Most of us know it, yet we don’t always do it! We’re talking about how we can balance good quality eating and nutrition with sleep, rest, movement and exercise to transform our health for the better. That’s the very theme for this year’s Institute for Functional Medicine’s Annual International Conference.

I’ve just arrived in San Diego for the conference. I’ll be joined by my colleague Meleni Aldridge, and we’ll be among around 1600 delegates (mainly health professionals), all of us committed to furthering our own education in functional medicine, learning from the researchers and clinicians in the front lines of the field of ‘modifiable lifestyle factors’.

What’s so good about the IFM’s annual conferences is that so many of us who are passionate about natural health come together in one place. What happens outside the keynotes, lectures and workshop sessions is as important as what happens during them. We all have a common view, and that’s that functional medicine works because it puts the patient and his or her requirements first, it integrates a wide range of modalities and deals with the whole body, taking into account our individual genetics and environments.

While most will have come from different corners of the USA, there’s always a healthy contingent from Europe, Australia and various parts of Asia. Among the UK delegation will be two UK doctors who’re leading the GP’s charge on functional medicine and lifestyle modification, namely Dr Rangan Chatterjee, from the BBC’s Doctor in the House series and Dr Rupy Aujla, from The Doctor’s Kitchen. It’ll be great to hook up again with these healthcare-transforming clinicians, along with many others.

It’ll be a pleasure to see the touch papers being lit around the world following the interactions that happen at the conference!