Interest in the functional medicine approach is growing every day. People are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of this health-restoring approach to wellness. Unfortunately, very few people understand how the process of health restoration works. Most of the people who enter our office for the first time have a general idea of what we do, but most can’t really explain it or steps of the process. They may be familiar with the “root cause” approach…isolating what is causing their health issues, but they don’t understand HOW we accomplish this. The functional medicine approach is very different than that taken by traditional medicine…and this is the model most people are very familiar with. Let’s first look at the traditional approach.

What you’re getting now:

You go to see a doctor, you talk for a few minutes, they tap your knees, take your blood pressure and order some basic blood tests…to make sure you are not going to drop dead within the next week. This results in a prescription for a drug(s) that will hopefully make you feel better or change some aspect of your test results…like a drug to lower your blood sugar or cholesterol.

This model has 2 objectives:

  1. Alleviate your current health condition.
  2. Keep you alive.

Now, both of these sound like good things…because they are. However, this approach does not increase health and wellness and does not reverse disease. You don’t ever get better! How long will you need to take that medication for your IBS, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and depression…how long? FOREVER! There is no plan to restore your health and as your health declines the “solution” is to simply add more drugs. Another major problem that this approach does not address is chronic illness or health problems that do not responds to the drugs. Ok, I could just keep going, but I think you get my point. Just to be clear, I am not against traditional medicine…it has it place and it’s fantastic for short-term / acute health problems…not so good for restoring your health and reversing chronic health issues.

What you could be getting…

What you could be getting instead is a functional medicine approach. So how does it work and how is it different than the traditional model? You will find slight variations in the process, but it generally look something like this…

I will use what happens in my office as an example.

When I meet with you for the first time, you have already completed paperwork that asks many questions about your overall health and your current health concerns. My consultation and paperwork review usually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete…not 5 minutes. From this consultation I usually have the information I need to start collecting objective data about your health…this usually involves a comprehensive blood test. I need the blood test to start root cause discovery process.

This test provides me with information I need when investigating which body systems seems to be struggling and which ones are working well. The systems that are not doing well are then looked into more closely; this is accomplished with very specific tests; such as food sensitivity testing, nutrition testing, adrenal gland or hormones testing, gut function and stool testing. I use the first test to help determine which of these more specialized tests will be helpful and which ones will not.

The functional medicine process is one of investigation and discovery…this is how I isolate the factors that are causing your health issues. I then take this information and construct a plan that is implemented in layers to help restore function to your body.

Like an onion…we peel away the layers so we discover what is wrong and then create a plan to restore health by layers.

You get well from the inside out, and we help you through this process.

You may find variations of this process from doctor to doctor, but the description provided above is how I help my patients. It is easy to see the difference between traditional and functional medicine. The good news is that you have a choice based on your personal preference for healthcare.

 I wish you success in your quest for better 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.