My Functional Medicine Journey in Switzerland

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Hi readers,

Normally I write about travel and food, but I want to do something different and share a recent personal journey with you as part of the #wellness part of this blog.

At the beginning of 2021, I experienced a physical dip that caught me completely off guard. With unnerving symptoms continuing on for weeks like migraines and an angry stomach and digestive system, I wasn’t sure what what happening but eventually, I was determined to help my gut and my general health back on track.

This is the beginning of the story of my holistic journey in that direction; what started off as a personal mission to ween off my acid reflux medication evolved into finally becoming my own health advocate.

Ten Years in the Making

Since the age of 18, I’ve been dealing with severe heartburn and acid reflux. After two endoscopies, I was told to take daily proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) and never look back. I trusted that this medication was harmless and found myself reliant on it for a whopping ten years. Fast forward to December 2020, my gut health went haywire. The medicine wasn’t working anymore, but I ‘pushed through’ until I felt so depleted that the wake-up call was hard to ignore anymore. My body was in full-swing reactive mode; anything I ate triggered discomfort and nausea and I had no appetite for food, my absolute favorite thing in life.

That’s when I knew I needed to check things out.

After two blood tests and consistently elevated pancreas enzyme levels, I was frustrated. The doctor here in Zurich seemed as clueless as me. At that point I had relentless tension migraines and a lack of energy even after a full 8 hours sleep. Anyone with stomach issues can relate to the fact that your mood is drastically impacted whether you like it or not.

Simply put, I wasn’t in a good place.

My Wake Up Call

After the dead end with the GP in Zurich, I had a long call with a nutritionist friend of mine in California who alerted me to the fact that taking PPI’s long term is a really, really bad idea. Recent studies have shown its links to increased risk in vitamin deficiency, dementia, kidney disease and more.

I was horrified that no doctor had ever hinted at these risks despite my asking over and over again. In a way, I was mad at myself for not doing my own research after these appointments. I was annoyed at how easily specialists and doctors of my past had thrown medicine at the problem without spending as much as one hour to get to understand the actual cause.

Our conversation was enlightening and it flipped a major switch for me.

I couldn’t ignore that a decade of PPI use was doing more harm than good to my gut. She asked me to find a functional medicine doctor in Zurich who could help me ween off these medicines and restore my gut once and for all. It was a new concept to me, but after doing the research, I found Edna Schur via the Functional Medicine Instititute’s international directory. I was in luck: she was open to working with me and passionate about getting me off my PPI’s.

A Holistic and Versatile Way to Approach Health

You might not have heard of functional medicine before; I hadn’t until recently. According to the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website, “Functional medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. IFM is more determined than ever to help clinicians and patients alike develop the nutritional, environmental, social, and lifestyle.

Trying Functional Medicine for Myself

After reaching out to Edna Schur and having such a thorough consultation call with her, I was eager to start working with her and get to the bottom of things. She assured me she could find a way for me to heal my gut and get off these medicines for good.

As part of my sessions with her, I want to share my journey and honest experience with you in case you’re also considering using functional medicine as a way to heal yourself from whatever ailment you have.

Edna Schur, Functional Medicine Practioner in Zurich

With expertise in Chinese, Functional, Western Medicine and Nutrition, Edna has developed a 5-Step Guide to help people embrace health in a holistic way. So far, I’m very happy with the quality of the sessions we’ve had; she’s a deeply connected and intuitive practitioner who takes the time to connect the dots of the body’s interrelated systems, family history, and mental wellbeing. I’m excited to see what our work together will bring; it’s a relief to feel that I’m in capable and caring hands with someone who is as curious as I am to feel healthier and happier. It’s the human approach to healthcare that’s been missing in my experience.

Who Is Functional Medicine Good For?

According to Edna, it’s for everyone who wants to do preventative work to be healthy and content; it’s for people who more chronic issues and have seen everyone and have been everywhere but still haven’t improved. She typically works with peoples ages 35-55.

Functional medicine looks at the physical, emotional, spiritual, and aspects of discomfort. It is an overview understanding of all the systems, including psychological and spiritual aspects, to bring someone to a new state of mind and a healthy pathway.

My Personal Goal in The Coming Weeks

In the next coming weeks of working with Edna and working through her 5-step program, I want to shed light on what works for me to restore my gut and general health. I want to explore root cause medicine as opposed to the specialist medicine that has taken a parochial view on my digestive issues, ignoring the multitude of factors that influence it. If you’re also considering working with FMP or even Edna herself, I hope this can serve as a guide! Stay tuned. 😊

Functional Medicine Resources for Beginners

Useful Function Medicine Podcast by Dr. Mark Hayman

Institute of Functional Medicine Resources

Edna Schur’s Practice

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