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How to tame the negative self-talk within you

December 3, 2019 | Health, Info | No Comments

There is a saying that we are our worst enemy. Despite how well adjusted you may think you are, a bad day or period of time can trigger off a battery of negative thoughts.

This in turn can cause you to experience everything from anxiety, guilt, anger and even fear.

Additionally, such negative emotions can trigger a vicious cycle of both physical and mental effects: feeling overly stressed, causing hypertension, experiencing bouts of insomnia, spiking one’s cortisol levels – all in all, it’s bad news and a lot more than just unkind, unforgiving thoughts about oneself or one’s situation. 

“We all can successfully reverse the negative spiral of our own thoughts if we practice this [positive speech] regularly,” shares Ralitsa Peeva from Como Shambhala Singapore.

Be it positive affirmations, writing down a list of everything good in your life to actively re-framing a perceived negative scenario, the common denominator is to be mindful and to take active action.

Here’s what Ralitsa advises…

WHAT ARE THE FIVE MOST COMMON NEGATIVE PHRASES AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EMOTIONS THAT USUALLY DRIVE SUCH NEGATIVE SELF-TALK?

Our usual negative self-talk is remarkably similar across nations, gender, time, profession or age. Most often we beat ourselves with the following phrases:

“I am not good enough.” “If people really see who I am, they will not love me.” “I am such a disappointment.” “What’s wrong with me?” “I should, I have to, and I must.” 

What we say to ourselves in a particular situation defines how we feel but we rarely notice that it is our thought about the situation rather than the situation itself that triggers our emotions.

Our negative self-talk (or negative automatic thoughts) is embedded deeply in our minds and it takes time and practice to become aware of it and to start replacing it with self-compassion, acceptance and patience.  

WE HAVE SIMILAR THINKING DISTORTIONS WHEN WE THINK ABOUT EVENTS

For example, some of the most common ones, familiar to each of us are black or white thinking (when we think in absolutes with no room for middle ground), catastrophising (when we tend to magnify the impact of events and how awful they would be), personalising (when we take blame and responsibility for anything unpleasant even when it is not related to us), negative filter (when we tend to focus on the one negative comment instead of paying attention to ten positive ones), mind reading (when we believe we know what another person is thinking).

HOW CAN ONE REFRAME THEIR SPEECH TO REFLECT A MORE POSITIVE MANNER?

The key first step is awareness. Notice your usual negative thoughts. Pay attention to what is it that your “inner critic” is constantly berating you with.

Learn to notice when that critic has “hijacked” your mind and you are in the spiral of the negative self-talk.

Notice the thought you are holding. Then ask yourself “What is the evidence?” “Is this a fact or is it my perception right now?” “What would I say to a friend who is in a similar situation?” “Is this one of the thought distortions?” “Am I looking at the whole picture?” “Will this be important in one year?”

When you stop yourself from going down the spiral of the negative thinking, take the next step – think what would be a more helpful thought in this situation?

Did your friend cancel on you because she doesn’t like you, or because she’s had a really difficult day and she needs to rest?

Is your boss really in a bad mood because of your job performance or because the planned merger didn’t turn out the way she was expecting? 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LITTLE THINGS ONE CAN LEARN TO DO TO SPEAK FROM A PLACE OF SELF-COMPASSION VS SELF-PITY?

Notice if you are in the “poor-me” mode.

Don’t slip into that mood for too long though because the victim mode rarely gives you a chance to look at the situation differently, and learn and grow from it.

Self-compassion involves personal growth work and giving yourself time to rest, to heal, and to replenish your energy.

Take a few minutes off. Treat yourself with the same respect and empathy with which you would treat your best friend.

WHEN FACED WITH A NEGATIVE PERSON, HOW CAN ONE RE-FRAME THE CONVERSATION?

I encourage clients to put what we call a “titanium shield” where you feel centered, grounded and present and you don’t allow someone else’s storm and drama to spill over because negative moods are “contagious.”

