What is functional medicine?
Functional medicine is also referred to as holistic, integrative, complementary, or sometimes naturopathic medicine. Regardless of the name, functional medicine is an approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease with specialized testing that often goes much deeper than conventional, pharmaceutically based medicine. Functional medicine takes a look at the whole person and asks the question, “Why is this happening in the body?” It does not just look at one or two symptoms and try to match a drug to them. Treating symptoms with synthetic and toxic drugs will usually only mask the symptoms and create more complications.
Treat the cause not the symptoms.
Can you even imagine the results of trying to treat complex multilayered chronic conditions like:
- autoimmune disorders
- chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia
- chronic inflammation
- adrenal stress disorders
- leaky gut syndrome, IBS, Colitis
- severe food allergies
With one or two synthetic drugs?
Principles of functional medicine.
- recognizes we are all genetically and biochemically different
- is deeply science based
- acknowledges in a practical way that the body is a self-healing mechanism
- sees the “big picture” by connecting the dots between all the various signs, symptoms, lab tests, x-rays, etc.
- knows that removing obstacles, detoxifying and providing missing nutrients allows the body to heal disease and slow down aging
- freely uses, when indicated, botanicals, homeopathy, nutritional compounds, phytotherapy, chiropractic, adjustments to diet, sleep aids, and stress reduction techniques to improve physiological function.
The holistic doctor has a wide variety of therapeutic modalities to achieve the best results. It is the goal of functional medicine to be not just free of disease. The goal of functional medicine is to restore you to optimum vitality and energy levels and not only cover your symptoms with drugs and surgery.
What’s the difference between functional and traditional medicine?
The Function medicine approach to diagnosing with blood chemistry testing is one of the many differentiating features between conventional and functional medicine, and is highlighted in the approach to blood chemistry analysis. Blood chemistries are examined by functional medicine doctors from both a functional and pathological perspective; we do not rely only on the pathological reference ranges given by the lab. Functional medicine doctors know that the reference ranges relied on by almost all medical doctors are based on a bell curved analysis of all the people who used that lab over a certain period of time, many of whom were very ill. That’s who you are being compared to! Also, lab ranges have broadened over the last several decades as the health of the average American has declined. As a result, more and more people are told they are fine, when in fact, they have a health dysfunction of some kind.
In a functional medical practice, we look at markers and patterns…not just individual numbers. Functional medicine is based on in depth knowledge of human physiology, (and pathology) and on how the different body systems work together. Functional medicine blood chemistry scans include more markers than standard blood tests. For instance, by looking at the different white blood cell counts, we can see whether an immune reaction is chronic or acute, and whether a bacteria, virus, parasite, or allergy is causing it.
Other patterns help us identify autoimmune disorders, fatty liver, leaky gut, and different types of allergies. Finally, functional blood chemistry screens helps to determine what other tests may be necessary such as a specific hormone panel or a stool test.