Hello hello! Happy September! I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you all about my first experience with Functional Medicine.
A little while back I was connected to The Maas Clinic, an Osteopathic, Functional and Integrative Medicine Clinic in Petersfield, Hampshire, via a friend.
Health, as anyone who reads this blog will know, is my top priority, and so my interest was immediately piqued. When I was a child my parents favoured natural remedies, and this inclination to pursue holistic healing is something I’ve adopted.
When The Maas Clinic invited me for a full health MOT at their clinic, I couldn’t type my “yes please!” fast enough. Though I had no presenting illnesses at the time, I was curious to learn about the clinic, my health and how Functional and Integrative Medicine works.
Here’s what I found out from my visit to the clinic, the impact it has had on me, and the lessons and learnings I’ll be taking forwards.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine addresses your body as a functional whole. It utilises diagnostic testing to unpick fundamental imbalances and issues within your body.
As The Maas Clinic shares:
We look at lifestyle, hormones and gut in great detail and build bespoke recovery programmes for each client.
Our approach is 100% scientific, however our application is 100% natural.
This in combination with the successful implementation of new dietary and lifestyle modifications can create wonderful results.
Functional Medicine takes into account your lifestyle, nutrition, emotional health, gut health and more. Essentially anything which you come into contact with, and which makes up an element of your life, is taken into consideration.
Rather than treating symptoms (as Western Medicine often does), Functional Medicine aims to get to the source of an ailment — be that an allergy, an infection, trauma or even emotional stress.
The Maas Clinic
The Maas Clinic in Petersfield, Hampshire, UK is an Osteopathic, Functional and Integrative Medicine Clinic.
Founded by Dr. Laurens Maas B.Sc.Ost., DI. Hom., I.MD (USA)., G.Os.C. (UK), and his lovely wife Cath, the clinic is the hub of Laurens and his team’s work.
Laurens, the clinic’s namesake founder, is — as he puts it! — a ‘medical detective’. If there is a health mystery to be solved, Laurens works tirelessly to crack the case. Aside from being incredibly well-qualified — in osteopathy, homeopathy, functional and integrative medicine and NLP — Laurens’ energy is catching! He is also incredibly caring.
As a client of The Maas Clinic, you truly feel like you’re in the best hands possible, both with Laurens and with his fantastic team.
Why visit a Functional Medicine practitioner?
For some people visiting a Functional Medicine practitioner is the norm.
However oftentimes people here in the UK visit a Functional Medicine practitioner when they’ve come to the end of the road with ‘traditional medicine’.
Be that because of a chronic condition like Crohn’s disease, diabetes or a debilitating tiredness which just won’t go away.
The most common issues people seek help for at The Maas Clinic are:
- Adrenal burnout
- Chronic gut issues
- Brain fog
All of which are often linked!
Oh and fun fact! Laurens has a history of treating world-class surfers, including Kelly Slater and Stephanie Gilmore.
A fact that Oli was VERY interested in!
My visit to The Maas Clinic
The Maas Clinic is based in a picturesque nook of the Hampshire countryside, a stone’s-throw from the historic market town of Petersfield. The clinic itself is located in a lovely barn conversion, and the reception area and decor is testament to Laurens’ wife Cath’s eye.
Think copper-pipe shelving, natural wood, and lovely bright light throughout.
Cath kindly invited me to The Maas Clinic for a general health MOT.
I was interested in learning about my overall health, and in particular my energy and hormone levels. Anything else that cropped up — I was open to learning about.
Fair warning, the below isn’t gory, but it does involve me mentioning a few tests and personal details.
Prior to my clinic appointment I had already filled in some extensive questionnaires which asked me about my full medical history, lifestyle and nutrition. This step alone made me take stock of my health and lifestyle, and it made me grateful for the fact that I’d kept a thorough medical file!
Note: if you don’t already have one, invest in a ring binder for ALL of your medical notes. It will come in handy one day.