Try to use sense of humour. People who reside more in the negative mood tend to think and speak with phrases like “always” and “never.”

Challenge that; ask “Is it really always true?” Remember that to understand doesn’t mean you have to agree.

You may be present for that person and help them get through an issue but you don’t have to think like them.

INSECURITY IS OFTEN THE CAUSE OF ONE’S NEGATIVE OUTLOOK? WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO IMPROVE ONE’S SELF-ESTEEM?

Practice the positive self-talk that works for you. Find the positive affirmations that really resonate with you and keep playing them in your mind.

Take a moment to see all the good qualities that you have. Remind yourself how you’ve managed to get through difficult times and to help other people when they needed you.

The more we notice what works for us and what it is that we bring to the world, to our friends and family, the stronger our self-esteem will be.

-asiaone

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How to avoid burnout at work

November 28, 2019 | Health, Info | No Comments

Feeling long drawn exhaustion, unsatisfied with your job and unproductive? You may be heading toward “burnout”, according to a newly recognized World Health Organisation (WHO) diagnosis.

Around 1 million people skip work every day for reasons linked to professional stress. While it is hard to undo the damage, here are the things you can do to avoid burnout at work according to Business Insider.

KEEP TRACK OF TIME

Life is far too valuable to make work your sole priority. The key to happiness is to find a balance in life, therefore it is important to make time for your own purposes as well.

Use a scheduler or a digital calendar to keep track of how much time you spend in the office, how much work you do at home and how much time you have fully for yourself.

SEPARATE HOME AND OFFICE

When you’re out of the office, but the thought of work suddenly strikes you, that’s when you know that burnout might be coming.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the evening after work, on the weekend, or during vacation, it is important to disconnect from work in your personal time. Your phone does not need to be always on standby.Also, focusing on different aspects of your life can make you feel inspired and energized when you’re back in work mode.

VACATIONS ARE ALWAYS NECESSARY

Not only do vacations help with productivity and creativity, they are also good for your mental health.

Working through your vacation days might feel right for your career and dreams, however, it is equally as important to take a breather.

Go on a relaxing trip, without the hassle of connecting flights and excessive planning. Even a short getaway nearby can go a long way toward helping you fight workplace burnout.

CHANGE OF SCENERY

Another alternative is to work remotely. This way you can breathe fresh air and enjoy the view without the fear of falling behind.

Working away from the office is also proven to increase the productivity and overall work satisfaction necessary for a successful career.

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Online shopping may be about convenience, but there’s nothing quite like touching and feeling an item at a physical store before buying it.

Taobao hopes to do just that by diversifying its market and including those who are not familiar with shopping online.

“When people shop on Taobao, they often have a lot of questions about the product and its quality… With the physical store, they can touch and feel the product and know exactly how to operate it,” Tmall World Malaysia marketing manager Jess Lew said, according to Malay Mail.

Spanning at 5,000 square feet, the retail space will sell a large collection of Taobao products, including homegrown brands

Baby items, electronics, furniture, and beauty tools, among other items from both Chinese and Malaysian companies, will be available for customers to test out and purchase.

Shoppers will be able to buy an item by scanning its QR code and making the purchase through the app. Staff will also be at the store to assist users.

The retail store will open on 29 November at MyTOWN Shopping Centre in Cheras, KL

SAYS

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Earlier this week, Bukit Aman warned that they will take legal action against parents whose children are caught using ‘basikal lajak’

According to Bukit Aman Traffic Enforcement and Investigation Department director datuk Azisman Alias, police can charge the parents under Section 33 of the Child Act 2001.

Children getting involved in dangerous cycling activities poses risk to the children themselves as well as other motorists.

“The section provides that it is an offence for parents or guardians for leaving their children without reasonable care and supervision,” Azisman was quoted saying by Bernama during a press conference in Bukit Aman on Monday, 4 November.

He added that if convicted, the parents of these kids can be fined up to a maximum of RM 20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or both.

