“Functional Medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of disease.” ~The Institute for Functional Medicine
So, what does that mean for you?
Functional Medicine is Personalized
- You will begin with telling your story, addressing every relevant step along the way. Your story is unique and illuminates the predisposing factors, triggers, and ongoing issues which perpetuate the health issues you are facing. We will examine the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors which influence your long-term health and wellness.
- We then begin to uncover the underlying causes for your particular symptoms, and further investigate with a brief physical exam and laboratory testing to identify the ways in which your story manifests in your body.
- We will discuss and initiate different lifestyle changes to empower you to restore the intended balance in your body. This will include determining a nutritional plan specific to your needs, discussing sleep and exercise plans, and most importantly addressing the sources of stress in your life: work, family, relationships, etc.
- Often, targeted supplementation is needed to support the recovery of the intended function and physiology of our bodies, and to maintain optimal health.
- Ongoing follow-up with consultations and group support will address any unique issues that you may encounter along the way.
Functional Medicine is a Biological Approach
What does this mean? Rather than working to categorize symptoms into a conventional organ system disease diagnosis, functional medicine examines the underlying core imbalances in seven areas each of which can contribute to imbalance anywhere in the body:
- ASSIMILATION: what we take into our bodies through our gut, lungs, and skin
- DEFENSE AND REPAIR: how we defend and restore our bodies
- ENERGY: how we produce and manage the energy which we need for every process in our bodies
- BIOTRANSFORMATION AND ELIMINATION: how we handle toxins and eliminate them from our bodies
- COMMUNICATION: how we manage to coordinate the massive amount of information the body requires to function
- TRANSPORT: how we circulate information and energy around our bodies
- STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY: how we maintain and repair the structure of our bodies
Wow! That is overwhelming to understand that our bodies/we are just that complex and amazing!
Functional Medicine is Empowering
You have all of the tools within you to feel better from the symptoms you have been facing. Once we uncover and understand the underlying causes for how you are feeling, we can move forward to address those causes strategically. Functional medicine testing often reveals remarkable information that can unlock the keys to previously difficult to understand or address health concerns. Having access to this knowledge is remarkably empowering.
Functional Medicine Allows you to have the Highest Expression of Health in Your Body
We all want to feel better, and yet modern life with all of its stressors can lead to massive imbalance in the body which can manifest as a myriad of symptoms which prevent and limit us from leading the life we really want to lead.
By exploring the underlying causes for your symptoms, there is the possibility to achieve radiant health and vitality,and the power prevent future illness and debilitation.
Functional Medicine is a Collaboration
This is all about you. The work we will do is a collaboration of effort between you and the care team that we put together for you. We will work together to find a program of care that fits your needs and lifestyle.
Read more about functional medicine.
Functional medicine is a patient-centered approach to health care that addresses the underlying root cause of disease. It looks at the interactions between genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence health. Functional medicine acknowledges that chronic disease is almost always preceded by a lengthy period of declining function in one or more of the body systems. For example, a patient may receive diagnosis of diabetes today, but the metabolic dysfunction may have been progressing since years prior. Rather than mitigating symptoms, functional medicine seeks to restore health by restoring balance and function to the body systems involved.
The functional medicine model best addresses the healthcare needs of today, because our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases, such as: diabetes, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders. These complex conditions are not necessarily best treated by the “A pill for an ill” model. Evidence of this is the fact that the United States has, by far, the most expensive health care system in the world, based on health expenditures per capita, and yet statistics continue to rise. One hundred million Americans are currently being treated for degenerative lifestyle diseases at a cost of more than 700 billion dollars per year! Tragically, despite these alarming costs, the health of Americans is not improving.
A common misconception is ‘that disease is a part of aging’. The fact is that disease is not caused by age alone. Commonly, as we age, functional imbalances occur which eventually result in disease. This can be prevented! Functional medicine examines the following core clinical imbalances that underlie expression of disease:
Cellular function imbalances.
Digestive, absorptive and microbiological imbalances.
Immune and inflammatory imbalances.
Structural imbalances (from cellular to whole systems).
Functional medicine is not alternative medicine. It is evidence-based, clinically sound model medicine that effectively addresses the origin of disease.
The Basic Principles of Functional Medicine are:
Addressing the whole person… genetics, environment, and lifestyle.
Understanding unique biochemical individuality.
Addressing the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors.
Viewing health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease.
Functional medicine envisions longevity with an optimally functioning body. Addressing your health with this health care model can not only add years to your life, but also add life to your years!
How Is Functional Medicine Different than Conventional Medicine?
The Institute for Functional Medicine Vice-Chair, Mark Hyman, M.D., with whom Dr. Ehle has worked, explains the difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine, using the example, from his own practice, of a young girl with severe autoimmune disease. While the conventional medicine approach suppresses the inflammation in this patient, functional medicine asks and addresses the question of why the inflammation exists in the first place, and looks at the scientific drivers (causes) of the disease, which include toxins, infections, allergens, stress, and poor diet.