What is Functiional Medicine?
This is often asked as it has been a buzzword in healthcare for the past few years. But in reality it is far from a buzzword, it is a paradigm shift in healthcare that is taking place and far overdue in my opinion. Healthcare in the sense of drugs and surgeries for the most part is failing. And the typical approach to healthcare is a symptoms approach. Which at best is a band-aid, and that is true whether for medical or alternative, the alternative practitioners approach may be healthier and less harmful but it still is a band-aid symptom approach a lot of times. To be functional, to truly treat a condition we have to look at healthcare from a systems approach. This means we have to diagnose and assess the body much like a mechanic might look at your car being low on oil. The car not having enough oil is just a symptom, it doesn’t tell us anything about why the car is low on oil. And adding more oil to the car would be a symptom approach to treating the problem, which is low oil. A system approach would be determining if the oil pan is missing the drain plug, is the engine burning oil, did the mechanic forget to fill it up last time etc. In assessing today’s complex healthcare problems we have to look further than the call names like crohns, irritable bowl, a low functioning thyroid, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy, herniated disc, and so on. And we have to assess the entire system or body as to why is it experiencing these symptoms. When I was going to school I saw an educational poster that made a lot of sense to me. It showed an iceberg and was relating symptoms to the 10% percent of an iceberg that is above water. The problem or what is really going on the 90% that is under the water that you don’t see. When looking at the body there are a lot of organ systems and all need to be assessed to determine the underlying cause of the current symptoms. For example someone with a low functioning thyroid may have an autoimmune thyroid, they may be suffering from adrenal stress and poor insulin response disrupting the thyroid, or they may have a dysfunctional digestive tract that is inflamed or has a bacterial infection that is affecting it. The list can go on and on but to just assume the thyroid isn’t functioning well and put a patient on synthroid or some other drug to mask the symptom is not an acceptable approach anymore. This goes for almost every disease and chronic sickness we deal with from diabetes to a a simple sprained ankle. Todays healthcare must include a systems approach and assume most of the symptoms are related not individual issues. There is not much the body cannot heal itself from if given the right care and proper support and nutrition. And if we want to change the current healthcare crisis in america this approach has to be adopted by not only doctors but insurance companies, the food industry, the drug companies etc. In my office I have seen many conditions that are supposedly not treatable that patients have suffered from for up to 30 years because they were not assessed from a functional standpoint, they were not educated how the body heals, and were given treatment to mask their symptoms. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and want to stop suffering from whatever it is call our office or another functional medicine practitioner and start changing your health today!