Azisman said that as kids under the age of 10 cannot be convicted for an offence, parents would be held responsible for their actions

“Many of the children involved are below the age of 10 and according to the laws we have, we cannot take any action against them other than holding them until their parents or guardians come to collect them,” he was quoted as saying by The Star.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that so far, the only enforcement action the Bukit Aman has taken was to seize the bicycles and issue summonses based on the provisions of the Road Traffic Rules 1959 (LN 166/1959), as well as sections 54 and 112 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987.

He warned that if they do not act, it’s just a matter of time before another case similar to the one in Johor Bahru – where a woman was involved in an accident which killed eight teen cyclists – repeats itself

“There have been eight fatalities linked to this ‘mat lajak’ issue but I believe there are many cases of broken limbs and injuries that go unreported,” The Star quoted Azisman as saying.

“We need to act quickly as these impressionable children could graduate to become ‘mat rempit’ and street thugs in the future.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh has said that the Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development (KPWKM) supports the move that will see legal action be taken against parents

She said that in accordance with provisions under the Child Act 2001, action should be taken to make parents more concerned in protecting the welfare of their children.

“In the Child Act, it is already provided that if parents expose a child to such risks (modified bikes) or if parents do not take good care of the child, action can be taken,” Yeoh was quoted as saying by theSundaily yesterday, 5 November.

“If there are issues of child welfare or their basic needs are not addressed, we (the ministry) will strongly support that action be taken so that parents take the welfare of their children seriously.”

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Mental health is something being talked about more and more these days. The issue’s elevation in the public’s eyes, and the increasingly large amount that people know about it from a medical viewpoint, have helped turn it into an issue with solutions, rather than a dark force that is too mysterious to begin to handle.

No place could have a greater impact on mental health than the office, where many people spend every day of the week. Solutions for managing mental health in the workplace are always being uncovered and explored.

You must know what can be done to help boost mental health in the workplace. So here are some important things to note.

1. Take physical breaks

When you take a break at work, a lot of people find themselves getting out of their office chair, going to another chair, and looking at their phone screens. While you may feel this is relaxing, it is also not advisable from a physical or mental health point of view.

Office life can be so naturally stationary that you miss out on exercise and fresh air.

Exercise helps carry oxygen-rich blood to your brain, helps you sleep better at night, and exposes you to fresh air and the outdoors, all of which have demonstrated to be beneficial to your mood and your overall state of mental health.

2. Be sensitive and kind to others

There are two reasons why this is highly recommended.

First of all, it’s nice to be kind. Not only because others will appreciate it, and it’s an objectively good trait to have, but also because those around you may have struggles you don’t know about, that are helped by someone treating them kindly.

Second of all, it’s good for your mind as well. “Being kind to others, and looking for ways to support those around you, actually increases your happiness.

“It requires so little to show people some acts or words of kindness, and it will make you feel better,” says Sarah McCallan.

That extra boost could go a long way if you do it every day.

3. Draw the work life boundary

One thing freelancers are struggling with is not letting their work sink into their private lives. Well, the same goes for desk workers, too.

You need to make sure that you’re firm about when you’re in work mode and when you can relax.

If the office becomes an all-consuming force in your life, you will start feeling depressed quickly.

However, if you are strict, it will boost productivity and allow you to relax, physically and mentally, much more effectively.

You need to make room for yourself to be an employee and a real person, no matter how difficult it can be.

4. Share your thoughts

The ideal atmosphere for the workplace is a sense of respectful privacy, but with an openness to self-expression when necessary.

“The modern workplace is slowly learning that the embodiment of emotions or feelings of depression and anxiety is not only detrimental to health but also harmful to the company.

“It’s a pity that some corporate incentive is needed to make this happen, but workplaces are trying to make room, and time for people to get things off their chests which will lead to better support for those struggling with mental health problems,” says Emma Jones, a health blogger.

Sharing these things can have a very large impact on how you feel about them, no matter how much you feel, it would be awkward or difficult. It is very important to try to cultivate that atmosphere.

Conclusion

Mental health should be a top priority for companies of all sizes. Employees are not all robots (yet) that can handle immense stress and work versus life balance without breaking a sweat.

