“The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
By addressing the root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual.”-Institute of Functional Medicine
Whole Person Philosophy
We are whole- not just parts. We are organisms that are part of and affected by systems stretching from microenvironments to macroenvironments. Our health is influenced by our unique interaction and relationship with the physical and emotional environments we have been exposed to since we were in the womb. It includes the food we eat, our physical activity, our social environment and even what we put in our heads through the messages we receive from others, what we tell ourselves, and more. Our health is even influenced by organisms that are not us yet play critical roles in our health such as our gut bacteria.
All day, every day, our cells and our genes are receiving messages from our environment. These signals turn on or off molecular pathways. Environmental factors can also damage cells and genes causing malfunction that results in illness and cancer. By modifying our environment, we can change our gene expression. Your genes are not your destiny, your lifestyle is.
It was a nurse, Florence Nightingale, who first realized the importance of a healing environment. During the Crimean War, she created clean natural environments for soldiers to heal that included sanitary conditions, sunshine, clean air, and water. She intrinsically knew that the body has an amazing ability to heal if given the right signals. Some of the most important signals are nutrition, sleep, exercise, and stress management. When these signals are broken or weak, we begin to experience downstream effects such as inflammation and digestive problems and the many symptoms and diseases that follow.
Our goal is to identify the environments that are causing your symptoms and work with nature to bring you back to your natural state of balance and health.
How We Do the Art and Science of Medicine
Functional medicine has evolved through the efforts of scientists and clinicians from the fields of clinical nutrition, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, conventional medicine, and a wide array of scientific disciplines. It evaluates the body as a whole, with special attention to the relationship of one body system to another. Functional Medicine clinicians spend a lot of time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.
We believe that nature has created efficient and beautiful systems and doesn’t do things without a reason. With this in mind, we are continually asking questions (like good scientists do) until we discover and understand the reason behind your condition.
The first thing we do is collect data. We do this through comprehensive medical history analysis, and objective findings through physical exam and advanced diagnostic testing. But most important, we listen to you. Once we collect as much data as we can, we begin to see patterns that suggest where an imbalance lies or what environmental factors may be contributing to the problem. These findings will allow us to formulate, in partnership with you, the best therapeutic approach to your unique circumstance (condition). We focus primarily on digestion, immune, neuroendocrine, and detox systems/pathways as most health concerns can be traced back to problems in one or more of these areas in the body.
When it comes to prevention and reversal of disease, we do not just pay lip service to lifestyle change. We take it very seriously as we know this is the most effective evidence-based therapy, the foundation for health, and it comes with no negative side effects. Nutritional counseling will be recommended in nearly all healing protocols. Food is medicine– and it can be a slow poison. This sounds simple but it is it one of the most powerful tools we have and should not be underestimated. It is amazing that our bodies can survive on the amount of processed food we give it. On the other hand, it is also amazing how much healing can occur with a nutrient-dense real food diet.
We use pharmaceutical grade supplements to restore balance and depletions and to optimize metabolic pathways. We do not believe you should be on tons of supplements for long periods of time and will use targeted supplementation for as short a period as possible to achieve the outcomes we desire. After which, you will likely only be on a few maintenance supplements.
Finally, we offer multiple means of support and follow up to maximize your chances of success. We realize that modern life is an affront to our health, and we know it takes constant and often hard work to remain mindful and diligent about maintaining good health. Good education and a supportive community can make all the difference in your efforts. If we do a good job, we will educate you so well on how to take care of your health, you won’t need us anymore.
Who is Functional Medicine for?
Functional Medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for every individual. In this way, a Functional Medicine workup can be beneficial for everyone, whether you are suffering from chronic diseases, a competitive athlete, young, old, man or woman. It is for those seeking prevention to those seeking a cure.
