Welcome to my website!
If you’re sick and tired of the conventional medicine approach to your health. That only seems to suppress or manage your symptoms. Or, perhaps you’re longing for someone to identify why you are fatigued, depressed or in pain. So that you can get well again. Or, after all this time, are you hoping that someone will offer something other than even more steroids, antidepressants or pain killers? If this is you then the functional medicine approach that I offer can provide another way.
I’m Nikki Hawkes and I am an experienced medical herbalist and acupuncturist. As a holistic practitioner, I use functional medicine principles to identify and directly address the underlying causes of disease. This approach also provides the framework I use to improve the health and wellbeing of my patients.
Functional medicine is a different approach. One that addresses the whole person not just a set of symptoms. A key difference is that I spend a lot of time with my patient. Identifying the potential underlying factors that may influence your long-term health.
Why is it important to identify underlying causes?
The reason I work this way is that many of my patients are struggling with chronic disease. These diseases are the long term, persistent or recurring conditions, that slowly get worse. While modern medicine such as drugs and surgery can be lifesaving in acute diseases. They’re not so effective for chronic health problems. So, conventional healthcare is often more about symptom management than getting you better. Which means the current healthcare model is failing to help people like you.
But, functional medicine offers a different approach. Chronic diseases are driven by environmental exposures and lifestyle choices. Meaning the continuation of these exposures or activities may be necessary for the disease process to continue. In other words, our environment and our day to day choices can influence how well our body functions. Over time this declining function results in symptoms and then disease.
So, the approach needs to change from symptom management or suppression to one that addresses the underlying causes. Targeting the complex web of interactions that may have led to illness. In this way, we may halt or even reverse the disease process. In other words, halting the decline in function and prompting the body’s natural healing processes to begin. As well as promoting health and vitality by applying strategies such as nutrition and exercise.
A holistic approach to chronic disease
However, it is also important to consider the body as a whole. For instance, the body should not be treated as a collection of parts. This is how modern medicine views your body. With a different doctor for each part, and not considering other body systems. A functional medicine approach views the body holistically. Recognising for instance that what happens in the gut can affect the brain, or the joints, or the skin for example.
Therefore, I offer a personalised and holistic approach. One that considers the myriad of interactions between your genes, and your lifestyle, environment and other factors. Not just in one part but for you as a whole. Which means that you benefit by having a unique treatment plan that can address the influences on your long-term health and chronic disease.
The root cause approach and functional medicine
We can see a representation of this idea in the IFM functional medicine tree. Where the roots of the tree are the foundations of your health – refreshing sleep, adequate exercise, nourishing food, well-managed stress and happy relationships – and together they create harmony and balance in body, mind and spirit.
In my experience, it is often the case that the beginnings of ill health can be traced back to key events in a person’s life, that resulted in an imbalance in one or more of these “root” causes. Typically this is usually followed by a period of declining health, and then by the appearance of symptoms and eventually a diagnosis of disease.
By finding out what the imbalances and impediments to healing are, and attending to them. In other words, by addressing the foundations of health, then we can improve health naturally.
Restoring your optimum health
I am not a doctor, I am trained in Western herbal medicine. In addition to my training as a medical herbalist, I also have extensive training in nutritional and functional medicine. My mission is to form a therapeutic partnership with you and provide guidance that helps to restore your optimum health. While we will strive for a reversal of your chronic disease, if or when this is not possible, then we will aim for substantial improvements in your health and quality of life.
The art and science of herbal medicine – tradition and testing
Using the traditional concepts of herbalism, clinical knowledge and the scientific methods employed in functional medicine, my approach is all about you, the individual. I can offer a variety of functional lab tests to assist in identifying underlying issues or areas of poor function if required. Each person is unique, and we must aim for a restoration of balance and improved vitality not just the absence of disease.
Supporting your journey back to health
There are several ways I can provide support to keep you motivated and on track. By providing information and explanations you will know why I make certain recommendations. I offer food plans and recipes if you need them because the right nutrition can make all the difference in a therapeutic plan. Likewise, I can make supplement recommendations if these are required. And I can individually prescribe herbal medicine formulations that are tailored specifically for you, and that will not interfere with any current medication you might be taking from your doctor.
If you are in the early stages of declining health you may benefit from a one-off consultation to get you back on track. But, if you have struggled with a chronic disease for some time this can be a slow and steady journey back to health. In many ways, we need to peel back the layers of the disease process in order to go forward. In this case, you should expect to need several appointments so that we can maintain progress.
Where to find me
My practice is located near Oakham in Rutland. But I see patients from a wide surrounding area that includes Rutland, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and beyond.
You can make a new patient appointment with me by clicking here. This link will take you to my appointment calendar. When you make an appointment I will send you my intake form to complete. Ideally, you should allow around two weeks to complete and return my intake form and a food journal where required, prior to the appointment.
If you have a question now, or just want a quick chat to see how I might be able to help, use my contact form to get in touch. You can also check my Frequently Asked Questions page to see if I have already answered your query.