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A healthy functional medicine toronto approach write up
A Functional Medicine approach to health in Downtown Toronto

Your whole health, in our hands

At Aches Away, we want to offer you a comprehensive and focused approach to your well-being. Through Integrative, Functional and Alternative Medicine approaches, Aches Away will help guide you through your journey to overall better health and well-being and transform your treatment plan to ensure you get the best for your specific complaint or condition.

By integrating the services of the various practitioners at the clinic, Aches Away is able to combine each of the skills that they offer, which include:

  • Naturopathy and Nutritional Therapy,
  • Massage Therapy,
  • Osteopathy,
  • Acupuncture, and
  • Counselling. 

But what is Functional Medicine and why is it of benefit to YOU?

A Functional Medicine Approach

The Institute of Functional Medicine defines the Functional Medicine approach as a “model that is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness.”

It is an approach to your treatment that enables each of our highly skilled practitioners to look at your complaint or condition in a unique way. By reviewing your complaint in the greater environment of your body instead of as a group of isolated symptoms, the therapies we can offer you begin to target the underlying cause of your condition. 

This is the foundation of the Functional Medicine Approach. When we begin to understand the system within the body that is out of balance it allows us to better implement interventions that target these imbalances.

Looking at the body in parts and systems

Functional Medicine has created an environment in which we look at the body is terms of systems. Every working part of the body can be collectively categorized into a system. For example, the way the body breaks down and absorbs food is one system, chemical messengers that signal specific aspects of the body to perform their functions is another system, and the way the body detoxifies and excretes compounds as waste is yet another system.

A great way to explain this systems-approach is by looking at a simple headache.

We may think of a headache as a condition of pain and inflammation that just affects our head. When we treat it as such, we take medication that is designed to target the pain and inflammation in this area. Of course, they typically work and pain relief is felt. The trouble starts, however, when we stop taking the medication. The headache returns. Why?

Because there’s a deeper level to that headache that needs to be addressed, and this is where a look into the underlying cause becomes most valuable.

So, what can cause that ‘simple’ headache?

The most common reasons for persistent headaches are due to an intolerance to certain foods, hormonal or chemical messenger changes, or structural imbalances that involve muscles, tendons or bone. In terms of systems, these involve the systems called assimilation, immunity, communication and structural integrity. 

Should we find out that the pain is caused by a certain type of food you eat, we can make small changes to the diet to reduce the manifestation of the symptoms it causes. Hormonal and chemical messenger changes can be managed in the same way, as is true for the management of the headache when it is structural in nature where massage, osteopathy and acupuncture become useful. It’s only through these means – and not a band-aid approach – that symptoms can diminish significantly, or even be eliminated.

We’ve used the example of a simple headache, but it’s not only seemingly simple conditions that we address using this functional medicine approach.

7 Functional Medicine Clusters we treat

  1. Digestion
  2. Pain
  3. Stress and Fatigue
  4. Sleep
  5. Mood
  6. Reproductive Health
  7. Health Optimization

1. Common digestive complaints (including gas, bloating, food sensitivities and intolerances, cramping and inflammatory bowel disorders etc.)

The gut is the primary area of digestion and nutrient absorption, but it’s not only food itself that has a significant influence on our health and sense of wellbeing. With a Functional Medicine approach, we take into account what you eat, how you eat it (on the run, distracted by the TV, grazing all day-style), what your body is doing when it digests the food you eat (inflammation, slow digestion processes, poor gut motility), and how your body reacts to this process (sensitivities, pathogens, dysbiosis). With this level of attention, we can begin to formulate a plan to prevent imbalances from happening.  

2. Pain and neuromuscular dysfunction

In Functional Medicine we categorize all functions of the neuromuscular system into a group called structural integrity. It’s a body system that only works well when all of the working parts stick together as they should, and, like a house, if any of the building blocks become loose, and start to break down, the whole house will eventually crumble. Like a house, the cause of those bricks loosening up or aspects of the structure being compromised must be investigated. It’s no use fixing a hole in the ceiling when there’s a leaking water pipe above the area. Using a Functional Medicine approach, we can look into the cause of your pain and dysfunction to determine how to go about correcting them. 

3. Stress, burnout and Chronic Fatigue

In the always-switched-on society we live it, there’s little wonder why millions suffer every day from the debilitating effects of chronic stress and fatigue. From a diet lacking in essential nutrients, to burning the candle at both ends, there are a number of factors that need to be addressed in the cause and perpetuation of stress and chronic fatigue. When a Functional Medicine approach is used, we begin to understand where the imbalances lie, so that your diet, hormone levels, exercise patterns and any other areas of dysfunction can be addressed, and you don’t have to continue going through life being told to simply breathe and get more sleep. 

