Create Your Own Functional Medicine Timeline

The Functional Medicine Timeline is used to bring your health story to life. Your timeline, form pre-conception to present, is the first step in determining how your health issues began and understanding their underlying causes.  

Your timeline will help you and your Functional Medicine Practitioner to identify health issues, important changes, stresses, medications used, and any other major life events. As you review your timeline, you will start to see some common trends, triggering events and a roadmap that often uncovers what led to your current state of health or dis-ease.


The key to the timeline’s success is chronology. When organized in an orderly fashion — from preconception to the present moment — your medical history, life events and environmental exposures, can jump right off the page as a cause and effect relationship. Without this careful step-by-step chronological history taking exercise, such incidents can easily be overlooked or dismissed.

What We’re Looking For

As you answer the questions, it can be helpful to know what we’re looking for and how your Functional Medicine Practitioner is going to use the information. 

If you do eventually meet with a Functional Practitioner (and I highly recommend that you do), you may see them use a very simply one-page approach to plotting your timeline like this one below.

The left section of the matrix is what we’ll be concentrating on as you create your timeline. It concentrates on tracking antecedents, triggering events, and mediators/perpetuators.

In layman’s terms:

  1. Antecedents: – Things that may predispose you. For example family history, genetics, dietary insufficiency, infections, exposures to toxins, prescription drugs and more.
  2. Triggers: – An event, illness or exposure that you have ‘never been well since’. This could be physical or psychic trauma, microbes, toxins, memories, stressful events, infections. A trigger could also be a positive transformative moment where health improves suddenly.
  3. Mediators: – Things that perpetuate a condition, for example ongoing psychological stress, ongoing exposure to an environmental insult (ex. mold, chronic sleep deprivation or shift-work, inflammatory cytokines, and more).

The bottom of the matrix details lifestyle factors like sleep and relaxation, exercise and movement, nutrition and hydration, stress and resilience, and relationships and support networks. That and the centre section are items you’ll work on with your Functional MD.Functional Medicine Timeline


Let The Detective Work Begin

It’s time to get curious about your own health story … the detective work begins now … as we go back in time!

The timeline is divided into stages, beginning before you were even born and ending at present day. This exercise may take some time to complete, and you may need to consult with family members, but it’ll be worth the effort!

While some practitioners will simply draw a line on a piece of paper and plot your age and begin recording your major life events, I recommend copying and pasting the information below into a word/Google document so you can add your own details and edit it over time. Alternatively, if you don’t want to dedicate the time to this exercise, simply print it out and use a highlighter and pen to mark any events/health issues that apply to you.

Remember: The information below is simply a guideline of the type of things you should consider. Record anything and everything you think might be a factor for you.

If you read my post “Finding Your Root Cause,” you’ll remember I recommended a docuseries called “Betrayal – The Autoimmune Disease Solution They’re Not Telling You,” by Dr. Tom O’Bryan … watching it may provide you with some additional prompts for what to add to your timeline. 

Preconception & Birth

  • mother’s health before pregnancy
  • any complications in pregnancy (e.g. born prematurely, gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, induced labor)
  • born on time / early / late, any interventions
  • birth complications
  • type of birth – vaginal / induced / cesarian section
  • breastfeeding initiated right away
  • bonding with mother at birth

Infant / Toddler (to age 3)

  • breast or bottle fed, formula fed (type of formula), length of breast feeding, mother’s health during breast feeding
  • colic
  • immunizations on schedule / any reactions
  • bonding with parents
  • any known stresses (mother suffered with postpartum depression)
  • age of first food introductions, what was first?
  • any reactions to foods in the first year?
  • allergies, asthma
  • eczema, skin conditions?
  • frequent ear infections? tubes in the ears
  • adenoids or tonsils out?
  • frequent croup?
  • weight gain / difficulty gaining weight
  • basic nutrition
  • daycare / preschool – started at what age
  • how many times antibiotics before age 4?
  • stomach / digestive problems (stomach aches, constipation diarrhea)
  • meeting developmental milestones?
  • dental history: regular brushing / flossing

Childhood (age 4 to puberty)

  • sick often?
  • lots of antibiotics?
  • weight – average, heavy, too small?
  • stresses / moves / changes / bullying / parents / siblings
  • how was nutrition (e.g. healthy, mostly unprocessed foods, lots of fast food, or somewhere in between)?
  • tonsils out?
  • athletics and activities – ages and intensity
  • stomach / digestive problems (stomach aches, constipation diarrhea)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • dental health – lots of fillings?


