Functional Medicine

Torus Therapy is happy to announce a partnership with Balance Wellness Centers offering Functional Medicine Coaching.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine focuses on identifying and treating the ROOT CAUSE of disease. Most of the focus is on how our food and lifestyle choices facilitate healing and wellness. Our gut houses a large majority of our immune system. Therefore, we keep a strong focus on gut health. You may not know that you are eating inflammatory or trigger foods and that they can exacerbate disease symptoms. Simply removing these foods can help facilitate healing. Rather than focusing on diagnosing DYSFUNCTION within the body, Functional Medicine works towards achieving optimal FUNCTION. In traditional medicine the routine bloodwork being run is rarely comprehensive and is looking for dysfunction significant enough to earn a diagnosis. In a functional medicine approach, we are trying to identify patterns early so we don’t earn a diagnosis and end up in a dis-eased state.

What is a Health Coach?

Think of your health coach as your partner on your journey to wellness, an advocate, a guide, and your support system. We are here to answer questions, offer advice, help you dig to discover the root of your symptoms and guide to on your individualized path to wellness. We are teachers who are passionate about health and wellness and are doing the work we ask of our clients.

Why we do it?

Our society is riddled with (avoidable/reversable) dis-ease. Many of these conditions are due to lifestyle and dietary choices. We choose functional medicine because we are ready to take back control of our health. In 2019, 11.3% of the population had diabetes, that is 37.3 million people! Every year, 1.4 million Americans receive a diabetes diagnosis and 96 million of us ages 18+ had prediabetes in 20191. This is just one example of a disease (Type II) that is related to lifestyle factors and can be reversed. It is my passion to educate and empower people, so they are not failing victim to a broken system. Autoimmunity is another such condition.

The NIH estimates 23.5 million people have at least one autoimmune disease, but only accounts for 40 different diseases, researchers have identified more than 80 different autoimmune conditions and other estimates put the number of people living with autoimmunity closer to 50 million. The truth is autoimmunity is not a life sentence for most of us, but the majority of these people aren’t given this information. Through diet and lifestyle change, autoimmunity, even MS can be reversed. Food and gut health also play a major role in our mental health and can contribute to both anxiety and depression.

The science behind it?

In a 2016 study, it was found that 34% of participants with celiac disease also presented with minor affective disorders. While bipolar patients showed increased levels on anti-gliadin antibodies (we use this marker to determine gluten sensitivity)2. Additionally, an imbalance of the gut microbiome (the bacteria living in our intestines) has been associated with conditions like depression and anxiety2.

Nutritional deficiencies can also play a role in mood disorders. Another study in 2005 shows that low levels of vitamin B12 and folate are common in patients with major depression3. This study also notes that deficiencies in folate levels will diminish the effect of antidepressant medication3. A 2020 study found that our nutritional choices have a significant impact on our level of inflammation as well as our hormonal balance, both of which are linked to insomnia4. I’m sure we can all agree that a lack of quality sleep can negatively impact our mood, mental well-being, and our life.

These are just a few examples of how and why proper nutrition, identifying inflammatory foods and/or environmental triggers, and a healthy lifestyle can have a major impact on a person’s physical health and well-being as well as their mental health.

How does it impact one’s life?

The impact a functional medicine approach can have on a person’s life is boundless. From improved mood, increased energy, better sleep, less inflammation, reduced pain, improved digestion and assimilation of nutrients, clear skin, reversal of dis-ease, and getting off medications, the list goes on and on.

How does it impact one’s mind, body, spirit?

In my experience, this approach has a profound impact on the body which leads to a profound impact on the mind and spirit. People feel like they have a new lease on life, they often report that they “finally feel like themselves again”. People step out of the victim role, are no longer identify as their dis-eased state and are taking control. They step into their power, feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Many times, they lose a lot of weight and can do things they love but didn’t feel comfortable doing when they were heavier (and now they have all that energy too!) They start to see other areas of their lives where they can start to make positive changes. The momentum is contagious. I’ve even witnessed people who have had multiple miscarriages finally be able to have a baby! It is an amazing transformation to witness, and I am honored to be a part of this journey.

To read more about Functional Medicine or to schedule with Ashley Hendrickson, National Board Certified Health Coach, FDN-Practitoner, please go to Balance Wellness Centers.

  1. American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes.
  2. Casella G, Pozzi R, Cigognetti M, et al. Mood disorders and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Minerva Gastroenterol Dietol. 2017;63(1):32-37. doi:10.23736/S1121-421X.16.02325-4
  3. Coppen A, Bolander-Gouaille C. Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12. J Psychopharmacol. 2005;19(1):59-65. doi:10.1177/0269881105048899
  4. Zhao M, Tuo H, Wang S, Zhao L. The Effects of Dietary Nutrition on Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Mediators Inflamm. 2020;2020:3142874. doi:10.1155/2020/3142874