Have you ever noticed a major shift in your life? A transformation that could leave you speechless?
That’s what I experienced!
Being a student of Applied Functional Medicine and a Montessori trained teacher, you can probably understand my frustration and disagreement with our conventional method of education and approach to addressing medical issues. I have long since learned that no two humans are exactly the same, even twins, no matter how identical they are. Based on this belief, it has long since bothered me this idea on which our educational and medical structure is built upon.
As humans, we have only one thing in common really – and that is that we are all different. So the idea that we can create a structure of disseminating knowledge in our schools and that this academic model is good for everybody is to me, a logical fallacy.
It’s like bringing together a bunch of sea, air and land animals, and trying to access their capabilities through a predetermined evaluation model. Some of the animals will be at a disadvantage from the start. I knew there had to be something more, something better than this one size fits all approach. My passion for kids and my years as a teacher didn’t let me give up the search until I found something better.
On one winter day, after Christmas break, my answer came in the discovery of Dr. Maria Montessori, a teacher, doctor and philosopher. Many years ago, Montessori created a revolutionary educational system whose principles aligned with my objections to the factory production line style of teaching dominating our educational ecosystem.
Dr. Montessori had discovered that no two children were the same, in their gifting, perceptions and inclinations and therefore all children could not be taught by the same exact models and concepts. While our present education system uses a set-in-stone teaching and evaluation model, the Montessori model proposed a more fluid approach to learning and assessments. While our present system seeks to impose predetermined knowledge upon children, Montessori’s objective was to identify and develop the intrinsic abilities of each individual child. In lieu of dictating to the child what to learn, the Montessori approach creates a classroom environment to accommodate all the possible giftings of the children, complete with the tools to develop them.
This was a more organic and holistic approach to child development and I was sold on it!
I felt my spirit soar! I was extremely excited about my findings. My joy was renewed and my purpose restored. It was time to ditch the method of trying to cast every child with the same mold. It was time to let each person grow at their own pace and forge their own path, based on what they already have inside and not on what the system prescribed. Now, 10 years on as a Montessori teacher, 10 years into teaching Montessori, I have no regrets. I clearly see the benefits of this amazing approach in the lives of the children I have taught.
It was sort of like a déjà vu moment for me when I discovered Functional Medicine. I used to be plagued by an enervating chronic disease; Functional Medicine reversed my health’s fortunes and inspired my decision to study Applied Functional Medicine.
Functional Medicine is essentially a mixture of the best parts of Chinese and Western medicine and scientific research to achieve and maintain holistic wellness. It encourages optimal organ functions, thereby preventing disease and promoting sustainable health. Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease and relies on improving function rather than on medicating symptoms. It approaches medicine from the view point that people are unique individuals and they need personalized approaches.
How are people treated when they step into a conventional doctor’s office?
The doctor checks for symptoms, name the illness, and then prescribes a predetermined treatment for the ailment. Basically, match a pill to the ill. The problem with this is that while this might provide respite for the patient, he/she is not whole. And that’s what Functional Medicine seeks to achieve – total health; holistic wellness. It doesn’t just seek to discover what is wrong; that is just the first step. It seeks to discover the root cause of the dysfunction in the body.
Functional Medicine asks questions about the patient’s history, lifestyle and environment so as to give total healing to the person and not just the disease he/she came in with. I immediately loved the fact that the process of healing is focused on the person as a whole and just about tackling the disease.
I developed a passion for medicine through this experience as I could immediately draw parallels between the principles and objectives of Montessori education and Functional Medicine. Both believed in a one on one approach to finding holistic solutions to problems by focusing on the whole person. Both had also historically proven to be much more effective than their traditional counterparts. They both prioritize discovering underlying imbalances and structures through exhaustive assessment of our lifestyles, environment, and other influences. These are the vehicles that drive disease formation and the proliferation of academic roadblocks.
I strongly believe these two models are the drivers that will change our world, lift people out of the mire of our system’s rigidity and help them grow into the best version of themselves. This is why I never hesitate to enlighten people on them; children, teachers, parents/guardians, doctors, chiropractors and every kind of medical practitioner. Functional Medicine and Montessori method seek to understand the interactions between our innate potential, preferences, giftings, genetics, lifestyles and environment to proffer a sustainable solution to the increasingly complex medical and academic problems of the 21st Century.