Functional Medicine is perfect for those with vague or nagging symptoms that haven’t been explained by conventional medicine yet. It addresses symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, hormone imbalances, weight issues, and digestive issues. It is also good for people who do not want to start or want to get off conventional drug therapies. It is perfect for those who believe in hope and don’t believe the message given them in conventional medicine, which is that their condition is permanent and that there is nothing they can do.
What conditions does Functional Medicine Treat?
All symptoms and diseases have a cause. The Functional Medicine approach is designed to uncover and address the cause(s). We look beyond your signs and symptoms to identify the fundamental imbalances in your body and what might be causing those imbalances. For this reason, Functional Medicine can be beneficial to anyone, whatever your diagnosis.
Examples of root causes:
- digestive problems
- immune imbalance
- negative thoughts
- poor diet
- poor lifestyle
- poor sleep
Common Issues FM addresses:
- autoimmune conditions
- brain fog
- digestive issues
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- hormone imbalance
- obesity or weight issues
Is Functional Medicine Right for Me?
Functional medicine is beneficial for everyone and is an excellent complement to conventional medicine but there may be conditions which still require the use of primary care practitioners or specialists to address complex conditions. We are happy to work together with all your providers.
A healthy life starts and ends with you. We do not live with you 24/7 and we do not share the same struggles as you, but through our own struggles and the shared struggles of others, we understand many of the challenges and barriers to living a healthy lifestyle. We will do what we can to facilitate your success. We will give you tools and support, we will help you develop and stay on track with your health goals, we will give you sound advice based on evidence and experience, but ultimately your health is your personal responsibility.
We believe a quality patient-provider relationship is invaluable in creating the best therapeutic outcomes. It is important that we are the right fit for you and vice versa. If you are interested in our functional medicine services and feel like you are ready to make significant lifestyle changes, click here to fill out an appointment request and our Nurse Practitioner will contact you to schedule a free 10-minute consultation to determine if our services are right for you.
What are the benefits?
A program of a healthy diet, regular exercise and positive lifestyle changes has many benefits including:
- Increased sense of wellness
- Improved self-image
- Improved sleep
- Decreased body fat
- Increased lean mass
- Decreased blood pressure
- Improved blood lipids
- Stabilization of blood glucose
- Reduced risks for chronic disease and cancer
- Increased energy
- And so much more
How long will it take to feel better?
It often takes years to develop symptoms of a condition and although we do notice that people feel better quickly when engaging in a healthy lifestyle, it can also take time to reverse significant damage. If you could possibly be free of your symptoms in six months or a year, would it be worth the investment in your health? We hope so. The best time to see your healthcare practitioner is before you become chronically ill. We can evaluate and diagnose underlying disease years before it manifests itself.
What is the difference between Lifestyle Medicine and Functional Medicine?
Lifestyle Medicine and Functional Medicine are basically the same and we use the terms interchangeably. However, technically there are some differences. Both are science-based, holistic, personalized, patient-centered and patient-powered. Both styles focus on the root cause of medical conditions- not just symptoms. Both believe that health is a result of the synergistic balance of nutrition, physical activity, rest, healthy relationships, and environment. Both use lifestyle interventions as therapy. However, in Lifestyle Medicine, lifestyle is the only therapy.
In addition to lifestyle interventions, Functional Medicine focuses on biochemical and genetic individuality and uses emerging diagnostics to look at health from a molecular level to determine what may be out of line or the root cause of medical conditions. There is also a large focus on gut health and the microbiome. Functional medicine also uses nutraceuticals, supplements, and conventional therapeutics as needed to restore balance and health.
Functional medicine uses a systems approach where clinical imbalances are organized around seven core body systems that are fundamentally interconnected. These are: Assimilation (digestion, respiration), Defense and Repair (immune system), Biotransformation and Elimination (Detoxification), Communication (hormones and neurotransmitters), Transport (cardiovascular and lymphatic systems), and structural (musculoskeletal system). These systems are influenced by your genetic predisposition, lifestyle, mental emotional and spiritual influences, and your attitudes and beliefs and can be affected by triggers such as a major life event, accident, or illness.