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Functional Medicine – A New, Better Approach

Most of us have grown up to believe that when health issues occur, there's a pill for that. It has been instilled in us to automatically think of traditional (Western) medicine, relying on drugs like antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Often a patient is experiencing a myriad of symptoms and their attempts at seeking treatment do not yield results. Over the years and now in the 21st century, healthcare is undergoing drastic changes. Extensive research has moved towards modern approaches, more holistic practices that are good for the mind, body, and soul. This is where ‘“functional medicine” comes in. With a different method in tackling disease/illness, alternative methods have made significant achievements in treating infectious diseases, including life expectancy.

 

What is Functional Medicine Exactly?

Functional medicine is a personalized approach to health care that incorporates the latest genetic science and systems biology to focus on identifying and addressing the root cause of a disease.  Functional medicine incorporates an understanding of how one’s environment and lifestyle factors can influence the emergence and progression of a disease. This new model of treatment represents the future of medicine at the very core. It enables doctors to uncover the root causes of a patient's illness to achieve true healing, rather than suppressing the symptoms with medicine and drugs. Functional Medicine does not diagnose a medical condition, it provides a snapshot into metabolic issues that can alleviate pain and suffering. 

 

What Does a Functional Medicine Doctor Actually Do?

Functional medicine is all about treating the patient as a whole patient, not dividing up their symptoms. Backed by clinical research, functional healthcare is on the cutting edge of scientific research, implementing recent findings into diagnostic and treatment options.

 

Providers that specialize in Functional Medicine spend time listening to your concerns while gathering your medical history. Your FM doctor works holistically, factoring in the full picture of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. 

 

A functional medicine doctor may ask about:

  • Diet and Nutrition
  • Lifestyle Habits
  • Sleep Patterns
  • Stressors
  • Exercise habits
  • Emotional wellbeing

 

They then use all information to identify the root cause(s) of the illness, including nutrition/diet, stress, toxins, allergens, sleep patterns, genetics, hormonal changes, and the bacteria living in your body. Once triggers are identified, a customized plan will be made just for you. 

 

What Are Some Examples of Functional Medicine?

There are a variety of different types of functional medicine used to treat different health concerns. Acupuncture, naturopathy, massage, chiropractic medicine, meditation, osteopathic medicine, body movement therapies, tai chi, and yoga, are the most common. Functional medicine does include testing to examine several aspects of a patient’s overall wellness, such as:

  • Toxin levels
  • Hormone levels
  • Food sensitivities
  • Metabolic testing such as oat or gluten
  • Gut bacteria
  • Genetic testing

 

In some cases, functional medicine doctors do prescribe medications, when necessary, that work in tandem with more holistic approaches with the goal of restoring their overall well-being.

 

Functional Medicine Approach:

  • Investigate:  Eliminate symptoms by identifying the underlying cause of the problem, for better results.
  • Holistic: Recognizes the body as an interconnected whole and relationship to its environment.
  • Preventative: Promotes health and vitality with tests and treatments designed to to increase optimal function and improve quality of life.
  • Patient-centered:  By treating the client, not the disease, methods are individually based on the client’s needs and wellness goals.
  • Safe: All treatments have mild or no side effects, just positive results.
  • Participatory: The client is empowered and encouraged to participate in an active role in their own healing process and treatment.

 

What Conditions May Benefit the Most Using Functional Medicine?

  • Acne
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Cancer prevention
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/Reflux)
  • Eczema/psoriasis
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Environmental and food allergies
  • Fatigue
  • Female health (PMS, Menopause, Infertility, PCOS)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Food allergies/ Celiac Disease
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance
  • Migraines
  • MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Stress
  • Thyroid disorders

 

 

According to a study done by Cleveland Clinic, researchers found that patients that sought out functional medicine, showed beneficial and sustainable improvements in their PROMIS global physical health. We at Checkable Wellness want you to feel your best. If other methods don’t solve or help your conditions, functional medicine might be something to look into.