What the heck is Functional Medicine?

Updated: May 7, 2020

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this post I want to make it very clear that although I truly believe in the power of functional + eastern medicine, it doesn’t mean I don’t see a place for western medicine, because I do. We are so blessed to be living in the day and age that we do. We have seen so many advancements over the years regarding western medicine and let me be the first to say, if I needed an emergency operation, you best believe I’m going straight to the hospital. With that being said, I do think western medicine is overused and not always used for the right reasons. Meaning; it is used to mask an issue, rather than actually treat what’s going on in the body.

Let me take you back to the root of my beliefs. As most of you know, my dad passed away when I was 16 years old. He had suffered from kidney stones for most of my life and unfortunately doctors continued to give him high doses of medication (to mask an issue) and in turn the medications he was prescribed gave him end stage liver disease and he passed from his stomach rupturing.

In the last 4-5 years of his life, he opted to try a functional medicine route using Chinese Herbal medicine. Upon taking the mix of herbs our naturopath made, he saw a significant decrease in the amount of kidney stones he was passing each month. This is what sparked my interest + passion in functional medicine.

After he passed I had my own health struggles. I too, saw results from herbal tonics when I struggled with a weak immune system and again when I lost my period. I had amenorrhea for about 3 months when I was 20 and within a month of consuming herbs, I regained my period. I know this method of medicine works because I’ve experienced it first hand.

So, with that being said, What the heck is functional medicine?

Functional medicine uses natural practices to ultimately bring the body back to balance in a super gentle way.

I understand that taking this approach can take some time but I also believe that these methods + practices are the most efficient for long-term results and overall better health.

There are such a wide range of alternative medicine therapies out there and I know these practices can seem a little woo-woo and left of field but I’m only sharing my top 5 with you today. These are the one’s I really believe to be effective while also being extremely gentle on the body. Let’s take a look at some of these beautiful, ancient and traditional practices.

Chinese Medicine – This one is obviously near and dear to my heart because I have seen some incredible results for my family and for myself when we incorporated this practice into our lives.

Chinese Medicine dates back over 4000 years and it’s main focus is to use various herbs, and herbal preparations, to help aid a variety of ailments in the body — from Asthma and skin diseases to menstrual and digestive problems. They use different techniques to create powders, ointments, liquid tonics and even teas.

Having just studied the in’s and out’s of this beautiful practice, there truly are SO many incredible herbal preparations to help bring your body back to balance. If you ever want to take and eastern route using herbal preparations and don’t know where to start, please feel free to reach out and I would be more than happy to help. I’m not a medical practitioner but I have a wide range of knowledge in this field and I am extremely passionate about this practice in particular. It’s weaved through-out Let’s Flourish, Lovely!

Acupuncture – This practice is technically a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine but stems off into it’s own category of holistic health. The main ideology behind acupuncture is to ultimately bring the body back to balance and have healthy functioning internal organs. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to stimulate different parts of the body. (it varies depending on where the pain is or what you are wanting to achieve from this practice). There are over 350 acupoints on the meridian of the body. While it can help relieve specific types of pain like migraines and period cramping, it also helps with anxiety,depression, inflammation and insomnia. 

Within the realm of acupuncture, there is another practice called acupressure. This is a simple + effective practice that I incorporate in my daily routines. Again, we are looking to stimulate those specific pressure points of the body. I use my thumb and apply pressure in small circular motions for a few minutes on and a few minutes off repeated x3.

Aromatherapy – Hello essential oils!!! So many people believe this practice to be quite silly but I have been able to reap many benefits since incorporating essential oils into my life. I like to think of them as aiding topical ailments. Before we jump into a few different examples of how I use my oils, I want to preface that you should try your best to invest in good quality oils. A lot on the market are often labelled as 100% essential oil but at the end of the day, you should do your research to see how they were made and if they have been properly tested, especially if you are applying them to you skin.

Let’s start with my absolute favourite oil of all time:

Peppermint – This oil is extremely versatile and s t r o n g. I like to use it to help relieve car sickness, headaches, concentration and an all round refreshment.

Basil – Not only is this great for food purposes, I love to use it for bug bites too! It was honestly a life saver for me this past summer.

Vetiver – This beautiful oil is amazing at aiding in dreamy + deep sleep.

TIP: When you are applying essential oils topically, be sure to use a carrier oil ALWAYS!

Reflexology – This beautiful practice originates from Ancient Egypt, Greece and possibly China. Reflexology is a form of massage but mainly for your feet. It is performed to correct imbalances in the body. Reflexology, much like acupuncture, uses specific stimulation points on the foot to target other specific areas of the body. While this is an ancient practice, in the early 20th century it was Dr. Willian Fitzgerald and Eunice Ingham who delved into the intricacies of how this practice really works. I am going to leave a reflexology chart  for you to peruse. Feel free to try incorporating reflexology in your daily routines too. Apply the same technique as if you were doing acupressure. It’s truly wild how our bodies work.

Food + Diet – Hi, I’m Bethany and I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record BUT! The foods you consume is one of the easiest ways to bring nourishment and health to your body! I believe there is no one diet fits all when it comes to the foods we choose to eat but I do believe there are a few little smart tips to stick to:

  1. Choose whole foods! Your body knows how to digest unprocessed foods easily.

  2. Steer clear of refined sugars.

  3. Eat the rainbow.

  4. Choose good quality sources of meat + eggs.

I could continue to write about this topic because it is so broad and there truly are so many different elements to it but I will cap it off here. Please be sure to let me know if this post was helpful or if you are curious to start incorporating more functional medicine practices into your routine!

As always, I would like to preface that I am not a medical professional and I do believe you need to consult with your own before incorporating any of the practices listed above. This post is for information + education purposes only.

I pray you have a beautiful week and give yourself time to flourish, lovely!

With love,


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