Nutritional therapy applies the science of human nutrition to promote optimum health. It is concerned with giving you the best possible intake of nutrients to allow your body to be as healthy as possible. I work with clients individually and use a wide range of tools to assess and identify potential nutritional imbalances and understand how these may be contributing to an individual’s symptoms and health concerns. Among other things, I would look at your symptoms and health concerns, your diet and lifestyle, your weight and medical histories, your family history, your stress levels and any possible pollution that you may be exposed to.
This approach supports the body towards not only achieving optimum health, but also maintaining it long-term. Nutrition and lifestyle approaches to healthcare have been shown to support the health of all the major body systems (skeletal, muscular, nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, digestive, excretory, endocrine, immune, reproductive and integumentary (skin, hair, nails). Some typical priorities in nutritional therapy consultations are support to achieve optimum energy levels, healthy blood sugar and hormone balances, emotional and psychological well-being, optimum gastrointestinal health, a tolerance to a broad range of food groups and to reduce inflammation. It is therefore relevant for individuals with chronic conditions as well as those looking for support to enhance their health and well-being.
Once your goals, readiness to change and current health status have been considered, I will recommend a personalized dietary and lifestyle programme which is based on your individual uniqueness and current scientific research findings. I will help you apply this programme by offering my on-going support and by helping you set up other support networks. I will also supply you with on-going appropriate advice and education and give you lots of useful tools and strategies. When necessary I will communicate with other health professionals involved in your care to explain any nutritional therapy programme that has been provided. It is not a replacement for medical advice and I will always refer a client with ‘red flag’ signs or symptoms to their medical professional.
MY APPROACH AND METHODS
A person-centred approach
I work using a person-centred approach which consists of several main components. It explores not only symptoms and health issues, but the individual’s experience of them. It is therefore empathetic and endeavours to understand the whole person. It provides professional direction in the decision-making process, but seeks to empower patients by guiding and supporting them into making the decisions which best help them meet their needs. A person-centred approach aims to find common ground with people by working in a collaborative manner that enables both the patient and the practitioner to achieve their goals. It gives appropriate educational advice and provides useful tools and strategies that allow patients to apply the principles of their individualized programmes to their everyday lives.
Functional Medicine Model
My training was based on the Functional Medicine model. This is a dynamic approach used by clinicians to assess, prevent and treat dysfunctions in the physiology and biochemistry of the body as a primary method for improving patient health. Nutritional Therapists look for core clinical imbalances in one or more of the body’s systems which can lead to various health issues and complex chronic disease. They also look at the fundamental physiological processes which underlie these imbalances. Imbalances commonly found are in hormonal and neurotransmitter regulation, liver detoxification and biotransformation processes, oxidative/reductive homeodynamics (energy), immune and inflammatory processes, digestion and absorption, structural and barrier integrity and psychological and spiritual equilibrium.
The Functional Medicine model sees these dysfunctions as a result of lifelong interactions between our environment, our lifestyle and our genetic predispositions. Everybody, therefore, has a unique and complex set of interwoven influences which can lead to the development of disease or poor maintenance of health. Restoring patients to health requires reversing or substantially improving these dysfunctions by making appropriate changes to an individual’s diet and lifestyle and/or by prescribing supplements.
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