Luckily, this list will help you think about healthy mental practices in a productive way.

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Smoking tobacco cigarettes could increase the risk of mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia, research suggests.

It has long been known that smoking is more common among people with mental health conditions. However, it has been unclear whether smoking could be a factor in causing such problems or is simply a form of self-medication among those already living with poor mental health.

Scientists say they have now unpicked the issue. “What we found was that there was evidence of causal effects in both directions,” said Dr Robyn Wootton, the first author of the research, from the University of Bristol.

Wootton said that while the serious physical consequences of smoking were already known, the new research underlined the importance of preventing people from starting the habit and helping smokers to quit to protect their mental health – whether or not they have existing mental health problems.

“Of course, if [smoking] is also making the risk of mental illness worse then we should be helping individuals who have existing mental health problems to stop as well,” she said.

Writing in the journal Psychological Medicine, Wootton and colleagues report how they compared the risk of developing depression or schizophrenia among people with and without a genetic predisposition to smoking cigarettes. As such genetic variants are randomly distributed across the population – and are not changed by factors such as alcohol consumption, income, exercise or other health issues – the approach is a type of natural experiment that reduces the chances of any link being down to other factors.

The team focused on 378 genetic variants that have previously been linked to whether people start smoking, as well as 126 genetic variants the team found were linked to a higher score for lifetime smoking – a measure encompassing how heavily people smoked, for how long, and if they quit.

Wootton and colleagues then used two separate genetic databases, one including thousands of individuals with schizophrenia and the other including thousands of individuals with major depression, to explore whether the risk of having such conditions was linked to the genetic variants for smoking.

The results reveal that both starting smoking and higher levels of smoking are linked to a greater risk of both depression and schizophrenia. As an example, an individual who smoked 20 cigarettes a day for 15 years but then did not smoke for 17 years had more than twice the odds of developing schizophrenia and almost twice the odds of developing depression than someone who had never smoked.

The team also looked to see whether people with a genetic predisposition to depression or schizophrenia smoked more. While they did indeed find such an effect, it was weaker than for the opposite direction.

However, the study has limitations, including that it focused on people of European ancestry.

Wootton said it was necessary to explore exactly how smoking might increase the risk of schizophrenia and depression, but one possibility was that nicotine influences pathways in the brain linked to mental health problems. That could be important, she added, since nicotine is also found in electronic cigarettes.

Cannabis use might also help to explain the findings, since high-strength cannabis has previously been suggested to increase the risk of mental health problems, and those who smoke have a greater risk of cannabis dependency.

Dr Ian Hamilton, an expert in addiction and mental health from the University of York, said: “While the physical harms of smoking are well known, this research points to the mental health risks of using tobacco. This risk should be communicated widely but particularly to school-age children who might be tempted to try smoking.”

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Wanita gempal ‘idaman’ lelaki di 5 negara

November 7, 2019 | Info | No Comments

Tiada sesiapa yang rela untuk menjadi gemuk, apatah lagi tidak mempunyai potongan badan yang ideal. Itu semua perkara yang dielakkan ramai wanita khususnya di Malaysia kerana semua ingin tampil cantik dan seksi.

Selain mengelak daripada menghidapi penyakit kritikal, potongan badan yang kurus seperti buah “pear” juga menjadi idaman wanita.

Oleh itu beberapa senaman khusus perlu dibuat bagi mendapatkan hasil yang diimpikan.

Namun berbeza di beberapa buah negara yang mengejar wanita gemuk untuk menjadi pilihan mereka.

Di beberapa negara ini, wanita kurus tidak mendapat tempat dalam golongan lelaki kerana menganggap wanita kurus ini berpenyakit dan tidak begitu “menggairahkan”.

1. Mauritania

Sangat malang hidup wanita bertubuh kurus atau langsing sekiranya mendiami negara ini.

Terdapat banyak kes penceraian yang berlaku di Mauritania berikutan isteri tidak mampu mengekalkan tubuh badan yang besar.

