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Root Cause Resolution for the Holistic Practitioner - Blog Image

Root Cause Resolution for the Holistic Practitioner

BY: Andrea Nakayama

DATE: 2019-08-28

Listen to this post instead!

The phrase ‘root cause resolution’ gets thrown around a lot these days. It’s a brilliant expression, that allows us to think about “upstream” factors  that could be causing “downstream” signs, symptoms and even diagnoses. I don’t mean to mix metaphors (trees and streams), but if we stop to think about those two terms that are often used in Functional Medicine –“roots” and “upstream”– we can start to grasp the reality that we face in healthcare today.

Roots and upstream factors

That reality is that all the health complaints that we hear from our clients and patients were established some time ago—from circumstances, experiences and conditions that occurred or were perpetuated long before they came seeking our services and support.

Various factors play a role in disease expression, including:

  • living environment

  • community support

  • genetics

  • birth story and order

  • education

  • occupation

  • diet

  • lifestyle factors

  • social support

  • and more

When you put all the elements that are true for one individual into the melting pot of the body, and add the influence and risk of life’s stressors (external and internal)…KABAM!…the result is aches, pains, discomfort and disease.

Misconceptions about root cause resolution

Many practitioners are practicing root cause resolution all wrong.

That’s right, addressing the roots takes systems and targeted thinking that allows us to address the terrain before, during, and after dismantling the dysfunction. Even if you’re a physician who can do specialty testing, diagnostics, and treatments to both label and aim at the dysfunction itself, the terrain in which that physiological wound developed still needs to be altered. In essence,root cause resolution means we ask why not what when working with clients.

Clearing the muddy waters

In order to even find the roots (and there are several), we need to clear the mud from the waters so that we can see with more certainty. This is where holistic practitioners trained in Functional Nutrition truly shine.Practicing root cause resolution is all about terrain. It’s about “clearing the muddy waters”, adjusting the landscape, nurturing the soil.

Holistic practitioners and the power of terrain

Practicing root cause resolution is all about terrain. It’s about “clearing the muddy waters”, adjusting the landscape, and nurturing the soil in which health can thrive. That’s what we as holistic practitioners who understand how to practice functionally can do that nobody else can.

Instead of thinking that we need to get right at those roots, stop and imagine that healthy roots cannot thrive, survive, (or heal) in harmful soil. The more we tend to the soil, the more those roots might just regenerate and even be cured all on their own. For any holistic practitioner, understanding this – the importance of terrain – is the key to unlocking root cause resolution and taking your practice further.

Andrea Nakayama

By: Andrea Nakayama, FxNA Founder & Functional Medicine Nutritionist

Functional Nutrition Alliance provides the comprehensive online Functional Nutrition training in the Science & Art of the Functional Nutrition practice. Learn to address the roots of your clients’ suffering with client education, diet & lifestyle modifications.


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