Functional medicine! I refer to functional medicine in my conversations, posts on social media and blogging as it is in my own protocol to acheive optimal health. The response many times is, "what is functional medicine?" My intents in blogging about functional medicine is to explain just that, how functional medicine has helped me and how to find a functional medicine doctor.
It appears that functional medicine is still unknown to the general public sadly. However I am hopefull that it will become more mainstream as more and more doctors and health care providers are predicting it to become the healthcare of the future.I figure the best way to explain it is to compare it with tradtional western healthcare. In most cases when I have spoken to people about functional medicine, they have no clue as to what it means. They simply only understand and know what tradional healthcare is and many are not open to any other way. Understanding that functional medicine has a completly different approach, including having the patient do work and the costs that more than likely will not be covered by insurance can be a turn off to most people. It is a little different than swallowing a pill or giving yourself a shot.
How do these two healthcare practices differ? Traditional western medicine uses presription drugs and hormones in dealing with diseases. For example, once a patient has been diasgnosed with a disease, rather than digging deeper and figuring out why this is happening to them specifically, they write prescriptions for drugs which almost always have side effects now or later. The problem they went to the doctor for is not going away with this method, It is going to eventually get bigger and cause problems along the way. The drugs that were prescribed allow them to feel better, deal with the issue from a bandaide standpoint and in many cases keep them alive. It is a temporay fix, not a cure. Traditional medicine works well with trauma, infection, acute diseases and emergencies. Unfortunalty it works miserably with chronic diseases. Some chronic diseases I am referring to are allergies, metabolic, hormonal, digestive and neurological. Most Americans are suffering from these diseases on a daily basis. Turning to functional medicine to help reverse these diseases appears to be a positive turn in the medical field. Americans are realizing this and more and more of them are seeking out medical help in getting to the root of their disease through functional medicine. I recently read a book called The Plant Paradox by Steven R. Gundry M.D.. In his book, their are several examples of people that have been able to ditch their synthetic prescription drugs and their disease by making diet and other changes. He is a cardiologist turned functional medicine doctor. I do recommend his book for anybody who wants to improve their health or take a look at functional medicine. One of his clients is the famous Tony Robbins. Dr. Gundry was able to turn his health around and it is documented in his book. I found that example to be extremely interesting. Another good resource for reading is Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD. She has also crossed over to functional medicine in healing her own son from autism. Once he was diagnosed with severe autism, she soon found out that western medicine was not going to cure him. She set out on a quest and he no longer has autism and just graduated from university. She is responsible for the GAPS diet which some of you may have heard of. I had not until I started reading her book recently.
The approach of the functional medicine doctor is to deal with the patient specifically. Recognizing that each of us are different in our make up, both genetically and biochemically. Treating the patient rather than the disease is pure personalization and supports the body in healing itself rather than attacking the disease. The approach is very science based. The latest research shows that the body has a complicated network inside of us that is interconnected and works together. Understanding those connecting relationships allows us to see deep inside the functioning of the body. Our bodies are very smart and when our body systems are balancing, the whole body has the sheer force of self regulation. Our bodies are capable of healing and the prevention of nearly all diseases of aging. The absence of disease is not just health, but achieved immense vitality, Don't we all deserve the opportunity to heal ourselves have vitality?
Why would a doctor match up a drug with a diagnosed disease rather than asking the question, why do you have this disease in the first place? Asking that question is what functional medicine does. We need to find out what function has been lost causing the disease and how do we restore it. Let us find the root cause involved in the lost function. That would reveal why the patient has the symptoms and been labeled with a disease.
I personally made the choice to see a functional medicine doctor several years ago, in fact that is her in the picture with this article. Look at her glowing skin. I was referred to her by my current medical doctor who himself has been crossing over into the holistic medical world, offering his patients both options. Her approach is to test all 12 of your body functions such as cardiovascular, endocrine, metabolic, skeletal, muscular, and so fourth. The testing can involve saliva samples throughout the day, urine samples, hair samples, stool samples, brain scans and blood samples. This is far more testing than you would receive at a traditional doctors office and much of it would not be covered by insurance. That boasts another question, why is our insurance not covering in depth testing? That puts the cost on you! BUT the information revealed gives us the answers to find a remedy to do the work and help the body do its work to heal itself. Doing the work more than likely would be changing your diet, managing your stress, supplements, exercise,
and treating the brain. There are more treatments, that's just to name a few. Not only can one remove something like a autoimmune disease, but while doing so, they improve on their entire 12 body functions. When optimal health is restored, disease has no chance to stay nor return. I do realize that many people do not want to do the work nor do they have the money to see these types of doctors and in that case, western medicine is a better option for them until our healthcare system changes for the better. Some may choose a mixture of both and as they heal and become more knowledgeable find themselves crossing over completely and leading others also to functional medicine. I love it when they can go back to their original medical doctor and show them how they have won the battle with their dysfunctions and diseases and are feeling great and no longer taking meds!
So how do you find a functional medicine doctor? I was lucky and was referred but doing a search online in your area or a near area is one way. You can also get a referral from someone in the medical field as I did just by asking. Naturopathic and holistic doctors might be a good alternative as well. Many of these functional medicine doctors are practicing their services through remote too. I know mine does. They actually send the laboratory tests to your door. The directions are easy to follow. The one thing I want to stress is make sure you do see a functional medicine doctor rather than trying to self diagnose and self treat. Their knowledge is far beyond what you and I know. No sense in wasting money on supplements and taking chances with hit and misses and your life is worth it. I really don't like it when I hear people say, I can not afford this or that and then I see them hit Starbucks sometimes twice a day. It is all about priorities. If you do not make your health a priority no one else is going to do it for you and you will pay later more than likely.
And now you have a good understanding of functional medicine and I highly recommend it over traditional medicine. There is a place of traditional medicine and I respect that and am grateful those services are available. I just choose not to depend on them now that I understand I am responsible for my own health. I hope you have had a chance to read my first book, Through The Eyes Of The Master and be sure and subscribe to my website for free. I will continue to post recipes and blog on fitness and health. Sharing what I am learing with love and peace,