Do you have questions about functional medicine? Maybe you are not sure if functional medicine can help you with your health issues.  Functional medicine is a fast growing segment of the healthcare landscape and for good reason. If you want to gain a better understanding of what it is and how you can benefit from it, keep reading. 

Can functional medicine help me?

What is functional medicine?

How is functional medicine different than traditional or conventional medicine?

I am asked these questions daily by my patients and if they are asking, then there must be many others who have the same questions.

What is functional medicine (FM)?

Functional medicine is a form of healthcare that looks at the human body as a whole; it takes into account the fact that no organ or system of the body work in isolation. Your gut health influences your immune health and your immune health affects the health of your nervous system…you get the idea. It is much like the children’s song Dem Bones:

The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone, …

From a functional medicine perspective, your gut is connected to your immune system and your immune system is connected to your nervous system and your nervous system is connected to your hormone/endocrine system…it just keep going! Everything is connected to everything!

So what is functional medicine? It is a form of healthcare that seeks to restore balance and coordination of function to the various systems of the body so that health occurs.

How does it work?

It looks for what is causing a loss of normal (healthy) function in the body and restore that balance. In most cases this can be achieved through dietary changes, correcting nutrient deficiencies and adopting health-promoting lifestyle practices. Functional medicine doctors look for root- causes of poor health and seek to correct them, using natural methods whenever possible.

Can it help me?

This will depend on several factors. Do you have enough normal function in the organ or system for it to recover and work properly? Can the root cause(s) of your health issue be discovered? Are you willing to make changes that result in better body function? If the answer to these questions are all “yes”, then there is a very good chance that FM can help you. Look, I want to be very clear, functional medicine is a very effective form of healthcare, but it has its limits. There no “absolutes” when it comes to healthcare or the human body. I will say however, that almost everyone can enjoy an increased level of health through the application of FM principles.

How is it really different than regular medicine?

FM is very different than regular medicine because they have different goals and methods of practice. Regular medicine seeks to diagnose your health condition and provide a medication to alleviate your symptoms. Let’s say you have high blood sugar or diabetes. In regular medicine you would be told to “eat better” and exercise and you would be given a drug to lower your blood sugar because your body is failing to do this on its own.

In FM an approach like this might be taken; there would be much more attention given to diet and clear exercise goals would be established. There might be  testing to discover nutrient deficiencies are part of the problem or inflammation could be playing a role in the blood sugar problem too. Do you see that a blood sugar problem may not just be a blood sugar problem and taking a medication will lower your blood sugar but fails to address WHY you have a blood sugar problem! The problem causing high blood sugar is not known, only the effect is know; high blood sugar. So the effect is being addressed and not it’s cause.

You could apply this same logic to any health issue. FM doctors want to know WHY you have the health issues you do and will seek to uncover these Whys…these root causes.

What is a root cause? 

A root cause is a factor that causes malfunction and it must be eliminated or corrected for normal and healthy function to return. Root cause analysis describes a wide range of approaches, tools and techniques that are used to uncover the cause of health problems.

Traditional medicine works with effects and functional medicine works with causes.

Health is arguably our most valuable asset. Anything of value must not be taken for granted or neglected. What value have you placed on your own health?

Would you rather treat causes or effects?

I wish you success on your quest for health!

If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com

Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.

This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.