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what is functional medicine

Functional Medicine: The What, Why, and How

April 26, 2022

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You’ve probably come across this blog post wondering if functional medicine is right for you or a family member.  Or maybe you know someone who raved about their success with functional medicine. Either way, it can often be a struggle to explain the concept– I’ll do the best I can.

What?

Functional medicine is a model of care that puts the patient at the center, rather than the disease, as in conventional medicine. Functional medicine providers are far more interested than conventional providers in finding out WHY you have a disease process or symptom. Typically, conventional providers will hear your symptoms and provide you with a pill or procedure to provide a quick fix. However, these are often just band-aid solutions that don’t actually address the issue at hand and actually cause more problems in the long run. For example, rather than treating your insomnia with a sleeping pill that your doctor might give you, we’ll aim to address your mineral deficiencies. Or to put it even simpler: if you step on a tack, your foot hurts! You could take high doses of pain medication and feel (mostly) better–OR, you could pull out the tack. Your functional medicine provider is here to pull out the tack. 

Why? 

As functional medicine providers, we believe that finding out WHY you’re showing symptoms is more important than WHAT your symptoms are. Oftentimes the same root cause (inflammation, gut dysbiosis, nutrient deficiencies, etc.) can appear differently in each person. While one patient might develop a rash, another person dealing with the same root cause could be struggling with headaches.  This is why we like to look upstream to really address the cause, rather than the symptom itself (although, the symptoms will resolve with our approach as well). 

How? 

As a patient-centered model of care, functional medicine requires the patient to be the most active participant in their care. Our patients are often asked to make lifestyle changes, including giving up triggering foods, reducing stress, getting more sleep, and supplementing their nutrient deficiencies (just to name a few). 

The provider’s role is to give guidance and recommendations based on both basic and advanced testing. We use a systems biology-based approach to address each individual’s unique needs. Functional medicine recognizes that there is more to you than your physical symptoms–your environment, genetics, mental and spiritual health, and diet–they MATTER. Probably more than you think. We will address all of this when we customize your individualized care plan. This will help us to guide you to a place where you’re not only symptom-free, but living with vitality.

What Now?

Did this resonate with you? Have you been jumping around to different doctors but not seeing the results you want? Give our patient experience page a visit to find out if you’d be a good fit as a patient. We’re happy to meet you where you are and provide you with the care you deserve. We can’t wait to see you feeling well again!

  • Kelsey is one of our specialized practitioners and highly trained nurses. You'll find her constantly soaking up the latest and greatest in functional medicine to help guide the care she provides her patients. Outside of the clinic you'll find her running down her two little boys and whipping up a new gluten-free recipe.