We interview Dr Amel Seghouani, a remarkable woman at the top of her game. She is a nutritional and functional medicine therapist based in London. She has a brilliant academic record (Fully qualified and GMC registered medical doctor,she is also trained as a Naturopath,and is a BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist as well as a Certified Gluten Sensitivity Practitioner.Dr Seghouani also holds an MBA) but above all, it is her passion for supporting patients via a holistic approach that makes her stand out. She likes to get to the root cause of the problem and once there she will do everything she can to help her patients with a drug free approach. Her mission is to empower people so that they can take charge of their own health by understanding the power of nutrition and food as medicine.
- How did you become a nutritional/functional medicine therapist ?
In addition to my medical degree, I have studied naturopathy and nutrition in London and I am currently going through the certification programme with the Institute of Functional Medicine to keep myself up to date and increase my knowledge in this very scientific and rapidly evolving field. My training and experience in conventional medicine has taught me many things but unfortunately, it did not teach me to see the bigger picture, which is the holistic approach.
Medical doctors are clueless about nutrition and do not know more than the general public, our training includes very little and basic information often not linked to the illnesses and how to treat them unless it is with drugs.
2. Being a medical doctor and a pharmaceutical physician for many years, how come you found interest in natural health?
I chose to be a medical doctor to help people improve their health and fight diseases. After many years in the conventional medicine field -or western medicine as some people like to call it – and after almost 20 years of working with patients and then with pharmaceutical companies on many different drugs that I truly believed would change patients’ lives, I started to realise the numerous limitations of conventional medicine which are unfortunately widely accepted in our western society and by the fashionable medical scientific totalitarism.
3. What are these limitations ?
What is missing in the Western Medicine is , why do we get sick in the first place ? The body underlined role is to create balance ( that we call homeostasis in the scientific world). In the Conventional medicine, every illness is based on infectious model, it is unfortunately a Pill for an ill approach rather than treating the root cause of the disease to cure the patient.
4. Why do you think Western medicine is unable to get to the root cause of illnesses ?
At medical school we are not taught to look for the root cause of the disease which is the only way we can eradicate it, it sounds very logical isn’t it? . I hate to say it but despite many years of studying physiology, pathophysiology and biochemistry we do not take a holistic look at the patient.
Western medicine has divided the body into organs and many specialities and subspecialties that will often not connect with each other. But hang on, I am not aware of any organ that functions in isolation to the rest of the body. So this approach is wrong but it is unfortunately the foundation of modern medicine.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying at all the role of western medicine in dealing with acute disease and illnesses. However, anything chronic that will require a holistic approach is unfortunately a big challenge and results in a failure since its model is only designed to treat symptoms and symptoms are not the cause of the body’s imbalance.They are just a manifestation of it and can vary from one individual to another depending on their genetic and environmental make up.This is the reason why “one size fits all” of drugs companies, doesn’t work.
5. What does nutrition offer ?
Nutrition is the basis of everything, we all know Hippocrates’ famous quote about letting food be your medicine and your medicine your food?
There are 2 main causes of sickness, the first one is malnourishment : It is our intake of vitamins and minerals that allows every cell to work and every organ to do its job so that we can breath and live to enjoy ourselves.The body is able to heal itself if the right ingredients are there : Essential vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately , people think of food like fuel, just calories needed to go through the day. Modern medicine is not the only one to blame, “the ill-pill model” has been created to suit consumers who are seeking for a quick fix and will unfortunately remain as long as the demand is still there.
6. How is your practice different from an MD practice ?
With functional medicine I came to learn how to look for the root cause and take a holistic understanding of the body rather than segmented, it is a patient centred care: Listen to the patient. Symptoms are great because they are a sign of a dysfunction in our body but when not well understood they can be very misleading as they can overlap in many cases, so the only driver is the patient story.
I now spend an hour with patients to understand their story and it makes a huge difference. I was amazed at how small dietary changes can change people. I would have never considered this with my conventional medical training.
7. Do you have anything to add ?
I love what I do and I truly believe discovering functional medicine has changed my life, I have a better understanding of my own body and I am better equipped to help others now.I am very grateful that I finally found the right way to achieve my mission which reminds me of Rumi’s quote :
I have lived on the lip of insanity, wanting to know reasons, knocking on a door. It opens. I’ve been knocking from the inside.
8. How can people connect with you or contact you ?
I run a practice in North West London, people can contact me through my website : www.DrAmelS.com. I also run workshops on various important topics to help raise awareness about health issues and provide accurate, scientific cutting edge and easy-to-understand information that will help people to make sense of all conflicting information out there on the internet. Information on these workshops is available on my website.