Bukan semua wanita mempunyai genetik gemuk. Misalnya ada yang mengikut genetik ibu bapa yang bertubuh sederhana, justeru pasti agak sukar untuk menjadi gemuk.

Apa yang pasti, itu keunikan budaya masyarakat di benua Afrika ini yang memandang gemuk sebagai suatu keindahan.

2. Nauru

Kegemukan menjadi lambang kesuburan dan keindahan bagi masyarakat Nauru.

Ini kerana masyarakat negara itu yakin wanita gemuk memiliki tenaga yang lebih untuk melahirkan cahaya mata. Oleh itu, tubuh gemuk diharuskan bagi wanita-wanita di negara itu.

3. Afghanistan

Lelaki Afghanistan dikatakan lebih mudah tertarik dengan wanita berbadan gempal berbanding yang kurus.

Bagi mereka, wanita dengan potongan badan sebegitu, mempunyai kehidupan yang stabil serta sifat yang lebih tenang.

4. Kuwait

Sama seperti Afghanistan, lelaki Kuwait juga menganggap wanita yang bertubuh gemuk memiliki kehidupan yang stabil dan mewah.

Bagi menjaga status sosial suami di khalayak ramai, wanita Kuwait menjaga agar tubuhnya tetap gemuk.

5. Afrika Selatan

Afrika diisytihar sebagai negara yang mempunyai penghidap AIDS paling ramai di dunia.

Oleh kerana itu, mereka beranggapan wanita dengan fizikal kurus kemungkinan mempunyai masalah berkenaan.

-FMT

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#1 EXPECT THEM TO GO TO EVERY SINGLE DRESS SHOPPING TRIP WITH YOU

Or every other wedding-related event. Remember, your bridal party’s lives don’t revolve around your wedding.

They might have a big project at work, have a new baby or are facing family issues. And booking vendor meet-ups, DIY crafting or gown shopping weekend after weekend? We’ll be surprised if they don’t hate you, even if it’s just slightly. 

#2 LOSE WEIGHT OR ALTER ANY PART OF THEIR BODY

That’s just plain rude and insensitive. So.just.don’t. Don’t insist that they dye or cut their hair, get piercings, a tan or a tattoo just to fit in with your idea of your dream wedding, either. 

#3 BE ON CALL 24/7

Keep in mind these are your besties, not your personal assistants who must respond to your requests every hour.

It’s one thing to remind your bridesmaids of tasks that need to be done by a certain deadline, and another to constantly breathe down their neck and spam their phones with messages. 

#4 BE YOUR WEDDING STYLIST/FLORIST/BAKER

Sure, you can get them involved in certain DIY aspects, or even dress up a simple reception table.

But to do up a full blown set-up or decorate 300 cupcakes? Sure, but just expect to face unhappy bridesmaids, a potentially wrecked friendship(s), and possibly the opposite of the Pinterest-worthy decor of your dreams – your friends aren’t wedding pros, after all.

Even if they are, it’s barely unreasonable to get them to do it for free, too. 

#5 GET PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP, HAIR AND MANICURES DONE

…unless you’re footing the bill. It’s also important to know your friends’ financial situations and not expect them to purchase that designer dress just because it’ll look fantastic for your celebration.

#6 BE THE MIDDLEMAN FOR YOUR FAMILY DRAMA

Amidst the stress of wedding prep and with everyone having an opinion, disagreements can arise between you and your family members (here’s how to deal with your in-laws during wedding prep) in the months leading up to the wedding.

It’s not up to your bridal party to play mediator or relay messages.

Don’t put your friends in an awkward situation and they’ll thank you for it.

#7 GET YOU A HUGE GIFT OR EXTRAVAGANT BACHELORETTE PARTY

If they’re already pitching in for their dresses, hair and makeup and bachelorette parties and bridal showers, it’s not fair to expect (or worse, demand) that they get you a pricey present.

Take their budget concerns into consideration when planning a bachelorette party.

