“Functional medicine is about causes, not symptoms. It is getting to the root of the problem.”
— Mark Hyman, MD
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Nourishing the Roots of Wellness

Functional Health Approach Improves

Since the inception of MBHA, we've said mental health is directly connected to our physicality. One does not drive the other, but rather it's a mutual relationship between our brains and our bodies. One speaks, the other responds. Often in our practice we hold appointments centered on the mind, with some conversation related to how we might feel the effects of our mental state in our bodily experience. 

Beginning in January, Mind Body Health Associates will offer a clinical approach to examining the condition of our body and exploring changes available that are proven to have positive effects on our mental health. 

Therapist Landon Dunn, LISW, LICDC, completed his year-long training with the Institute of Functional Medicine will now offer an individualized approach to working with you toward healing the body of chronic conditions which often create psychosomatic barriers to alleviating stress and experiencing a sense of well-being.  

Functional Medicine is a systems-based approach to health, which takes into consideration the behavioral patterns that are reflected in familiar measurements of blood pressure, insulin or hormonal levels, and hours of sleep. Rather than trying to alleviate the symptoms, a functional health approach aims to get at the root cause of ill-ness and make appropriate changes.  

Landon, working with your doctor (or a trusted referral), will begin with assessments to better understand your current situation. While dietary and exercise recommendations are often a part of the plan, this is not a "diet" but rather a fundamental way of listening to the needs of your body and mind and learning how to respond. With a deeper understanding of how your mind and body communicate, you will unlock new pathways to healing. 

Change One Thing, Change Everything

While the turn of the calendar often provides inspiration for life changes, tackling an entire list of goals often can overwhelm us after a short period of exerted effort. Instead, make one small, meaningful change that can start the domino effect. Here are a few suggestions from our therapists:

Holly Schweitzer Dunn: Be consciously kind. Understanding how you impact the people and environment around you will change the way you experience the world; and, 2017 needs more kindness. 

Landon Dunn: Create space for stillness. The small practice of slowing down for intentional silence can reap huge benefits.  

Jenelle Hohman: Greet your children with mindfulness. After school, ask specific questions about their day and provide them a safe, loving, low-stress environment when they come home. 

Jayne Williams: Make the first thoughts about yourself and others with kindness. Our knee-jerk opinions can be the result of tiredness or frustration and often aren't a true reflection of our feelings. 

Getting Started with Functional Health

If you're ready to give focused attention to the needs of your body, begin with an initial assessment appointment with Landon. Together you will craft a plan to make adjustments for proper nourishment and movement. For some people, labs are an option to get a better picture of your current state, measuring levels of vitamins, minerals or other indicators of impaired health. 

A thorough assessment may give you the tools you need to begin making mindful changes. You may also benefit from a regular appointment focused on functional health as Landon provides accountability and continual adjustments and recommendations.

Consider the resources you put toward your functional health changes as an investment. As with any investment, the more you put in, the more it pays out. We recommend committing to 6 sessions to see maximum benefit and lasting changes.  

You can make your initial assessment appointment by calling the Mind Body Health Associates office. 

The Bottom Line
Chronic Stress Effect: Common Enemy of Mind & Body

The body and the mind share a common enemy when it comes to obstacles to health: chronic stress. Research notes: 
"...chronic stress has a significant effect on the immune system that ultimately manifest an illness. It raises catecholamine and suppressor T cells levels, which suppress the immune system. This suppression, in turn raises the risk of viral infection. Stress also leads to the release of histamine, which can trigger severe broncho-constriction in asthmatics. Stress increases the risk for diabetes mellitus, especially in overweight individuals, since psychological stress alters insulin needs. Stress also alters the acid concentration in the stomach, which can lead to peptic ulcers, stress ulcers or ulcerative colitis. Chronic stress can also lead to plaque buildup in the arteries (atherosclerosis), especially if combined with a high-fat diet and sedentary living. The correlation between stressful life events and psychiatric illness is stronger than the correlation with medical or physical illness. The relationship of stress with psychiatric illness is strongest in neuroses, which is followed by depression and schizophrenia." (Source)

The takeaway? Addressing chronic stress will change your experience of health. Because nearly 80% of appointments in the medical field are stress related, your physician may have told you to "decrease  stress" as you address your cholesterol, blood pressure, and ulcers. Your therapist has probably worked with you to discover the way your stress levels impact your mental health.

As you venture into a healthier 2017 in both body and mind, adding habits to manage stress will benefit both. Breaths become deeper, cortisol levels lower, digestion becomes more effective, sleep deepens and lengthens, and the mind gains clarity and focus. Talk to your therapist about the tools to a healthier body and mind by addressing the weight of chronic stress in your life.   
Copyright © 2016 Mind Body Health Associates, All rights reserved.

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