Eoin Roe, Chiropractic
Call 087 958 2362
Over the Christmas period I have been reading a great book called ‘The Tao of Pooh’, which attempts to explain the principles of Taoism through the characters of The Winnie the Pooh books. This may seem like a strange start to an article about health, but one line, a quote from Chinese medicine, caught my attention and I have been thinking about it since – ‘One disease, long life; no disease, short life’.
On the face of it this does not seem to make much sense but on closer inspection it becomes obvious that what this quote is saying is that when you know what is wrong with you or which aliment you are suffering with, you can take action to get well or prevent it from getting worse. In short you are looking after yourself. The opposite of that is if we crash through life (a bit like Tigger), thinking we are invincible and ignoring health symptoms this ultimately lead to further deterioration in our health and wellbeing.
So, what does that have to do with functional medicine? Well, the main tenet of functional medicine is to accurately understand why you are experiencing each of your symptoms in order to put in place the right interventions for your particular situation.
For example, one of the issues that I consistently see in patients who present with chronic problems is a long history of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). IBS is a term used to describe the following symptoms: Abdominal (Stomach) Pain and Cramping; Diarrhoea and or Constipation; Excessive wind; Urgent need to use the bathroom.
People suffering with these symptoms for a period of time may end up with a diagnosis of IBS but this diagnosis tells us nothing about why that person is suffering with these symptoms nor how to resolve it.
There are multiple reasons for IBS to develop, from a pathogenic bacterial infection leading to dysbiosis, excessive use of antibacterial medication, emotional and physical stress (impacting the immune system), inflammatory diets, poor nutritionally deficient diet, intestinal permeability and even a concussion or head injury can cause IBS symptoms which can persist long after the head injury.
Knowing which mechanism is at play is key to helping somebody recover or manage IBS or any other chronic health issue. Without understanding the underlying physiology at play any intervention is less likely to be effective.
Further reflection on the initial part of the quote ‘One disease, long life’ has got me thinking about some of the people who I help with chronic health problems. Often these people have been suffering for years with underlying symptoms and issues which are problematic for them. But with no identifiable disease diagnosis, they largely go untreated within conventional medicine. I wonder if a more accurate functional understanding of the reason why they are suffering, made much earlier and explained to them, would help these people learn how to help themselves before one set of symptoms morphs into multiple issues which invariably becomes much harder to untangle.
I wish all West Cork People readers a happy new year, and if you are looking for a good read I thoroughly recommend ‘The Tao of Pooh’ by Benjamin Hoff.
Eoin Roe is a Chiropractor and Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner based in Skibbereen. If you would like to get in touch please make contact through the website www.roehealth.ie or call 028 62081.