4. Sleep Imbalances

When you don’t sleep, your health takes a knock and, when you’re feeling unwell, your quality of sleep declines. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when you have sleep imbalances. The questions that need to be asked include: do you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both? Do you have blood sugar imbalances? Are you lacking in specific nutrients? Are your hormones out of balance? Do you have pain, or structural imbalances affecting your ability to sleep? When you unwrap these answers, you have a far greater perspective as to why you aren’t getting the sleep you need to feel rejuvenated and refreshed every day. 

5. Mood: Neurology and Psychology

The focus on mental health and its impact on overall well-being has greatly increased over the last few years. From childhood trauma to chemical imbalances, there are so many influencing factors on your ability to maintain a quality state of mental well-being. We live in a world where anxiety and depressive disorders are rife, and for many, medication has not provided them with the relief or support they need. If for those that a Functional Medicine approach becomes so crucial. And it’s the investigation into what your specific imbalances are that can help to determine the appropriate treatment plan. 

6. Reproductive Health

It’s that time of the month. And we’ve been programmed to think that the symptoms that come along with it are completely normal. But cystic acne, pain, mood swings, nausea… all far from normal; and there are women out there who go through their cycles every month without so much as a flinch. It has to do with hormones, nutrient levels, sleep, energy, and the balance of other body systems that can allow you to approach your monthly cycles without the dread. Along with fertility, general hormone health, PCOS, menopause and all the other reproductive issues a woman may face, it’s about addressing the challenges the body is facing, to allow for rebalancing and healing to take place. 

7. Health optimization (including general well-being and sports physiology/nutrition)

Even if you’re feeling in great shape, we can help! Just a few tweaks in your diet, a little alignment in your posture, some ideas about how to recover from exercise, or anything else you need for your current and future well-being, a Functional Medicine approach at Aches Away holds all the tools you need to be able to optimize your health to maintain or even improve the great shape you’re in!

It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re in, or in what shape your health is, here are Aches Away, we have something to help you to live better, to achieve more from your health, and to give you a comprehensive and integrative approach to all that ails you. 

List of Services on Offer at Aches Away Toronto

Here’s a comprehensive list of our specialized list of services we have to offer, to cater to your every health and well-being need:

  1. Massage Therapy
    1. Therapeutic
    2. Relaxation
    3. Sports
    4. Deep tissue
    5. Neurokinetic therapy
    6. Myofascial therapy
    7. Pregnancy
    8. Scar tissue
    9. Active dynamic release
    10. TMJ services 
    11. Instrument Assisted
    12. Corrective Exercise
    13. Trigger Point Therapy
    14. Shiatsu
    15. Concussion Management
    16. Thai Yoga
    17. Abdominal
    18. CranioSacral Therapy
    19. Cupping
    20. ELDOA
  2. Acupuncture
    1. Neurofunctional
    2. Stress Reduction and Deep Relaxation
    3. Headaches and Migraine
    4. Chronic Pain and Injury Relief
    5. Menstrual pain 
    6. Cosmetic
    7. Emotional and Spiritual Health
    8. Gua Sha Scraping
  3. Naturopathy for
    1. Low Energy and Fatigue
    2. Digestive Disorders
    3. Anxiety, Depression and Mental Health
    4. Menstrual Help
    5. Healthy Pregnancy
    6. Fertility Help
  4. Osteopathy
    1. Pain management
    2. Pregnancy
    3. Infant health
    4. Migraines
    5. Fatigue
    6. Chronic illness
    7. Stress relief
  5. Counselling
    1. Anxiety
    2. Depression
    3. Relationship help
    4. Prenatal and postpartum counselling
    5. PTSD and trauma
    6. Stress reduction and relaxation
    7. Anger management
  6. Nutrition
    1. Meal Planning
    2. Weight Loss
    3. Therapeutic diets
    4. Nutritional deficiencies
    5. Food intolerance’s and sensitivities
    6. Autoimmunity
    7. Digestive disturbances
    8. Healthy eating
    9. Sports nutrition

Our Process

Free Consult

For more complicated cases, start with Naturopathy or Functional Medicine Consult

Identify Root Cause

Book an assessment to start identifying all the possible avenues of treatments

Treat involved Clusters

Each health cluster can affect the functioning of the others. Let’s treat them all

Maintenance

Continue working through your maintenance plan to Optimize our health