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Helena Önneby

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Just Because It’s Normal Doesn’t Mean It’s Not Insane

Functional medicine helped me back to health. It differs from conventional medicine in many ways and I think the way forward is a little bit of both because both is needed. So far, functional medicine is not getting the attention or resources that it deserves, while we could learn a lot about life from its wise perspectives. 

Four main factors characterize functional medicin:

1. The focus is on the root cause rather than the symptoms and the aim is to treat the imbalance at its core, not just covering the symptoms. 

2. The patient and her life quality and needs are more important than the disease or diagnosis. What is truly important to you as an individual? 

3. The body and all its organs and functions are interlinked, including dentistry, mental health and the needs of the soul. In conventional medicine there’s specialists in different body parts or functions and you treat the body where the symptom occurred which isn’t necessarily where the real problem steams from. 

4. Because of this holistic perspective it’s clear that there’s no one size fits all but every individual needs to find their own path back to balance and healing. 

Apart for the fact that I believe it’s important that we start thinking more functional medicine like also in conventional medicine, there’s lots to be gained to use these perspectives also in other parts of our lives. Eckhart Tolle, one of my main teachers, expresses it so amazingly: 

“Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s not insane.”

Shutting off the fire alarm (the symptoms) without putting out the fire (the root cause), treating an individual with emotions as a clinical diagnosis, splitting the body into separate parts not affected by the other or treating thousands of different people the same and expecting the same results might all be normal, but it’s also quite insane. 

So how can we use the wisdom from functional medicine in other parts of our lives? 

Well, one thing could be to more often ask the question: Why?

Why do I always react so strongly when this person behaves this way? Why do I feel like I’m not enough? Why do I always get a headache in the afternoons? Why do I feel so lonely when there’s people around me?

Asking the question Why? isn’t always comfortable, and it requires some digging, but still, what you find might just change your life for the better. 

Maybe we can also be inspired to focus more on the person behind all the achievements or external attributes. We live in a society with a lot of focus on the external; work, housing, clothes, travels or looks. But who hides behind all of that? Who is the person in front of you, for reals? What’s her dreams? What does he long for? What makes them come alive? 

And how can we use the holistic perspective to understand ourselves and the world around us? This can be a tricky perspective because it opens up for complexity and a lot of paradoxes. But regardless if we can hold many opposing thoughts at the same time or not, that’s what life is. So much more multifaceted than we try to make it by putting ourselves and others into categories and compartments. 

Maybe we could also stop looking for a universal fix for all our problems and challenges. To simplify the world to “one size fits all” doesn’t only hurt ourselves but the world at large. We’re all unique, there’s no two people identical on earth and that’s an amazing thing. How can we start to celebrate and really appreciate our differences and get to express what’s unique about us? Allow yourself to not just follow the footsteps of someone else or live by the societal norm. You’re here and this is your life. What do you need right now and how do you choose to express yourself in the world? 

What’s your experience with functional medicine and how do you think we could get more of its perspectives into our lives? 

This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

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