What is Functional Medicine?
What is Functional Medicine anyway?? Alternative? Holistic? Collaborative? Complementary? It can be considered all of those things, but, at the core of Functional Medicine is how your body functions.
Think about your car for a minute. When gas doesn’t get to the engine, your car doesn’t function the way you think it should. Then, you step on the accelerator and maybe it goes a little, or not at all. Or, maybe the engine doesn’t even start! So, there are a few things that could be causing the dysfunction of the gas getting to the engine, right? Are you with me? It could be the hoses that bring the gas to the engine, maybe there is leak, or maybe it is plugged up with residue. Could it be the fuel filter, it's so dirty, gas cannot pass through any more. Or maybe, the gas tank is completely empty! For this example, lets say the hoses are plugged.
Root Cause Found
Functional Medicine(FM) looks at your body to see where the dysfunction is actually located - known as the Root Cause. The root cause of the car problem is one of two things, the filter is so plugged it released gunk and plugged up the hose, or the hoses are just so old, the residue built up causing the plug. Liken that to your intestines or liver getting gummed up and not working properly. When things aren't working properly, you manifest any number of symptoms. And what if the tank was empty too. Then, that would be like you not getting the nutrients you need to keep your body running smooth.
The Future of Medicine, Now...
Functional Medicine the future of conventional medicine–available now. As a physician, I want to seek to identify and address the root causes of disease. Not put a bandaid on the symptom. So, symptoms start when your body is starting to dysfunction. In the car example where the filter or hose became plugged, the symptom you may have experienced as the driver is the car had less “zip” or “get up and go” when pressing on the accelerator. If we just press the accelerator down more, trying to compensate for the symptom, poor acceleration, this may help for some time, but in the long run, the hose and the filter will continue to clog up. All we did was address the symptom. This is like taking a medication to take away any symptom and the underlying problem remains.
Traditional doctors are realizing that medications do not solve the problems. Since, lifestyle is responsible for 70-90% of the chronic diseases that kill people in America - heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and autoimmune disorders - then, lifestyle MUST be the ultimate answer.
The body is an integrated group of systems, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. Using FM I will discover the underlying causes of disease, then we will create a sensible plan for your whole body to heal.
Clients as Partners in Healing
We will have a therapeutic partnership. Is this a radical shift from the traditional doctor-patient relationship where the doctor holds all the power? Yes, and that's why I like to think of it as a Coach:Client relationship. However, it is a revolution 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, we can address the whole person, not just your isolated set of symptoms.
As an FM practitioner, I spend time with YOU! I want to hear your story! Everyone has one, and it is therapeutic to tell it and integrate your current health concerns with your history. Because of the specialized training I have, I can look at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine will support your unique expression of health and vitality.
So, why do we need Functional Medicine anyway?
- Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Who do you know?
Why doesn’t traditional medicine know this stuff?
- The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration, like an accident or infection - like the pneumonia - and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. As a result, physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
- Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society. It is a known fact that 70-90% of disease is lifestyle driven - what we eat, drink, how we move sleep think and feel.
Traditionally Trained Physicians Are Not Trained for The Treatment of Chronic Illnesses
- There’s a huge gap between research and the way traditional doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.
- The traditional MD has 7 hours of nutrition training in medical school!! I had more than that my first month of chiropractic school!
- Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients. Literally, only 25% of physicians have had any significant coursework in nutrition! I know it’s crazy, right!?! They just don’t know anything except drugs and surgery - scripts and scalpels...
How is Functional Medicine Different?
We dig in to what is going on... functional medicine involves seeks the Root Cause
- Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:
- Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. This is about vitality! Feeling amazing everyday! By listening to the patient and learning your story, FM coaching can bring you into the discovery process and tailor treatments that address your unique needs.
- FM is an integrative, science-based healthcare approach. We look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in your history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to your illness. Your unique genetic makeup is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect your body’s ability to function efficiently.
- I integrate best medical practices. Functional medicine does integrate some traditional Western medical practices with what you may consider “alternative” or “integrative” medicine. The focus will ultimately be on not only prevention, but treatment through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques. We will find what combination suits YOU!
Fixing Leaky Gut
Why do I need a COACH?
Health & Life Coaching
Why do you need a coach? There's an easy answer for you. Are you currently getting the results you're looking for with your current health plan? If the answer is "no", then you need a coach. There are 4 components to a successful health plan.
- Sustainable plan
My SPARK Health Group Health Coaching programs offer all four components so you:
- Can have tons of energy
- Can be at your optimal weight
- Can have hormonal control
- Can have mood control
- Can have optimal digestion
Get your Free 3 day Diet Diary coaching session. Schedule your 30 minute EXPLORE Call.
Testing & Analysis
Testing & Analysis
Diagnostic Testing from the Functional Medicine perspective is a little different than from a traditional perspective. The traditional perspective is too look for diseases. It is important to rule out any potential disease, what I think of as “the ugly stuff” like cancer. Most of the time when people “just don’t feel well” or feel like CRAP, or if you have had long standing irritable bowel, hormone issues, fatigue, etc...it actually isn’t anything ugly and you’re told “your labs are normal and maybe you’re depressed”.
The Functional Medicine perspective looks at labs from a nutritional perspective. All of things the labs are testing for are some kind of molecule or cell in the body. These cells and molecules are made of the nutrients we eat. Specific types of molecules require specific nutrition. For example, you need iron to make the hemoglobin molecule that carries oxygen in your red blood cells. You also need B-12 and folate to process an inflammatory molecule called homocysteine, completely.
To start off your plan with a solid baseline, I like to get labs when we start to work together and then 6-12 months later. The initial Functional Health Panel is done through Evexia and LabCorp. I can order labs in most states through her network.
Optimal vs Standard Lab Ranges
Another difference between traditional and Functional medicine is that labs are assessed using Optimal Values, not Standard Ranges. Your body can heal itself and will be in the Optimal Ranges when it is functioning in a healthy way. The goal of Functional Medicine is to help your body reach optimal function through filling in the deficiencies and taking out the things that aggravate your condition or cause disease in your body.
Functional Health Blood Panel
Food Sensitivity Testing - check out my blog for more info
Adrenal and Hormone testing - here's how I balance hormones without replacements
Our body does amazing things if you think about it for a minute. We take in food and make new cells with it! Wow! We have our own construction and repair department. Along the way, however, these processes create and our food contains some toxic trash that must be handled properly. Where do those toxins come from? The pesticides on your fruits and vegetables, the preservatives in your processed foods and the bus you were behind on the way to work, not to mention the unfiltered water, excess sugar, alcohol and caffeine you consume.
Our liver and kidneys make up the bulk of the detoxification centers. Our intestines are involved in the elimination portion. These two organs need specialized nutrition to protect you from the toxic waste they deal with every minute of the day. The SAD MUD (Standard American or Modern Urban Diet) which comprises the majority of Americans’ nutrition, causes a breakdown in the efficiency of these organs. Also, if your gut isn’t healthy, this will compound the problem.
Functional Medicine seeks to restore efficiency. Some “detox” programs and supplements, I affectionately call them “Colon Blow”, may cause you to have excessive stool for a week, but that is not true detoxification. Once you have cleaned up your gut, you can safely work on your liver and kidneys. Your liver and kidneys need specific nutrients to do their job well. Once these nutrients are supplied, your body can go on it’s merry way keeping you safe from the toxins.
nutrients are supplied, your body can go on it’s merry way keeping you safe from the toxins.