Functional Medicine

shutterstock_124922894Causes Not Symptoms

Most people consider themselves perfectly healthy as long as they have no symptoms. However, it is important to keep in mind that in the progression from health to chronic disease, symptoms show up late in the process. In fact, according to Dr. Walter Bortz, a leading gerontologist, we can lose up to 70% of function of an organ or system before we notice the first symptoms!

While standard medical testing can be very helpful to determine a diagnosis, many times it misses more subtle imbalances that place a key role in our health. At I Am Wellness, we utilize advanced “functional” testing to pick up on these critical clues.  If we truly want to be healthy and prevent disease, it is crucial to look deeper in to the underlying causes of our health, not just the surface symptoms.

The Biological “Terrain”

Throughout recorded time, man has been interested in understanding the nature of disease and why “some individuals never get sick, while others pick up every cold in the neighborhood.” Although much attention is still given to germs and other external agents of disease, recent medical research has shifted…to the examination of several factors that reside in our bodies.

Just as a seed needs fertile soil to take root and grow diseases needs fertile soil to develop. We call this the “biological terrain”.  The nature and vitality of the cells and communication pathways in the body actually determine our resistance to disease and the level of wellness we experience.

The famous French scientist Claude Bernard was quoted as saying, “Illnesses hover constantly above us, their seeds blown by the wind, but they do not set in the terrain unless the terrain is ready to receive them.”

The “biological terrain” is measured through blood, urine, saliva, electrical measurement, body palpation, astute observation, and much more.

Functional medicine is based on 6 core principles.

  1. We are all bio-chemically unique.
  2. We take a “patient centered” approach rather than a “disease centered” approach.
  3. We view health as a balance of internal and external factors in the mind, body and spirit.
  4. We look for the interconnections between the body systems.
  5. We know that health is more than the absence of disease.
  6. We focus on increasing “health span” not just “life span”

The 4 P’s of Functional Medicine Treatment

Another way of looking at the differences between standard medical care and the functional medicine approach is how treatment and clinical decisions are made.  One of the leaders of functional medicine today, Dr. Mark Hyman has distilled the Functional medicine approach to treatment into what he calls the “4 P’s”

  • Personalized care – No cookie cutter treatments. The patient’s environment and lifestyle are considered as part of the entire clinical picture.
  • Predictive – Effort is made to understand what genetic and lifestyle based disease a person is susceptible to so that intervention can be made early in the disease process.
  • Proactive – Preventative measures are taken to enhance health as opposed to reactive measures taken to manage disease patterns that are already entrenched in the body.
  • Participatory – Each patient is responsible to adapt and modify their behaviors towards habits that create the context for healing.  The patient is the healer and the physician is the facilitator.

Functional Diagnostic Testing

There are several methods of evaluation that are conducted in our office including:

• Palpation
• Postural Evaluation
• EMG and spinal Thermography
• Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
• Bio-communication Testing (Zyto scan)
• Kinesiology (muscle testing)
• Urinalysis
• Saliva Hormone Assessment
• Comprehensive Digestive Analysis
• Female and Male Hormone profiles
• Intestinal Barrier Function
• Detoxification Panels (including heavy metal burden testing)
• Functional Blood Chemistry Panels

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