Early in my practice I used nutrition and herbal medicine to help my patients achieve their desired goals. I found that by modifying patients’ diets and adding supplements to correct nutritional deficiencies, the results were far better than simply providing a chiropractic adjustment by itself.
I consider Functional Medicine to be Root Cause resolution medicine. Rather than treating a patient’s myriad symptoms, the astute Functional Medicine physician looks upstream to identify what may be causing those symptoms in the first place. It is an evolution of healthcare that shifts the focus away from the traditional symptom and disease-centered care to a truly patient-centered approach. It engages both the patient and physician in a therapeutic partnership where the patient’s story becomes paramount. Functional Medicine practitioners spend much more time listening to the patient’s history (story) in order to understand how various genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors may be contributing to the patient’s health challenges. Functional Medicine addresses the whole person and supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Functional Medicine has evolved from the latest in underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.
Functional Medicine is constantly evolving and incorporates the newest discoveries in cell biology, psychology, neurology, immunology, endocrinology, genetics and clinical nutrition. I use these new discoveries in my systems-oriented approach to understand the Root Causes of chronic disease.
A good Functional Medicine practitioner is a very good detective and takes the time to listen to each person’s story about how their current health challenges began. I want to know when your health challenges first started and what was going on in your life at that time. Were you going through a divorce, did you suffer the loss of a loved one, or were you doing long-term care for a sick loved one? I want to know how you are sleeping, digesting and eliminating, do you have close friends and a good support network, do you have food sensitivities, seasonal allergies, or chemical sensitivities. And, I also want to know how your brain is functioning: do you have brain fog, trouble finding words, problems with balance, trouble concentrating or a loss of smell.
As you can see, as a Functional Medicine physician, I look for the Root Cause of why things are not functioning properly in the first place. The contrast between Functional Medicine and Traditional Medicine is stark. If these same three patients went to a Traditional Medical facility, they probably all would have a 7-minute office visit, be given a standard lab test (generally only a TSH level); if the labs show a high TSH level, they probably would be given a prescription for Synthroid until future TSH levels were normal. The Traditional Medicine doctor never asks why the thyroid was not functioning properly in the first place. Once the TSH normalized, or if the TSH was normal in the first place, the patient would likely be told that their symptoms are all caused by depression and they would be given an antidepressant. This cookbook medicine and treating lab tests instead of treating patients is an outdated model that, sadly, is still the standard of care.
Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, Functional Medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, Functional Medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Fuctional Medicine changes the way we do Medicine because: