What is Functional Medicine?
The term “functional medicine” was coined in 1993 to describe the next dimension of western medical care. The tools of western medicine, such as pharmaceuticals and surgery, are exceptional for the battle-field or the emergency room, but these are rarely the appropriate tools for non-emergency care. Most people seeking healthcare for degenerative conditions are experiencing a slow degrading of their quality of life (QOL), such as:
- Chronic Anxiety and depression
- Chronic Digestive symptoms
- Candida, parasite infections or/ and bacterial imbalances in the flora of the gut
- Hormonal deficiencies
- PMS and menopausal symptoms
- Impaired detoxification
- Weight Gain
- High cholesterol and cardiovascular disease
- Metabolic Syndrom (High Blood Pressure, High Blood sugar, High Cholesterol
Functional Medicine has attracted a wide range of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners as well as medical doctors, because of its foundation in scientific research and published studies. The explosion of scientific research over the past 15 years has added another layer of understanding to these ancient healing principles:
- Biochemical individuality is the theory that the nutritional and metabolic needs of each patient are unique. Everything that happens in the body requires vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. One individual may need nutrients to support digestion (enzymes, zinc, vitamin B1) while another needs support to decrease pain and inflammation (turmeric, glucosamine, calcium and magnesium).
- Patient-centered medicine emphasizes focusing on the patient as a whole, rather than just the disease. Diseases with the same name often arise from different causative factors. For example, high cholesterol may arise due to bad diet, damage to the arteries, liver impairment, genetic variations or excessive production of stress hormones. Treatment needs to be based on the underlying metabolic or lifestyle imbalance(s) for each individual patient.
- Interconnections of physiology are a growing area of medical research that is bringing understanding to the communications between body systems. For example, chronic stress can affect centers in the brain that may disrupt the thyroid, digestive system, cardiovascular system or reproductive hormones.
- Dynamic balance of internal and external factors takes into account exercise, stress, environment, nutrition and diet as external influences and genetics, biochemical individuality and patterns of belief as internal factors.
- Preventive care In our culture, health is considered the absence of disease. We often ignore minor symptoms and wait until they become severe enough to warrant conventional western medical treatment. However, even the most minor symptoms can foreshadow more serious conditions later in life. Functional medicine focuses on early detection and treatment of symptoms and biochemical imbalances in order to prevent the future manifestation of disease states.
Functional medicine utilizes multiple approaches to identify subtle imbalances:
- Symptom questionnaire and patient history are important keys to understanding patients’ subjective experiences and the development of disease processes.
- Physical assessment can shed light on areas of inflammation or degeneration, nutrient needs and constitutional/metabolic imbalances.
- Functional blood chemistry analysis interprets basic blood work through more stringent parameters which can help to identify:
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Adrenal stress
- Metabolic acidity
- Digestive weakness
- Low grade infections
- Mineral deficiencies
- B vitamin deficiencies
- Kidney and Liver stress
- Take-home laboratory tests are used to more specifically identify:
- Pathogenic infections (fungus/candida, bacterial overgrowth, parasites)
- Leaky gut
- Detoxification imbalances
- Adrenal stress and neurotransmitter imbalances (serotonin, adrenaline, etc.)
- Hormone levels
- Food Allergies
- Autoimmune tissue identities
Treatment of symptoms and biochemical imbalances is approached from the perspectives of doing no harm, treating underlying causes, and empowering the patient to make choices and begin habits that will have a broad and lasting positive impact on their health:
- Cleansing and detoxification
- Nutritional protocols
- Homeopathic medicine
- Essential oils
Functional medicine is the next evolution of western medicine. It supports patients better by focusing on individuals rather than diseases, integrating with CAM approaches and teaching the lifestyle lessons and habits that promote health and prevent disease.
I can perform the following test for you, depending on your needs:
- Food Allergy Panels Testing
- Regional Pollens Allergy Testing
- Hormone Testing
- Neuro-Transmitter Testing
- Metabolic Testing
- CBC Panels with Diff Testing
- Infectious Diseases Panels
- Hair Mineral Analysis
- Blood typing test
- GI Map Digestive Test
- CDSA (Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis
- Cyrex (Various Panels) Testing
- OAT Testing
- Environmental Toxins Testing
You can contact our office to discuss these test.