What is Functional Medicine?

Get Your Life Back with Functional Medicine

Ever been at a party, someone tells you what they do, it’s something complicated and you stand there with a blank look on your face thinking: HUH?? I get that look all the time when I tell people I practice Functional Medicine.  So, to clarify what I do and introduce you to a new way of thinking about your body…read on…

1.  Education: Functional Medicine(FM) is actually complimentary to traditional medicine.

  •  Primary Care Physicians serve an important role in keeping people alive! It is necessary, sometimes, to take prescriptions, especially in acute illness – infections, heart attacks, injuries – these doctors are heroes!
  • If “getting healthy” is your goal, or chronic diseases like diabetes, auto-immune issues, weight loss or hormonal imbalances are your issue, they won’t have the non-drug, non-surgical answer you are seeking. WHY? 
  • Traditionally trained medical doctors get an average of 7 hours of nutritional training in medical school. YES! 7 hours!
  • Your Medical Doctor is trained to keep you alive at all costs, not get you healthy, and there is a difference. FM practitioners, many who are chiropractors and naturopaths, have 200-400 hours, or more, in clinical nutrition and biochemistry while in school.
  • You can be on medications while seeing a Functional Medicine Doc.

2. Philosophy: Functional Medicine Docs take a different approach.

  • I think: “What is going on in the physiology to create the symptoms that this patient has right now? What is not FUNCTIONING properly to create the symptom?” Like an investigator looking for clues. I was trained to dive deep into your physiology to understand the root cause.
  • Your traditionally trained doc isn’t trained to do this…they are trained to figure out what prescription or surgery you need, or not, to alleviate the symptom. Remember, there is nothing wrong with this approach!  
  • Traditionally trained MD’s and DO’s rarely have the nutritional education necessary to offer an answer involving something other that a script or scalpwel.
  • The body has the inherent ability to heal itself, given the right ingredients and environment.
  • Your Doc will basically tell you that your issue is just bad luck, it’s genetics and there is nothing you can do about it.  For MOST issues, it is quite the opposite.
  • According to the literature, 70-90% of chronic disease is based in lifestyle factors – what you eat, drink, how you move, sleep, think and feel.  And yet, your traditionally trained doctor isn’t educated in any of these solutions.That is why it is important to work together. It doesn’t have to be, take the drug OR change your lifestyle. It can be both!

3. Is Functional Medicine “new”? No. 

  • FM has been around for over 35 years. 
  •  Chiropractors and naturopaths have been touting lifestyle as the way to health for hundreds of years.
  • There are 700,000 traditionally trained physicians in this country and only about 50,000 chiropractors, naturopaths and other “alternative” practitioners. We are like the needle in a haystack. 
  • Insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industries have billions of dollars on the line for you to stay in the traditional system.  Not to mention the food industry – this is a blog for another day!

4. Patient Centered Focus vs Symptom Focused  

  • Getting to know you and your health issues is my first concern.  I want to hear your story,
  • Together we will spend over an hour reviewing your history from birth to the present. Your timeline…You will learn what is functioning well and what is dysfunctional.
  • The typical labs and standard ranges don’t tell you anything about how healthy you are today. We will do a more extensive lab work-up than your typical doc to look at the deficiencies that could be causing the dysfunction.
  • In our second visit, I spend time educating you about your issues based on your lab results and the accompanying physiology along with creating a personalized plan.
  • We will create a plan, together.  It will include what food to eat, what supplements to take to heal your gut and other dysfunctional parts.  

Since lifestyle is at the core of healing, beware if you just get a ton of supplements that alleviate symptoms. Addressing root cause needs to include, minimally, temporary dietary changes and a gut healing protocol. Hopefully this gives you a different way to look at taking charge of your health and your life.

I’ve been practicing FM for 28 years.  I LOVE it! I wrote a book in 2017 Simply Functional Medicine.  You can find it on Amazon, kindle or paperback! Currently, I am taking new patients, in person and virtually through Zoom.