Functional Health's Focus
We are each unique, so our approach to your health has to be.
Our focus is to help determine the underlying cause of your health concerns. Under the current system, health professionals are forced to provide symptom relief rather than being able to focus on the source of the problem. It is not their choice, given a pharmaceutical / insurance based model that allows very limited time being allocated to the health of each patient.
We focus on the interactions between the systems throughout the body. Why? We operate as a whole, rather than as a collection of isolated functions. In conventional medicine, a cardiologist would concentrate on the heart; a gastroenterologist, the gut; an endocrinologist, hormones, and so on. We focus on the body as a whole.
Our health is influenced by our genetics, diet, environment, lifestyle choices, etc. Drugs and supplements alone may help relieve symptoms, but won’t address the underlying cause.
It takes a combined approach…..
Functional Medicine combines the best of two worlds: integrative and alternative medicine to help determine imbalance. So what it does it actually do?
Optimizes health rather than just focusing on disease
The primary focus of Functional Medicine is on “functional” or optimal health rather than a disease based model. You may ask, “Why this is so important?” This emphasis allows for early detection of dysfunction before it has an opportunity to develop into a disease. Additionally, If our overall health is improved, won’t our bodies ability to fight disease naturally be enhanced?
To a better understanding of how applying this perspective to analyzing your lab results works, click here.
A global perspective to health
Say you experience fatigue. Is it due to lack of sleep, problems with dietary intake, anemic patterns, adrenals or hormones, detoxification, immune, brain, mitochondria or GI issues?
Or if someone has thyroid issues, could it be also be affecting their immune system, adrenals, gut, brain, hormones, etc., leading to symptoms that seem unrelated to the thyroid? Or visa verse, are problems in any of these systems affecting the functionality of their thyroid?
Taking a global perspective is important. As you can see, there may be multiple reasons for the same symptoms. A disease based approach might look at a symptom independently and recommend an intervention based on that alone.
This leads into the third and probably most important focus–tailoring recommendations to the individual. If we have different underlying causes and/or different lifestyle choices, how can the intervention offered be the same?
A nutritional approach helps determine how diet and lifestyle choices promote or degrade our health.
The effect of stress often goes overlooked. Many of us tend to think of stress as something mental or emotional, but stress is anything that can effect physiology. It could be sensitivities (food or environmental), infections, inflammation, dehydration, lack of proper nutrients, insomnia, lack of exercise, exposure to everyday chemicals, etc. You can earn more about the effects of stress here.
And since each of us face a different collection of stressors and lifestyle choices, protocols are individualized rather than applying “a one size fits all” approach.
Over 19,000 genes make up our personal biological map. Although our genes never change, the expression of these genes—in a positive or negative manner—is often dependent on environment and our lifestyle choices. So, if you have family history of diabetes, heart disease,, etc., you may not be destined to express it.
Over 70% of our genes are modifiable so addressing genic issues is vital for some folks. Once you determine if there are specific genes that are negatively affecting you, we then apply Nutrigenomics–interventions such as food, supplements, and lifestyle changes shown to have impact on those genes– to help try to correct or minimize its impact.
You can learn more about the effects of our genes here.
Evidenced Based Testing and Protocols
Our practice is based on the latest scientific advances. That is why we feel comprehensive diagnostic testing (analyzed from a functional perspective and advanced Functional Medicine testing if necessary)—coupled with detailed data gathering is the only clinically significant way to help determine underlying root cause.
Additionally, an evidenced based approach assures that protocols offered have been shown in the scientific literature to have the greatest promise in helping to restore the body back to health. The goal is to provide support that has been shown to have helped the most people given the same type of symptoms, in as close to the same set circumstances, with an effective dosage for the shortest period of time, or to provide the most effective lifestyle/dietary change.
Your health is comprised of multiple webs each having a different function. Our job is to determine which “web” is most affecting you and then deciding which “strand” to pull to help unravel the dysfunction. That being said, our program is laid out in 4 stages:
- We start by helping supply your body the nutrients it may need while minimizing exposure to those things that may be detrimental to your health.
- Based on your progress we may need to dig deeper into the issue or address the next web.
- If necessary, we help support your body for elimination of any potential pathogenic. environmental or chemical load.
- Finally, we help develop a minimal maintenance protocol
The Healing Journey
Healing is a process in which the body makes its necessary shifts towards health. Sometimes we have to take a few steps back to be able to move forward.
Uncovering root cause and designing effective protocols is a process of trial and error. Protocols are intended to be therapeutic, but they are also diagnostic. For example, how do you feel after a week or a month on your protocol? How have the recommended dietary changes affected your health? What do lab tests now reveal?
Have You Found The Right Help?
- Someone who is highly experienced in managing chronic conditions?
- Someone who really listens to you?
- Someone who respects your own knowledge?
- Someone who spends time on education about your condition?
- Someone who works with you as a partner in developing solutions?
Common Health Issues and Resources
To get a feel of how the combined approach works to help uncover root cause, please checkout our Common Health Issues page. Here you will find the “what”, “how”, and “why” of many health concerns. We also try to offer insight as how these conditions might be affecting health in other areas of the body, leading to seemingly unrelated symptoms.
We also suggest generic recommendations such as diet, lifestyle, and supplementation interventions. Combined with the information above, our goal is to offer a different perspective so you can be an advocate for your own health.
In depth videos covering some of these health issues ca be found in our Resource Library The library also contains fun facts regarding food and lifestyle choices as well as a link to quality supplements.