On arriving at the clinic I needed to pee — TMI, but wait! — which turned out to be great timing since I needed to provide a urine sample.
I then headed into the phlebotomy lab to have two blood samples taken, as well as being weighed. The blood samples were completely painless — Laura the clinic lab technician is a pro! I was then sent back through to reception for tea and cookies.
Healthy cookies I should add. But oh my they were SO good!
Laurens and I had a quick chat in reception, and I then headed upstairs to his treatment room.
Consultation & test results
One of the most notable elements in visiting The Maas Clinic, is the speed with which you receive your test results — within minutes!
From taking the tests, through to receiving the results and having them analysed by Laurens, the whole process took about 15 minutes. Wild when you think how long you usually have to wait for test results.
I should note here that if you require further testing, anything which needs to be sent off to another lab will take longer to come back. But your initial tests are so speedy!
It was amazing to see the results of my blood work up on a large screen in Laurens’ treatment room. Laurens was able to immediately analyse the results, thus beginning to unpick my health and identify any issues I may have.
Indeed, a few things were flagged:
- low zinc
- low vitamin C levels
- poor liver function
- poor gallbladder function
- sightly raised cholesterol
After my hour with Laurens, during which we looked at my test results, chatted about my medical history, and my overall health, I headed back downstairs for an appointment with The Maas Clinic’s Naturopathic Nutritionist Carolin.
Carolin looked more closely at my eating habits. This included when I ate, what I ate and how I felt during different times of day. And throughout my menstrual cycle.
Though prior to my appointment I felt like I was eating fairly healthily, it became apparent that I was leaving too-big gaps between my meals, which in turn was negatively impacting on my energy levels.
I was also relying on coffee ‘as a snack’ which was, counter to my intention, causing my energy levels to peak and then crash.
These big gaps between meals also meant that by the time dinner came round, I was craving comforting ‘heavy’ food — not great for digestion or sleep.
This is the fun part, right?!
One of the biggest things my tests had flagged, was that my liver and gallbladder were not working well.
Interestingly, one of the most prominent symptoms of a gallbladder issue is a persistent ‘unexplainable’ headache. Indeed I had a horrible niggling headache for weeks.
I’d put the headache down to too much time at my laptop, but as you’ll read below, I now correlate this symptom to my liver/gallbladder issues.
This is one of the biggest takeaways I have from my first Functional Medicine experience. A symptom doesn’t necessarily come from the ’cause’ you are expecting. Which is why it is so important to look at the body as a whole. This goes for your emotional health too.
As part of my treatment plan I was advised to eat two large chopped salads a day, and to use a dressing of 1 cup of olive oil and lemon juice. The olive oil and lemon juice is a potent combination. It helped to flush through my gallbladder and get rid of built-up ‘sludge’. Ha, gross I know!
I was also armed with an array of supplements, including:
- Raw Zinc
- Calcium D-Glucorate
- CoQ-10 Soft Gels
- Full Spectrum Wild Alaskan Omega
- Vitamin C
- UltraClear Plus (an alkalising formula which I take like a protein powder)
I was advised to include more walking and meditative activity into my routine.
One of the biggest things to come from my appointment was to learn about the paleo blood-type diet too!
Speaking of which . . .
Paleo Blood-Type Diet
Dr Peter D’Adamo’s blood-type diet is hugely popular the world-over for it’s personalised take on your unique blood-type needs.
Laurens and his colleagues support eating in line with your blood-type.
I found out during my appointment that I am blood-type A-. This means that I’m more naturally inclined towards vegetarian meals and limited lean meat and fish.
If you are curious you can read all about being a Blood-Type A here, as well as investigating your own blood-type.
I have since adjusted my diet to eat more in-line with Laurens and Carolin’s suggestions. Cutting back on meat, and increasing my vegetarian meal intake has certainly helped with my overall mood and energy.
I am trying to do more recipe research into vegetarian meals, since once I have a few staples to hand I know it’ll be easier to pursue.