#8 SPEAKING OF BACHELORETTE PARTIES…

Not everyone will be comfortable with going to say, a strip club, so don’t insist. You can either change the itinerary and organise an activity where everyone will have fun, or allow your friend to sit out on this one. 

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The hallmark of modern living can be summed up quite nicely with these words: So much to do, so little time. Work, play, family, friends, interests – these all call for our attention and we wholeheartedly embrace the challenges of juggling these many elements of our lives.

Between balancing our needs and finding the time to do so, other areas of our lives may end up short-changed, especially those that we deem not as important, especially meals.

Eating too fast or missing meals because we need to balance the demands on our time places unnecessary stress on our digestive system, and this can badly impact our health.

Heartburn, metabolic problems, heart disease, weight gain, indigestion, feeling bloated, stomach cramps – these are just some of the problems that could crop up if you do not take your time when you eat.

Tips for a better digestive health

To help prevent digestive problems, here’s what you can do:

Chew properly: Thoroughly chew and swallow each bite before taking another bite. Taking smaller bites also helps you chew better.

♦ Drink enough water between meals: As a rule of thumb, you should consume two to three liters of fluids daily, from food and beverages (plain water is the best). This also depends on your age, gender, lifestyle, weather and condition (i.e. pregnant or breastfeeding).

♦ Increase fibre intake: Dietary fibre increases stool bulk and softens it, making it easier to pass. Other health benefits include controlling blood sugar and lowering cholesterol levels. Get your fibre from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and other legumes.

♦ More probiotics: Another main component of the digestive system is the gut microbiota, microorganisms serving various roles in the gut. For the gut to be at its optimum level, the gut microbiota needs to be a balance of good and bad bacteria. Consuming probiotics may help maintain the balance.

According to a study conducted by Pusat Perubatan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2018, regular consumption of live cultured milk drinks containing L. acidophilus and L. paracasei showed positive effects on the research subjects’ digestive health whereby their food digestion time from 20 to 45 hours was reduced by five to 15 hours, and they also showed improvements in constipation symptoms.

More clinical trials are ongoing worldwide to clarify the role and explore the potentials of probiotics.

♦ Beware of food sensitivities: Many people aren’t aware that they suffer from food sensitivities, thinking that their recurrent stomach-ache or bloating symptoms are just coincidental. These can affect digestion and nutrient absorption. Dairy products and grains are among the common causes. Consult an expert to detect possible offending foods and improve your digestion. Food sensitivity is different from food allergy.

♦ Practise mindful eating: This means paying attention to the way food is prepared and consumed. It makes you more aware of how your body is affected by your eating habit. It starts from buying your ingredients, so choose more natural produces and less processed foods. Appreciate the food on your table and try to savour the meal. Another way is to use small tableware to limit your portions. These habits help you to eat slower, which aids digestion.

Eating is not only to savour the taste of food and satisfy our hunger, but also to sustain ourselves with nutrients. However, we tend to forget that digestion is also part of the eating process after food disappears into our stomach.

This process is as important as choosing the food we eat. Having good digestion also ensures our body is properly nourished and stays healthy.

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The status quo of medical practice is so deeply rooted in society that most people would not think of treatment options other than drugs, in treating chronic conditions or preventing them altogether.

Healthcare as it is currently practised, is reactionary, i.e. you only seek medical attention when you experience symptoms and sickness.

The focus is on diagnosing the immediate problem and curing the symptoms with drugs or supplements.

Additionally, health screenings that are ordered in this current system only go as far as catching a disease already in the body, not in anticipating and preventing it.

Managing the symptoms of an illness alone brings a high risk of allowing the real problem to worsen, and this happens more often than we think.

By administering medication that comes with its own side effects, you are only applying a plaster to a gaping wound that will become worse if you don’t properly identify the root cause of the issue.

The body is denied the opportunity to heal itself while it still has a chance, and by the time you discover the root cause, you may require advanced care and more medications.

A reactionary style of administering healthcare does have its merits, specifically for urgent and life-threatening situations.

