The Functional Medicine Tree: Roots, Branches, and Fruits of Wellness

Believe it or not, the way a tree grows healthy (or not) can be compared to how individuals do. Using a tree as an example, with its roots, branches, and fruits, then, can help us understand how wellness or disease can result from our environment, conditions, & lifestyle. Using the functional medicine tree as an analogy helps describe the essence of functional medicine.
The concept of the Functional Medicine tree.
Functional practitioners look at a person holistically and often use the analogy of a tree. The functional medicine tree is a perfect concept to relate how the body’s metabolic functions are interconnected. Consider that the branches of a tree are your body’s metabolic systems. How they function has a lot to do with the content of the “soil” and how the “roots” deliver water and nutrients as they do for a tree. How your metabolism is functioning actually has more to do with your environment, diet, and lifestyle, than your genetics.

If your diet and lifestyle are not supporting your body’s metabolic functions optimally, metabolic dysfunction can result. This is what Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioners (FDN-P’s) term, Metabolic Chaos®. To help identify which systems are imbalanced, FDN-P’s use functional lab testing to uncover imbalances in digestion, carbohydrate metabolism, immune system, detoxification and elimination, nervous system, hormones, and musculoskeletal systems.

The roots of the tree deliver the nutrients to make the branches healthy. If there is poor quality soil or not enough water, the tree may become diseased. From a functional perspective, diet and lifestyle can be compared to the roots of a tree. In coaching clients, this would include helping them to uncover hidden causes of metabolic imbalances with functional lab testing; finding the right diet for their body type; guiding them on the appropriate amount of movement and exercise; addressing opportunities to improve sleep and rest; supporting them with techniques to manage their stress; and, providing natural supplement recommendations where needed.

While functional practitioners may also have access to lab testing, most are not coaches and are unable to dedicate the time needed for coaching sessions to help people manage change and goal-setting to achieve their ideal level of wellness. Through special coaching techniques that are unique to certified coaches, coaching sessions are designed to help clients find balance, positivity and to live their values so that they can live their fullest lives. In addition, coaches who are Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioners can provide their clients access to lab testing and analysis and provide a personalized holistic healing protocol with coaching support.

The fruits of the functional medicine tree are the outputs of a healthy lifestyle and the realization of wellness. I work on helping my clients develop their personal vision and successfully achieve their goals whether it may be to improve their energy, balance their metabolism, find peace from chronic inflammation and pain, and/or increase vitality or passion so that they can feel better, move better, and live better. For further information on how functional practitioners work, see my blog.

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