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It focuses on addressing the root causes of disease

A functional medicine evaluation goes beyond the standard work up of medical conditions due to its focus on not merely making the correct diagnoses but much more importantly understanding why you developed those diagnoses.  If you have chronic medical conditions but neither you nor your health care team know why you have those conditions, then there is little hope that you can create a path back to recovering your health.  Our goal is to attempt to identify the root causes of your medical problems to give you the greatest opportunity to regain your health. 

It is personalized lifestyle medicine

The vast majority of chronic diseases are due to lifestyle and environmental factors while only a small portion of the problem is driven by our genetics.  This is good news because since our health conditions have primarily developed due to the interaction of our diet, lifestyle, and environment interfacing with mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual factors, then we can make changes which can potentially remove the root causes of our poor health.  Your DNA is not your destiny.  In order for functional medicine (or any other form of health care) to be most effective the goal is to intervene before excessive permanent damage has been done to the involved tissues of your body.  That means the goal is to identify and fix the underlying biochemical, environmental, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors causing symptoms and disease early enough that when these factors have been effectively addressed good health can be reestablished.    Most chronic diseases have multiple underlying causes.  For any particular disease the root causes of the condition are likely to be different from one person to the next.  Therefore the treatments must be tailored to each person's unique situation, specific concerns and individual preferences. 
 

It seeks to optimize the body's innate ability to heal itself

Our bodies have been "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139:14)  We have been designed to stay healthy and spontaneously  recover from most illnesses; however, the combination of various excesses (such as certain foods, allergens, chronic and early-life stress, obesity, environmental toxins, inappropriate medications, infections, toxic thoughts, emotions, & relationships) and deficiencies (such as nutrients, hormones, digestive enzymes, supportive relationships, movement, exercise, rest, adequate sleep, & life purpose) interfere with the bodies innate ability to heal itself.  The goal of functional medicine is to identify these excesses and deficiencies and remove them to the greatest extent possible so that the body can either heal itself or stop/slow down the progression of disease.  When these issues are identified in their early stages then we can intervene before symptomatic dysfunction and disease set in. 

It recognizes that high-quality nutritional supplements are often vital to health restoration

There are numerous nutrients, antioxidants, and other plant-derived chemicals that our bodies either require or thrive on for which there are no acceptable pharmaceutical alternatives. When these unmet needs are a root cause of a person’s condition (and they frequently are) and when they are not recognized or addressed, then that which could have been an acute condition will turn into a chronic and potentially progressive disease because the underlying problem continues to adversely affect the body’s functioning. Prescribing medications or anything else under this all too common scenario may or may not improve the symptoms but it will not be able to resolve the condition.  I have come to appreciate the Biblical wisdom which states that, "The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations." (Revelations 22:2)  We were designed to function best with the intake of certain nutrients and when they are absent or insufficient it will eventually take a toll on our health.  Pharmaceuticals and surgeries definitely have their place when used appropriately, but the goal is to reduce reliance upon them by addressing the root causes through diet, lifestyle changes, and pharmaceutical-grade nutritional supplements, as indicated. 

It generally involves a more in-depth biochemical evaluation than what standard medical evaluations usually offer

With the standard practice of medicine one does not need an in-depth knowledge of biochemistry to either make a diagnosis or to offer the standard treatment for most diseases. What sets functional medicine apart from traditional medicine and other forms of integrative and alternative medicine is that with functional medicine a prerequisite for answering the question why this person has this disease and what can we do about it requires integrating the details of a person’s history, physical exam, standard medical labs, and advanced diagnostic testing with a more in-depth understanding of normal and abnormal biochemistry and physiology not otherwise needed to just make a diagnosis or to prescribe pharmaceuticals.

What is Functional Medicine?

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