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What is Functional Medicine?

It focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease.

A functional medicine evaluation goes beyond the standard medical work-up. We not only focus on making the correct diagnoses, but more importantly, we focus on finding the reason why you developed those conditions. If you have chronic medical conditions but have been unable to identify the specific causes for your diagnoses, then there is little hope of creating a path towards recovering your health. Our goal is to identify the root causes of your medical problems, giving you the greatest opportunity to regain your health.

​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 allergens, toxic environmental exposures, and pro-inflammatory foods) and deficiencies (such as nutrients, hormones, and rest) interfere with the body's innate ability to heal itself. Our goal is to take steps to identify and correct these excesses and deficiencies, so that your body can begin to heal itself.

​It generally involves a more in-depth biochemical evaluation than what standard medical care is usually able to offer.

At its core, functional medicine seeks to answer the question, "why did I develop this condition?"  To answer this question, not only do we perform a thorough history, physical exam, and standard medical laboratory testing, but we also obtain advanced diagnostic biochemical testing. This evaluation helps us to identify your specific deficiencies and/or excesses which are the root causes of your chronic diseases.  Until you understand why you are ill you will not know what steps you can take to recover.

​It is personalized lifestyle medicine.

The vast majority of chronic diseases are due to lifestyle and environmental factors while only a small portion of our problems are driven by our genetics.  This is good news because we can change our lifestyle and environmental factors, potentially removing 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 irreversible damage has been done to our body.  Our goal is to identify and correct your specific underlying biochemical, environmental, mental, emotional, and spiritual factors causing symptoms and disease.  Most chronic diseases have multiple underlying causes, and the root causes are typically different for each person.  Therefore our treatment plans are tailored to each person's unique situation, specific concerns, and individual preferences. 

It recognizes that dietary changes and high-quality nutritional supplements are often vital to health restoration.

There are numerous vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other plant- and animal-derived nutrients which our bodies require for optimal long-term health.  Unfortunately the average American diet does a poor job of supplying us with many of these nutrients.  This is a major contributing factor to many chronic diseases.  When we then turn to prescription medications to treat these chronic diseases all too often we do not recover because an important root cause has not been addressed.  Medications can serve an important function in controlling our diseases and suppressing symptoms, but frequently they do not address the underlying causes of our declining health.  One of the goals of functional medicine is to identify what your specific nutritional needs are and address those needs through diet, lifestyle changes, and targeted high-quality nutritional supplements, as needed. 

How Functional Medicine Works:  A Brief Explanation

Learn about the inner workings of functional medicine and how it addresses the root causes of chronic disease in this brief video.  Arthur Lewis, MD uses a visual format to explain how functional medicine physicians unravel the barriers which interfere with our body’s innate ability to heal itself in order to help you understand what steps are necessary to reclaim your health. 

How Functional Medicine Works:  A Deeper Dive (21 minutes)

This video provides the same information as above but with the addition of information from the medical literature explaining in more detail the mechanisms driving chronic disease.

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