Have you noticed that our world appears more divided than ever? As we “find our tribe”, we are also at the same time deciding what “tribe” we are NOT part of! The divisions, as you may have noticed, are growing fast. It is almost so polarizing, you can feel the rift even in casual conversation. We have a lot of healing as a country even, just to heal the massive political and social divide that our country now faces.
One modality that honors all perspectives and ways of being, and brings people together is functional medicine. With functional medicine, we honor the individual, and we celebrate what makes that person unique and special. We concern ourselves with improving lives, labs, energy levels, moods, familial bonds, and any other area that creates wholeness in a person. Our job isn’t over until you not only thrive, but thrive for good.
So this is what health care should be all about! The truth is, we are all in this together. We really need to dump ideas and paradigms that no longer serve us, and focus on what does. There is no us vs. them, no 99% and 1%. What we see, we have created on some level. So as a family, we are one tribe, and our health and healing is all of our responsibilities, both personally and collectively. So… in honor of true wellness, vitality, unity, and progress as a human tribe, here are 5 ways we are disrupting the healthcare industry:
1. We are addressing the tragic trajectory of human health on the planet.
Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or eat whatever you want, you have to know we’ve got serious problems with our health! Here’s a short list of the issues we face, AND address, with better results than current mainstream medicine:
Sadly, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. And every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart attack or stroke.
50 percent of us are now prediabetic or have full-blown diabetes.
A staggering one in two men and one in three women will get cancer. Autoimmune diseases are the third leading cause of death and disease in the world—affecting over 50 million Americans and millions more struggling with autoimmune-inflammation spectrum problems.
Almost 20% of adults now suffer from a mental disorder. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Anxiety itself affects 40+ million adults and Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.Nearly 20 percent of adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder. Depression is now the leading cause of disability worldwide. Can you believe Alzheimer’s has risen 92 percent in women? Autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have skyrocketed over a short period of time. In 1970, an estimated one in 10,000 children were found to be autistic, in 1995 it was one in 500, and in 2001 it became one in 250. Today, one in 68 children are diagnosed as autistic.
2. We see that mainstream medicine doesn’t HEAL people.
Mainstream medicine has achieved a lot, and we aren’t downplaying what has been done… The mainstream system is very good at diagnosing, prescribing medicine, and intervening surgically. But the United States spends more on health care than the next 10 top-spending countries combined, and we aren’t even close to as healthy as most of the developed countries in the world. The problem is that our system isn’t actually designed to truly heal.
Our system is based on sick-care and treating symptoms. We have elevated the M.D. to such a high level, we have forgotten that WE have the ultimate responsibility for our health. Insurance companies decide what treatments we get, more often than the doctor. The truth is that we are somewhat stranded in a system that isn’t that helpful, from a holistic wellness perspective. Our job as a functional medicine doctor is to address this lack in our current system. We aim to do things smarter, more efficiently, with better long-term results. We heal from the inside out, and we don’t just look at symptoms.
3. We use conventional medications as a last resort.
You ready for this? 81% of Americans take at least one medication a day!!! The sad part is, sickness is becoming normalized. But just because it’s common does NOT mean it is normal. Prescription drugs now kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined. According to JAMA (Journal of American Medicine Association), more than 100,000 people die each year from the proper use of prescription drugs, not from overdosing or taking the wrong drug, but from the side effects of the “right drug.” The saddest thing is, the drug industry is funding most of the scientific research we read today.
According to the World Health Organization, the global pharmaceuticals market is worth $300 billion—a figure that is expected to rise to $400 billion dollars within three years. The WHO agrees that the current pharmaceutical system has “an inherent conflict of interest between the legitimate business goals of manufacturers and the social, medical and economic needs of providers and the public to select and use drugs in the most rational way.” So what happens is mainstream medicine is trained to diagnose a disease and match it with a medication. This failed strategy leaves many disappointed when nothing changes with their health but they see a prescription list that gets larger and larger each visit.
In functional medicine, we see clearly how this isn’t working for our patients. To us, health isn’t a privilege, it is a right. Health isn’t something that is created through taking pills, it is something that is cultivated through proper lifestyle and right thinking. In our practice, we try and heal first with naturopathic medicines first, and resort to medications only when needed. The reality is, most people experience amazing results with the methods we employ.
4. We understand epi-genetics.
Research like the Danish Twin Study has shown that over 90 percent of our longevity is determined by the choices we make—not our genetics. It is true that many of us carry genetic predispositions for certain diseases, but the disease often doesn’t express itself when we lead a healthy lifestyle. The field of epigenetics explores this idea that our environment influences our genes, and if we can control our environment, we can control our biology.
The Okinawa study showed we should be able to live at least 100 years, disease-free! The study showed that it is all about the food we eat, stress levels, sleep, energy, and exposure to toxins that influence our health and longevity. What an AWESOME message!
5. We know that food is medicine.
The statement that food is medicine is a direct threat to the current health care system. Even saying that food can heal or cure a disease could wind you up in jail or worse. Using the words ‘treat’ or ‘cure’ is prohibited by the FDA! It is clear that mainstream medicine’s message is that medicine is one thing: synthetic, pharmaceutical substances, created in a lab, and patented for distribution with the hope, of course, of massive profit.
With the strong influence that the pharmaceutical industry has on government policy, it’s no secret that using foods as medicines is not high up on the list of mainstream medicine. You only need to eat hospital food once to know this truth. But, despite how bleak it looks, there is hope!
Functional medicine is growing!
Despite the resistance, we are truly the pioneers of the next century. As functional medicine practitioners, we are helping bridge the gap between a broken system, and a system that truly works for all, and honors the dignity of all. For every person who gets ill because of a system that isn’t designed to actually help people heal, there is another person who is ready to do whatever it takes to get answers, to get help, to get what every human being on the planet deserves-healing, love, and compassion.
Spread this message far and wide with those you love, and let’s create a better future for ourselves and our children.