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences score). Although only a guideline, it can help clarify the best, next step.
If it is appropriate and they are open to it, I often recommend clients work with one of my NEPT graduates, Kimberly Ward. A somatic trauma therapist and functional nutrition practitioner, Kimberly joined forces with Laura Fine, an energy healing therapist, and together co-founded Transpersonal Energy Healing Therapy.
With decades of professional training and experience, they developed a powerful and highly effective system that focuses on unwinding the root cause of disease brought on by past trauma.
Once the past trauma is energetically cleared, it’s remarkable how clients progress. I highly recommend it for those that are in need of this work. Most are.
Chronic stress puts your health at risk – Mayo Clinic
The Power of Positive Thinking | Johns Hopkins Medicine
How Environmental Toxins Can Impact Your Health – Cleveland Clinic
5 Wonders of Restorative Sleep? | SleepScore
Why Do We Sleep? Understanding Sleep Theories
Adverse Childhood Experiences – What are ACES? | American SPCC
Somatic Experiencing: How It Can Help You