More Medicine, Less Wellness?

We live in an age of abundance and infinite choice. But this wealth of opportunity can be deceiving – even bad for your health. When it comes to a balanced life, do you ever wonder if we have “more medicine” but “less wellness”? Do you, in your own wellness experience, feel you have more questions than answers regarding your health and balance? If so, you are not alone. Very few have a satisfactory relationship with a healthcare team that clarifies, listens, communicates effectively and helps patients fulfill mind, body, and spiritual wellness potential. Help is out there. If you are among the many who remain even slightly confused as to why your body reacts as it does, gains or loses weight without your permission, feels anxiety at unpredictable times throughout the day, or experiences sudden joint stiffness, you deserve better, and there are remedies to heal your situation. Read on.

Medical and nursing practitioners who have come to believe that we have “more degrees” and “less common sense” were inspired at the very end of the 20th century to embrace a movement that has gained tremendous momentum over the past two decades. It is a movement that seeks to answer questions by solving core issues rather than masking the signal that brought you into the office. It is a culture of medicine that gets to the meaning of the message – the root of the presenting problem, to address the very cause of the ailment.

Just as you would take your car to a certified mechanic rather than put masking tape over a “check engine” light on your car’s dashboard, this medical movement, called “Functional Medicine,” is a “systems based” approach that addresses the origin of the problem. Functional medicine is a movement embraced by practitioners who, in effect, check under the hood to actually examine the engine so the system can be appropriately addressed, and the issues resolved.

Simply stated, functional medical providers refuse to put masking tape over the check engine light. So, if you present with stiff joints, gastric upset, constipation, muscle tension, headaches, or any other discomfort that brings you into the office, your functional medicine provider will likely ask lots of questions and listen very carefully to your answers. The “history taking” is key to understanding which system the signal (your discomfort) is trying to get you to pay attention to. And then, your functional medical provider will attempt to help you become independent, so that you are ultimately able to interpret your own body for clues going forward. Your provider will not only use the office time to offer you essential tools to be used for the rest of your life, but will help you learn how to read and understand your brain’s communication and answer the “calls for help” appropriately. That provider will remain available for consultation to tweak interpretations here and there, specifically to let you know where various decisions and choices will lead you, while always respecting your personal wellness journey.

Ideally, any functional medical provider will offer you a free twenty-minute initial consultation to determine if that professional feels they can actually facilitate your idea of your sacred wellness journey. That provider might say, during that time, “I believe there is another provider more appropriate to address your needs,” or “I think I know how I can assist,” or “together with this additional provider, I believe we can help you achieve your goals.” You are a multi-faceted individual with unique needs. You are more than just mind, body, and spirit. You are a product of your nutritional environment and in constant interaction with your emotional and intellectual surroundings. You deserve a wellness team of experts who can address your needs on multiple levels. No single person has all the answers, but together, the right team can help you become the best expert for your own wellness journey.

One of my favorite sayings is by Marianne Williamson: “ . . . as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” This reminds us to be the best we can be for ourselves, for our children, and for all those whom we love. It begins with self-care.

Indeed, making your life a blessing begins with your own excellent self-care. Your body is your business, and your brain is the CEO. It communicates through whispers and shouts. Pain and inflammation are friends for the first few minutes, but if ignored, become bitter threats to your mind, body, and spirit balance. Learn the language of your CEO, and master the art of answering effectively. You deserve to live a healthy, happy life filed with peace and joy. The first step was to read this article. Namaste. This is your life, your journey, and all steps you take or avoid are your choice.

Note: On August 3, 2018, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Dr. Iankowitz will present “The Human Body Is Designed to Self-Heal” at the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association at 239 Route 292 in Holmes. To register, call the Pawling Library at (845) 855-3444.

Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. She is also host of “Marcy’s World”on Pawling Public Radio. Email your questions to: For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit online.