Whether people are just starting down the path to optimizing their health or have been following the path for some time, everyone has the same questions: “What supplements and foods should I be consuming? Which ones should I stay away from? What does my body need? and What nutrients do I need to further improve my health?” With all the information out there, it can be impossible for a layperson to navigate this confusing territory. This is where functional testing comes in: to help us determine each person’s exact needs in regards to which foods and supplements they should take and avoid in order to optimize their health.
People that want to improve their health can dramatically improve the success of their regimen by first taking a series of tests to help them determine their body’s unique requirements. Beginning a diet or supplemental program without testing is a little like trying to navigate the streets of an unfamiliar city without a road map; you may end up where you want to go, but chances are, it isn’t going to happen. It is always better to know than to guess.
We have found a combination of four tests to be extremely helpful in determining each person’s exact needs in regards to foods and supplements. They are: a comprehensive client packet; organic acid testing; salivary hormone testing and food hypersensitivty testing. This post will outline the utility of a comprehensive client packet; the other tests will be covered in future posts.
A Comprehensive Client Packet
It is difficult for any practitioner to collect sufficient information in a given amount of time to accurately determine each person’s exact imbalances. However, a well constructed client packet can go a long way to making the road to optimal health more manageable.
We have found a client packet that contains the following elements to be optimal:
- Comprehensive health history
- Health appraisal questionnaire (measure of overall health symptoms by organ/tissue)
- Detoxification questionnaire (measure of detoxification need and toxin exposure)
- Identi-T Stress Assessment (measure of adrenal stress/function)
- Food diary (at least 4 days; longer is better)
- Exercise/sleep log (at least 4 days, longer is better)
We have each client take this packet home and fill it out before their next appointment (it generally takes 1-2 hours to complete, plus the food/exercise/sleep diary). When they come back, we can total up their scores and very quickly get an accurate initial assessment on what underlying factors may be impacting their current state of health to help guide us not only on where we should start, but what other testing may be necessary to determine the exact imbalances we need to address.
A comprehensive client packet is free, making it a very cost-effective information gathering tool. The information it provides gives us a way to get from a person’s primary concern(s) (i.e., the reason they are coming in – for instance, pain and/or fatigue) to the underlying causes that may be responsible for those primary concerns (i.e, nutritional, metabolic or hormone imbalances; food hypersensitivity, etc.). It is the underlying causes that we must find and address to have any chance of properly addressing, and ideally eliminating each and every one of a person’s primary concerns.
Many times, we start with the information provided by the comprehensive client packet to get started on the road to health. Sometimes this is enough to get a person “well enough” that they are satisfied with their new-found vitality for a period of time. However, if a person wants to truly optimize their health, the first test that they should consider is an organic acids test, which will be the topic of our next post (INSERT LINK TO PART 2).