A heart attack, an allergic reaction or an infection are certainly not cases where functional healthcare would be practical, and you would need a health provider’s immediate intervention for such problems.

However, when it comes to chronic conditions that are influenced by everyday choices in daily life, such as the food you eat, the intensity of physical activities, travel plans and more, drugs and other quick response treatments may provide short-term fixes, but falter in the long run.

Consider an iceberg, where what you see is less than a third of the entire thing as the remainder is hidden below sea level.

Chronic illnesses like cancer, arthritis, fibromyalgia and diabetes are “visible” above sea level, but what causes these illnesses remain submerged, because we aren’t diving deeper for further examination.

On the contrary, functional medicine is a whole-body approach that focuses on customised and personalised care for each person.

This isn’t a new concept either.

As far back as 1889, when the father of modern medicine Sir Dr William Osler was appointed one of the four founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the United States, he was quoted as saying, ”The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”

What is functional medicine?

The concept of functional medicine revolves around the idea that the cause of most chronic illnesses is due to an underlying dysfunction and imbalance in our internal system.

When building a diagnosis, a health provider doesn’t stop at “what is the problem?”. They also go on to ask: “Why did this happen?”

And the follow-up includes diagnostic testing, counselling and other treatments backed by research and science.

The goal is to correct any imbalances, while ensuring that the patient is equipped to maintain a lifestyle that prevents potential conditions from escalating.

These two questions are the foundation of functional medicine, which also includes understanding a patient’s medical history, symptoms, activities and lifestyle.

From there, it is possible to find out what’s lacking in a patient’s physical system and set a course to help correct the imbalance.

Your health provider will also identify the roadblocks and any potential issues that may hinder your progress towards optimal health and function.

Treatment in functional medicine can involve any of the following:

• Making nutritional and lifestyle changes, such as getting better quality sleep and exercising effectively.

• Eating whole foods instead of unhealthy processed foods.

• Taking natural agents like supplements, herbs, nutraceuticals and homeopathics.

• Taking bioidentical hormones.

• Going for emotional counselling.

• Assessing family medical history and using nutrigenomics as a means of prevention.

• Strengthening the body’s normal healing abilities.

• Precribing drugs if necessary, or surgery.

Additionally, teaching patients about what’s going on in their own body enables them to be more proactive about their own health on a daily basis, leading to better results in overall treatment.

Illustration photo shows various medicine pills in their original packaging in Brussels, Belgium August 9, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Illustration

Diving into the cause

Currently, conventional healthcare leans towards the practice of prescribing medication to help stop symptoms.

For example, if you have pain, you are prescribed painkillers, or if you have sleep problems, you will be prescribed sleeping pills.

But if it is a chronic problem with deeper underlying issues, the symptoms will come back or you may become addicted to the medications.

Functional medicine doesn’t smooth over the problem with drugs alone.

If drugs are indeed prescribed, the main goal is to shift an individual’s physical wellbeing down a path that will eventually not require the use of drugs, and instead, focus on the underlying causes that trigger the symptoms and improving the body’s natural functions.

For instance, the conventional treatment for heartburn is to take medicines that will alleviate the symptoms temporarily.

In functional medicine, the doctor sets a course of discovery to determine the root cause of the heartburn.

If it turns out that what’s causing it is Helicobacter pylori bacteria, your doctor would then take steps to help to put an end to the bacteria, and along with it, your heartburn woes.

Functional medicine also does not assume that a set of symptoms will always point towards the same common ailments.

Patients may display similar symptoms, but the individual diagnosis may turn out to be vastly different, due to individual medical history, physiological makeup and more.

Functional medicine makes going to the doctor a worthwhile endeavour, because when you are receiving treatment based on the root cause of your symptoms, you lessen the stress of taking short-term medication and increase your chances of getting better.

Although contemporary conventional medicine is very advanced, especially when treating acute diseases, emergency trauma or infections, and will continue to serve society, it is time to start using functional medicine in our treatment rooms more frequently.

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