June 14, 2011

What the Hell is it That I Do?!

Jun 14
So I’ve been getting a lot of questions as to what it is exactly that I do.  It seems many people  don’t quite understand what Functional Medicine entails and I thought I’d help clear up the confusion. Functional Medicine is patient-centered health care.  It focuses on the individual as a whole rather than treating just his/her health problems as isolated diseases. Basically, what this means is that we look at ALL the bodily symptoms, imbalances and dysfunctions of the individual in their entirety in order to get the complete picture. Take a look at the picture to the left.  Functional Medicine believes that chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, obesity are just the visible part of a much larger problem building below the surface. Almost always, the cause of the disease and its resulting symptoms are an underlying dysfunction and/or an imbalance of bodily systems. I believe that simply treating the tip of the iceberg will do nothing to result in long term well being. It will simply mask symptoms until another one arises, which it will as nothing has been done to actually resolve the root cause. It is vital to identify and treat the underlying root cause(s) in order to successfully restore a patient’s health. The country’s health care system is in dire straits because it has been applying a medical management model to both acute health problems as well as chronic health problems. Unfortunately acute health problems can be resolved this way but chronic health problems cannot. If you have a heart attack or pneumonia, you most definitely require a doctor to use all the technology, surgery and antibiotics available with modern medicine. There is obviously a lot to be thankful for in regards to such life saving interventions. Unfortunately, these tools do not succeed in helping those with chronic and debilitating diseases such as diabetes, arthritis or heart disease. In these cases, another approach is required and this is where Functional Medicine comes in. Functional Medicine uses two scientifically grounded principles to combat chronic health conditions:
  1. Add what’s lacking in the body to push its physiology back to a state of optimal functioning.
  2. Remove anything that impedes the body from moving toward this optimal state of physiology.
Functional Medicine first identifies the factors responsible for the malfunctioning in the body and then it deals with those factors in a way appropriate to the patient’s particular situation. Utilizing scientific principles, advanced diagnostic testing and treatments, Functional Medicine aims to restore balance in the body’s primary physiological processes. It is important to note that each patient’s case is treated uniquely. Each of us is different and it’s time that healthcare came to terms with that. Each patient’s treatment is based on their own individual history, symptoms, and test findings – there is no cookie cutter approach in Functional Medicine. So I hope this helps explain a little bit about what I do. If not, well, you can always contact me directly!