Further to this I was also advised to follow a semi-restricted SIBO diet. Let me know if you’d like me to share more about that in another post.
How am I feeling now?
It has been a couple of months now since my appointment at The Maas Clinic.
The biggest benefit for me has been the complete absence of headaches! After weeks of persistent headaches, after a few days on the supplements and adjusting my lifestyle, the headaches completely went. Aside from a hangover, and a PMT migraine, my head has been clear and pain-free.
My energy levels have been SO much better for following a more regular eating schedule too. I’ve noticed that my thoughts are much clearer, and my overall energy has been stable, meaning that getting on with work and self-motivating has been easier all round.
The third positive effect has been a significant reduction in PMT symptoms, and a much lighter period (though mine is usually quite light anyway).
I am due to take a few more tests, which Laurens has recommended.
In order to understand the full impact on my body of following the treatment plan, I’ll also need a follow-up appointment with Laurens to check my blood-work again.
As I look towards mine and Oli’s future, I am particularly keen to learn more about my hormones, since I have been on the same contraception (Mirena Coil) for over 10 years.
Laurens had noted that some of my vitamin and mineral deficiencies, as well as energy dips, may be linked to consistent use of contraception, and so I am due to take a further hormone test to investigate this further.
Education & costing
If you are interested in learning more about Functional Medicine from The Maas Clinic there are a few different routes you can go down:
An initial consultation with Laurens and the team, akin to what I went through, is £840 + external kits and supplements.
A year’s intensive programme is then usually between £5k – £10k.
No two ways around this: it’s expensive, but the results the team have garnered in their 27+ years of practice are phenomenal! If you are experiencing any kind of health issues, especially if you want to go down a natural route, or if you are struggling to get any ‘real’ answers, I can’t recommend working with The Maas Clinic enough.
There are so many great articles over there which explain more about Functional and Integrative Medicine, as well as the different systems within your body.
- Sign up to The Maas Clinic newsletter
For regular ‘links and learnings’ from Laurens!
For insight and advice.
- And stay tuned for VERY exciting news on the clinic’s upcoming launches: a new book + NEW digital offerings . . . ! Both of which will be an accessible way to connect with Laurens, and his unique ‘Maas Method’.
I have always been inclined to focus on natural remedies and treatments. I grew up visiting a homeopath and have leaned on my Mama’s remedies and rules — largely learnt from her upbringing in the hills of Italy.
Upon visiting The Maas Clinic I didn’t have any ‘real’ health concerns, but it is amazing how groggy and ‘quietly’ unwell you realise you have been, when you actually feel good again!
The headaches which had been plaguing me have gone. My thinking is much clearer and my skin is clearer than it’s been in years — a happy result of better detoxing.
I am planning on taking further tests to understand my hormonal health better, but I’ll be staggering these to spread the cost.
On that note, the clinic is very amenable to each clients’ needs, so I felt very comfortable saying that I’d need to pace myself with the testing.
That being said, had I been suffering with a chronic condition, I would have been inclined to commit fully to the whole programme right away. The results Laurens and his team have experienced with treating chronic illnesses is incredible.
I am eagerly awaiting the clinic’s upcoming digital launches, and no doubt will be signing up to them as and when they launch! I’ll keep you in the loop for when they do.
One of the most fundamental things I’ve loved about getting to know more about Functional Medicine, is the totalistic approach it takes to health.
It has encouraged me to think more deeply about my environment, my relationships, intentions and connection to the world as a whole.
Though it is a medical practice, Functional Medicine is really much broader. I believe that it has fantastic value for anyone wanting to align their values, health and life.
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Do you know much about Functional Medicine already? If so, what’s your experience been like?
I’d love to hear from you!
A huge thank you to Laurens, Cath and the whole Maas Clinic team for having me in to visit and for taking such great care of me!
Love, Monica x
~ Thank you to The Maas Clinic for inviting me to take part in a health MOT. Though I was kindly gifted the experience, all of my thoughts shared here are entirely my own. ~