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What does Functional mean?

Functional Medicine/

Functional Nutrition/

Functional Health Coach

You may have heard this term Functional Medicine. This word Functional is the new buzz word in health care. What exactly does it mean you may ask?

Functional is a good word to describe what it accomplishes. It is actually functionally solves or manages all the signs and symptoms you find in sickness. Like joint aches, gastrointestinal stress, headaches, brain fog, rashes the list goes on and on. The functional medicine physician is “technically trained to see the whole person, appreciates the role of web of interactions in the body and values the role of diet lifestyle medication and treatment plans. “

However, they cannot tend to every single detail…. this is where a Functional Health Coach or an Allied functional health coach come in. The Health coach will fill the GAPS between the time the patient( very patient patient!:)) sees the doctor the next time. The Health coach will guide and educate the patient how to do what they can do to make lifestyle shifts to follow their doctor’s advice, science, and their own innate knowledge about their well-being.

So back to the original question…what is functional?

To understand it more visually, imagine a tree with deep roots and many branches. The Soil, the terrain, is where the roots live and thrive and grow or not! As you know if the roots are thriving you know the tree Branches will be healthy. If the Roots are sickly mainly because of the poor terrain/soil it is in, the branches of the Tree will be small and shriveled and not healthy.

Now visualize the Soil as rich and full of nutrients, the Roots will be healthy and so will the Branches and the entire Tree will be thriving and growing.

The Soil is the terrain we are exposed to. The food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the thoughts we think, the environment we live in. The Roots are many and they are the source of our health. The branches are the signs and symptoms we exhibit. For example, The healthy hair and skin, or the skin with eczema/acne/rashes and dry brittle hair. A digestion that works for you or a digestion that gives you gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. These are the branches that are attached to the roots, and they will exhibit their signs and symptoms for the Tree (YOU)

The Roots which can be replenished through the functional lens in health are Genes (epigenetics: genes can be altered with healthy lifestyle and diet), Digestion, and Inflammation. Each of these ROOTS can be strengthened with the right attention and action. They will in turn, strengthen the BRANCHES, which could be any of these or more…joint pain, headaches, rashes which are the symptoms that show up. One step at a time a functional health coach can support you to identify the ROOT(S) that are causing your symptoms. However, that is the easy part.

The real work is when the terrain/soil shifts due to the ACTION / lifestyle shifts are accomplished. One step at a time together we can support you in making those shifts. Each step counts and makes a difference. Since each of us are unique your journey will be unique and special to you.

One grain of sand at a time pretty soon you will have moved mountains…..

This demonstrates that the soil, roots and branches are all connected to the Tree(YOU). The tree is also connected to the environment (FAMILY AND COMMUNITY).

I learned three pearls of wisdom through the Functional Nutrition Alliance, LLC through my teacher Andrea Nakayama,






signs and symptoms(hair loss, eczema, acne, rash, joint aches, fatique…etc.


Genes. Digestion. Inflammation.



By Salmah Tayabee

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