What is “Functional Wellness”?

As many of you know, I am Functional Wellness Practitioner.  But what is functional wellness, anyway?

Functional Wellness is a natural, holistic, preventative “self” care model that seeks to detect and eliminate the underlying bodily malfunctions that lead to symptoms.  It is living a lifestyle that focuses on prevention of disease rather than treating disease that has already taken hold.  

What is “health” or “wellness” anyway?  How do you define it?  Is it simply the absence of disease? Is it simply being alive and able to function?

Below are the basic tenets of Functional Wellness:

  • Do not attempt to diagnose or treat disease.  That is simply not what functional wellness is about.
  • View the body holistically.  Our bodies are complex organisms with many different regulating systems that are interconnected with each other and dependent on each other for proper function.
  • “Healthy” means 100% function in a living being at the cellular level and living in a state of homeostasis.  In other words, a truly healthy individual would exhibit the following attributes:
    • Absence of disease (obviously).
    • Hormones are in perfect balance.
    • Eats a perfect diet and has no weight issues.
    • Has boundless energy, is extremely active and gets plenty of relaxation and play in the sun each day.
    • Liver is working at peak function while detoxifying the body.
    • Digestive system is at peak functionality.  No heartburn, gas, bloating, belly aches, constipation, diarrhea, reflux, GERD, Crohn’s.
    • No joint pain, inflammation or headaches and no need to take pills other than supplements for preventative measures.
    • Strong immune system.  Rarely gets sick and, when sick usually beats it very quickly.
    • Rarely if ever gets depressed other than every now and then while dealing with situational depression (i.e. death of a family member of other serious life event).
    • Excellent muscle tone and strength.
    • No sexual dysfunction or infertility.
  • The vast majority of us are not healthy! 
    • Most of us go through life experiencing a myriad of nagging symptoms every day but we are taught by our current healthcare system that these are just normal aspects of being alive, and we should take pharmaceutical prescription and over-the-counter drugs to alleviate the discomfort caused by them. 
    • everyday living exposes us to toxins, chemicals, radiation, pesticides, food sensitivities, bacteria, parasites, lack of sleep, and stress that throws the equilibrium of our bodies out of whack and causes hidden malfunctions to occur.
  • Our bodies “speak” to us every day.  We need to listen!
    • Symptoms are the language that our bodies use to tell us that something is malfunctioning inside of us. 
    • Not listening to our bodies or simply “masking” the symptoms with pain-killers, antacids, sleeping pills, statins, blood-pressure lowering medications or other drugs is a dangerous game.  Masking a symptom does not make it go away and it sets the stage for disease to occur in the body. 
    • Headaches are not caused by a “lack of ibuprofen”, depression is not caused by a “lack of Prozac”, and acid reflux is not caused by a “lack of antacid”.
  • Seek to uncover the root cause(s) of symptoms, and to bring the body back into balance naturally.
    • Through functional lab work, we uncover imbalances and malfunctions or “healing opportunities” in the body, and we use natural protocols to help fix those imbalances.
    • Cells don’t need to be told their job.  If we give the cells in our body what they need to return to normal function they will do so and the body will return to health. 
    • Eliminate the underlying malfunction and eliminate the symptoms associated with it.

If we examine how our current healthcare system works in stages, it would look something like this:

  • Stage 1 – Healthy (see description above)
  • Stage 2 – Mild symptoms appear but are either ignored or we reach for over-the-counter products to alleviate them.
  • Stage 3 – Symptoms worsen.  Over-the-counter drugs no longer adequately address the problem.  A trip to the doctor’s office yields stronger, prescription drugs which serve to alleviate the symptoms but usually doesn’t address the cause(s).  Perhaps the Doctor at this point draws blood to do a basic panel.  Usually, the Doctor comes back telling the patient that “everything looks normal”.
  • Stage 4 – Since the symptoms were masked by the prescription drugs and the underlying cause(s) remains, symptoms either worsen over time or manifest into new and possibly much scarier symptoms.  This prompts another trip to the doctor and perhaps several specialists.  At this point there is likelihood that the Doctor diagnoses the patient with some sort of disease (cancer, cvd, diabetes, gout, MS, crohn’s, Inflammatory bowel disease etc.).  These are treated with more prescription drugs, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, NONE of which actually work to correct the underlying cause of why the disease occurred in the first place.

We all know what likely comes after stage 4 so let’s not be morbid about it!

It’s unfortunate that most people don’t think about their health until disease occurs, because most of the diseases that plague us today are actually preventable!  Living by the tenets of Functional Wellness requires a paradigm shift.  Focus on your health while you are in stages 1 or 2 and the chances are much greater that you will live a long, healthy, and happy life that is free of disease!

To live a lifestyle that prevents disease from occurring, we must address ALL areas of daily life:

  1. Diet
  2. Rest
  3. Exercise
  4. Stress reduction (mental/emotional AND hidden internal stress)
  5. Supplementation

 In the next installment, I’ll go into greater depth on tips for living a preventative lifestyle with regards to the D in D.R.E.S.S. (Diet).  

Thanks for reading!

– Rick

Rick Gold, Functional Wellness Practitioner

Gold Functional Wellness, Inc.

Follow me on Twitter: @RickGoldFWP

e: Rick@GoldFunctionalWellness.com


Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise noted.  The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of the author.  Rick is not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician and he does not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease.

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