- Gets to the root cause of your symptoms.
- Doesn’t mask symptoms with a “pill for an ill.”
- Views your body, mind and environment as an inter-connected whole.
- Values the importance of your diet and lifestyle.
- Treats YOU, not your disease.
- Requires your participation in your healing journey.
- Combines the best of both modern and traditional medicine.
- Prevents disease.
- Improves the quality of your life now.
- Bases your care on current research.
Functional Medicine integrates with conventional medicine.
Not either/or, but both. The best of both worlds.
What can I expect from Functional Medicine care?
First of all, it is very different than seeing your regular doctor. Your Functional Medicine practitioner usually spends more time with you. She asks you about parts of your life that are not just about your physical symptoms. This may include questions about your stress, sleep, and diet. She takes the time to really listen to you.
Your practitioner suggests lab tests that check things that you may never have checked before. She orders special blood tests that may be more than what your regular doctor orders. This is to find out about nutrient deficiencies, and to look for warning signs of diseases that may be in early stages.
You also have the opportunity to do special lab tests that conventional doctors do not use. One example is a stool test that checks all the types of bacteria in your intestine (your microbiome). Another valuable test is a urine test to check all your hormones, including stress hormones.
Once your practitioner has carefully studied all of your lab tests, she thoughtfully presents you with her findings. She makes a Functional Medicine diagnosis, which is based on identifying the root causes of your health problems. Don’t worry, she also cares about you feeling better! Her approach is different though. She wants to make sure all your body systems are working up to par. This is the way to resolve your symptoms, and to feel great.
What kind of treatment can I expect?
Your treatment plan may start with simple lifestyle changes. You will find out what foods best fuel your body and mind. You will learn what nutrients you are missing from your diet, and how to get them. You’ll learn to manage stress better, restore your sleep, and get the right kind of exercise. You may even develop new connections to nature and people.
Through this lifestyle medical care, 80% of your chronic and nagging symptoms usually disappear, and you feel much more vital. Your engine purrs, your mind is calm, you sleep well, and you are full of strength and energy.
Your practitioner also treats lab findings. This could mean correcting nutrient deficiencies, balancing hormones, and clearing infections. She uses safe and natural treatment, including foods, herbs, and supplements.
The length of treatment varies. For some people, it may be two or three months. Others who have chronic disease may need one or two years to reach their health goals. You discuss your goals with your practitioner, and work together to achieve your best possible health.
Who should get Functional Medicine care?
Everyone can benefit from Functional Medicine care! It improves wellness and vitality, and reduces risks for illnesses later in life. Many diseases we think are inevitable because of aging or genetics are actually preventable. Keep small problems from becoming big ones! Prevention is the key.
Healthy people come because they want to learn more about how to improve their diet and lifestyle and what supplements to take.
Functional Medicine can be an adjunct approach to resolve the underlying causes of disease symptoms. People often come seeking a way to heal without resorting to prescription medication, or to reduce medications.
Even if you have a chronic illness, there is always room for improvement!
Who practices Functional Medicine and how do I find them?
All types of clinicians with medical licenses practice Functional Medicine. Clinicians include doctors, acupuncturists, nurses, and dentists.
Ask people you know and trust for referrals. Search online for “functional medicine” and your “health concern.” Look at the sites that come up.
Review the clinician’s About Me page. Trust your intuition, as the relationship between you and your practitioner is important. Just as in every medical practice, no two practitioners are alike, so find one that fits. Practitioners often consult with patients long distance, so you are not limited to your town only.
There are only a handful of reputable Functional Medicine training programs in the United States. These programs are advanced trainings for medical clinicians. There is no license for Functional Medicine clinicians. However, clinicians who practice Functional Medicine usually have completed a training program.
Look for a clinician who:
- Maintains a clear, informative website
- Emphasizes food as your primary source of nutrients
- Conducts all patient communication and record keeping via private, secure methods
- Offers clear information about fees
- Provides excellent customer service
- Has completed a reputable Functional Medicine training program
- Has a medical license in her field
- Collaborates with your regular doctor, and the rest of your health team
- Works with you directly, rather than assigning your care to staff
Please ask questions below!