Let’s start with some statistics.
Johns Hopkins suggests that medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. That statistic is absolutely shocking to think about, but it represents that something is very, very wrong with our current model of healthcare in the U.S. today. In the study, Martin Makary, professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and authority on health reform says, “poorly coordinated care, fragmented insurance networks, the absence or underuse of safety nets, and other protocols, in addition to unwarranted variation in physician practice patterns that lack accountability” are to blame.
Most of us have experienced some element of the system that hasn’t worked. Maybe it was a treatment that didn’t happen when you needed it or diagnostic tests that never got to the heart of the problem, or insurance turning you down for the test you needed, or maybe it was just simply lacking compassion and heart-centered care that we all so desperately deserve. There is an endless list of flaws in our medical establishment.
The great thing though, is that there are starting to be answers to many of the issues we face.
Why I switched to Functional Medicine
The truth is that I loved my time as a family medicine doctor, and I have always enjoyed working with people on their most pressing health concerns. The issue is that I never really felt like I was getting people better with the options I had as just a medical doctor. I realized there is so so much more to health and ending dis-ease than through prescription of medicine in the allopathic healthcare model. I turned to functional medicine and acupuncture because I wanted to treat the whole person and find a resolution to issues that I couldn’t do as easily in the traditional way.
I believe that the general public really wants better health. I believe a great revolution is now underway and functional medicine is disrupting the current model of healthcare today. There is a dramatic shift happening which is shifting us away from a disease-care model to a truly health-oriented model. Functional medicine and acupuncture together have helped me treat my patients in a very powerful, synergistic way which get the results most people are looking for
What Is Functional Medicine?
Dr. Mark Hyman is a thought leader and functional medicine guru that defines functional medicine as, “…the future of conventional medicine–available now. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.” It is the “Medicine of Why.” The thing about functional medicine is that it gets to the true heart of what is going on inside a person. With traditional medicine, so much of disease has been isolated to specific organs, specific cells, and specific mechanisms that are dysfunctional, and has failed to see the big picture and how it all fits together. Functional medicine takes a more holistic view and tries to understand from a 30,000-foot level AND a cell level what is going on. It does this through laboratory testing that puts all the pieces of the puzzle together.
For instance, take a person who is coming in for asthma or allergies. You might think that this is something to do with the lungs or skin, right? That is what a traditional doctor would treat. For asthma, they’d issue a bronchial-dilator, and some type of medicine to control the inflammation in the lungs. For skin, something topical. But a functional medicine doctor steps back, orders testing that seeks to understand the root cause of the situation. A comprehensive, diagnostic stool test may, for example, reveal that the patients’ enzyme output is low, and their stress hormone cortisol levels are low. The doctor may further find that simple sugars are passing easily through the intestinal walls, and causing what is referred to as leaky gut syndrome.
But let’s take this further… A functional medicine doctor might also then look at the patients’ disposition and after interviewing them for some time (which is typical at an appointment), find that they eat quickly, are an anxious person overall, and are making really bad food choices. So then a different picture can be painted. One where, we might see that the real cause of asthma and allergies are due to eating food while stressed out, carrying anxiety around with them constantly, and this is showing up as impaired digestion, which is causing undigested food particles and proteins to pass through the intestinal walls, and circulating out through the lungs and eventually to the skin, causing inflammation, asthma, and allergies.
Is Functional Medicine Legit?
Functional medicine is viewed, by some doctors today, as “quackery gone mainstream.” The reason is that many doctors don’t understand what functional medicine actually is. There is a misconception that it is a practice not rooted in science, devoid of requiring any qualifications from its practitioner, and because of that should not be considered legitimate. However, quite the opposite is true. Functional medicine DOES require licensure, and skill from its practitioner. In addition, there is high-quality scientific evidence of its efficacy and usage to diagnose and treat many disease conditions.
Is this Evidence-Based Medicine?
At the moment functional medicine doesn’t have the kind of research backing as traditional medicine, but the evidence for its effectiveness is piling up, and FAST. It has been tough though. Big pharmaceutical companies are willing to spend a lot of money providing evidence that their drugs work, but obviously not so much on say, an avocado. However, there are some very hot research topics right now looking at a number of health factors. Studies on the human biome, genetic testing, telomere research and anti-aging, brain-boosting supplements, sleep science, and more are hot in 2018.
If you’d like to see some “evidence” and what some of the functional medicine labwork looks like, please refer to the following blogs below. They were written by Travis Richardson, our health coach, and his experience with functional medicine. By the way, he is currently accepting clients! and doing free strategy calls! (HINT HINT!)
- Functional Medicine Case Study – Part 1
- Functional Medicine Case Study – Part 2
- Functional Medicine Case Study – Part 3
- Functional Medicine Case Study – Part 4
The Future of Functional Medicine
Functional medicine works because it addresses the whole person-physical, emotional, mental, social, and more. The good news is many allopathic doctors are opening up to functional medicine and alternative approaches to health. I recently have heard of doctors even partnering with these kinds of practitioners in novel ways. One doctor referred a patient to an acupuncturist for pain relief, and another to functional medicine to work on their nutrition and lifestyle modification. Why did they do that? They simply are not well trained in either area. Nutrition is still a very, very small part of a modern, allopathic physicians training.
I personally believe there is room and space for ALL forms of healing, and ALL types of healers. We need all of us working together, as a team, to make this system work. It is true that there are many corporate agendas in place today, that are not serving the best interests of our population. That is changing, however. People are voting with their dollars, and more and more of those dollars are going to alternative care and especially functional medicine. I am so grateful to be a part of the movement happening on the planet today and excited to see where we end up in 1-2 generations for now. My guess is it will look nothing like the landscape of disease-care that we currently have in place today.
We’d love for you to tell us your experience with functional medicine! Feel FREE to comment below!
PS. Have you received your free 15-minute strategy call? All new patients please sign up! I am even doing these over the phone, just for your convenience. Let’s get to the root of the issue! Just click here!
For more articles on functional medicine, please read below:
- How to detox with functional medicine – Blog
- How to treat anxiety and depression with functional medicine – Blog
- How to manage chronic pain with functional medicine – Blog
- How to treat fibromyalgia with functional medicine – Blog
[sta_anchor id=”tocomments” unsan=”toComments” /]