WHAT IS IT? WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU?
Functional Medicine is a revolution in how scientists and doctors think about your health. It is based on a new wealth of research that makes it possible to see into your unique genetic and biochemical make-up, and to measure the effects of environmental and nutritional influences on your health. This can reveal how and why your body is not functioning to keep you healthy, so the underlying problem can be corrected.
This new kind of knowledge gives us a way to find the basic, and often hidden, causes of chronic illness, and to restore the unique inner balance that keeps you healthy. When dysfunction is corrected, the body begins to function again without need of a pharmaceutical crutch.
This approach is very different from conventional medicine, which tends to diagnose a disease from its symptoms and match it with a drug to get you back on your feet, despite any potential side effects or further weakening of your future health. Simply put, Functional Medicine is the future of your health.
Functional Medicine also differs from alternative practices, such as “complementary” or “integrative” medicine, which basically follow the conventional idea of treating symptoms, although they may also add food supplements, or other non-pharmaceutical therapies into their mix of treatments.
Conventional medicine is at its best for infectious diseases, accidents or traumas; conditions like a broken arm or appendicitis that require acute care with drugs or surgery. But if you have a chronic illness, this kind of medicine is apt to treat your disease as a condition of life instead of helping you regain real health.
Why is Functional Medicine so different? There’s a one word answer: information. Medical science has entered the information age with a radically new image of how the body works. Instead of the old mechanical model of separate systems—the immune, circulatory, endocrine, & nervous systems—each one distinct from the others, the new science gives us a profoundly different image of the body. We can now see your health as a complex web of interconnected metabolic, genetic, nutritional and environmental functions, and we know that chronic disease results when these functions are out of balance. These insights are supported by better diagnostic tests and treatments. In applying this science, Functional Medicine could be called the first information age medicine.
Some of this information can only come from you. Your participation is a key part of my Functional Medicine practice, and this begins with a conversation. I want to know about the onset and history of your illness, any environmental exposure, nutritional habits, and even your emotional and spiritual life. All of this can contribute to health, or a loss of health, and I am looking for clues everywhere.
Why do we say that Functional Medicine treats the patient, not the disease? Sometimes, two patients with the same symptoms may have different metabolic problems, or the same dysfunction in two patients may cause very different symptoms. So finding the actual problem is the only way to restore a patient to real health, and Functional Medicine is bringing that goal closer for everyone.
We live in an increasingly toxic world with a dramatic rise in chronic disease, afflicting even people trying to live healthy lives. For example, a patient with undiagnosed celiac disease, a genetic disorder that may cause depression, mysterious skin rashes or joint pain, may have no idea that the wheat she is eating has been poisoning her. A patient with undetected magnesium deficiency may suffer from migraines without knowing why, or that it can easily be treated. A patient with panic attacks or insomnia, previously diagnosed as psychiatric disorders, may actually be suffering from copper toxicity, which can cause these symptoms.
I frequently see patients like these in my practice. And while I follow the guiding principles of Functional Medicine, I keep an open mind and adopt new information and practices from other disciplines as well, My credentials in Anti-Aging and Functional Medicine have given me a broader focus on hormone imbalances, while my Master’s in Metabolic Nutritional Medecine helps me understand not just what you eat but how you are actually feeding your cells. The many research conferences I go to each year—as diverse as integrative psychiatry or environmental medicine—offer new insights I can apply in my own practice. And when you visit my office, I will treat you with the respect expressed by the 13th Century physician Maimonides in his Prayer to the Almighty:
“Thou hast created the human body with infinite wisdom. Ten thousand times ten thousand organs hast Thou combined in it, that act unceasingly and harmoniously to preserve the whole in all its beauty.”