  • what age? early (11 or younger), average (12 or 13), late (14 or over)?
  • hormonal issues (e.g. mood swings or acne?)
  • early breast development

Teenage Years

  • mood – depression / anxiety
  • stresses and changes
  • difficulties with school performance
  • heavy or painful periods
  • irregular or very late periods?
  • acne
  • digestive problems (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome IBS)?
  • many antibiotics (includes tetracycline, minocin or doxycycline for acne)
  • started oral contraceptives or other hormonal birth control?
  • pregnancy? to term or not?
  • athletics and activities
  • nutritional status
  • eating disorders
  • alcohol, tobacco, drug use

Early Adulthood (up to 28 years)

  • stresses / changes
  • medications, including oral or other hormonal contraceptives
  • digestive issues
  • nutrition
  • alcohol , drug, tobacco use
  • antibiotic use (includes urinary tract infections)
  • immune system function
  • employment / loss of employment / job stress / financial stress
  • travel / parasites, related immunizations
  • headaches, migraines
  • recurrent yeast infections
  • illnesses / hospitalizations / surgeries / wisdom teeth
  • birth of children – stress involved / post-partum depression / conditions during pregnancy
  • any health conditions
  • changes in weight
  • exercise, athletics
  • changes in menses
  • skin conditions
  • anything you have never been well since?

Mid-Adulthood (29 to 39 years)

  • as above
  • hormonal changes, menstrual cycle changes?
  • pregnancies, fertility treatments
  • new stresses, losses, changes
  • anything you have never been well since?


  • as above
  • hormonal changes – periods heavy / light / irregular
  • early menopause?
  • any other chronic or acute health issues
  • daily medications
  • anything you have never been well since?


  • as above
  • age of onset of menopause
  • any new chronic health conditions
  • weight changes
  • stresses through menopause
  • how long was menopause transition – difficult?

Beyond the 50’s

  • as above
  • any new health conditions
  • hospitalizations or surgeries?
  • medications used
  • anything you have never been well since?

Through The Years

  • list significant life events : marriage / living arrangements / housing / employment / relationships / emotional trauma / travel / major life stresses
  • loss of a friend / loved one / sibling / parent 
  • accident or traumatic event involving a friend / loved one / sibling / parent 
  • allergies /sensitivities to medications / foods
  • environmental exposures: smokers / pesticides or herbicides / water leaks / damp environments / mold / family pets / farm animals
  • diagnostics : MRI / CT scan / x-rays / scopes / ultrasound
  • injuries / hospitalizations / surgeries / major dental work
  • illnesses & conditions: gastrointestinal / respiratory / endocrine / metabolic / genital / urinary / inflammatory / immune / skin / neurological / mood / nerves / emotional / sleep issues
  • prescription use : you may be able to get a history of your prescriptions at your pharmacy

Family History

State of health / medical issues / current age or age at death / cause of death if deceased

  • Father
  • Mother
  • Maternal Grandfather
  • Maternal Grandmother
  • Paternal Grandfather
  • Paternal Grandfather
  • Siblings
  • Other relatives with significant health issues

It’s a good idea to keep a copy of this information – it will be helpful for any assessment with a healthcare practitioner in the future.

What’s Next?

“Find the cause, fix the cause, feel normal again!”

I recommend finding a Functional Medicine Practitioner and begin working with them to discover your root cause – Click here to find one near you – and be sure to take a copy of your timeline with you or send it to the latest member of your healthcare team before your appointment so they can get a good handle on where you’re at on your journey.

If you find it a challenge to find a practitioner near you, consider working with one remotely. If your financial situation doesn’t allow you to work with a Functional Practitioner, I would suggest checking into the option of working with a Certified AIP Coach – click here to find one.



The Institute of Functional Medicine – The Functional Matrix

With thanks to Restoration Health Care for having compiled the questions that disappeared when the Living Matrix program disappeared.