Why Functional Medicine May Be the Answer You've Been Searching For
As a person who has struggled with being passed through multiple physicians for a chronic but “manageable” issue, I have to say that were it not for that experience I would not be the physician I am today. I am grateful to the conventionally trained physicians that provided me pharmaceutical medicine in times of extreme need. I am grateful for modern medical advances that have empowered me to live a life I feel in control of. But I have not suffered as the many I have seen suffer on their health care journeys.
For those that have felt ignored or lost in their search for wellness, functional medicine holds the key to a door that has remained locked for some time. At Cultivate Wellness, I have been trained by the global leaders in Functional Medicine — The Institute for Functional Medicine. This means that the treatment you receive will contain the most up-to-date and trustworthy methods and approaches to treat you as a unique individual.
1) Functional medicine takes the time, digs to the root: the average first appointment in a functional medicine model is anywhere from 75 minutes to 120 minutes. Personally, my favorite part of the functional medicine journey is the first meeting. We start from the very beginning with my favorite question: when was the last time you really felt well? From that point, we look at your life from birth to where you sit with me today, and unearth the hidden or known contributors to your health. Our goal with every interaction is to collect enough information to select only the most essential laboratory tests that might provide a clearer diagnostic picture. Between your medical history, the laboratory results, and lifestyle factors, we can discover the original cause that led to a string of chronic and seemingly unrelated health problems throughout your life. As we strive to treat that underlying condition, this process takes time, and you will be provided with a customized treatment plan that may include dietary recommendations, nutritional supplementation, herbal remedies, homeopathy, or acupuncture treatments.
2) Functional medicine uses creative problem solving: every single patient is unique. We spend years studying the mechanics of each disease and how it presents, what we know causes it, and how to approach it, but time and time again, someone comes along and runs counter to our expectations. This is the joy of it. Every individual requires some special modification to ultimately support their body as it heals. Most functional medicine providers employ numerous avenues to serve their patients best, not just a prescription pad.
3) Functional medicine is a partnered or team approach: Functional Medicine also goes by the name of “integrative medicine” in some circles. This means that practitioners either integrate different specialties of health care such as nutrition, psychology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, cardiology, etc. to create a treatment plan that addresses the patient, not the disease. Furthermore, the physician and patient are on an equal plane-- you are in the driver's seat, and the practitioner is your guide; this means you get to take the credit for your successes, not me.
4) Functional medicine empowers you to live optimally: the goal of most Functional Medicine practitioners is not to get you out of immediate pain, discomfort, or acute illness. Often, because we see people who have been from doctor to doctor for years looking for relief, the healing process is longer and aimed at restoring the life you had when you truly felt well— not just surviving. We do this by teaching you the lifestyle skills to rewrite the script of your life, by coaching you through mindfulness skills for stress management, tackling sleep quality issues, exercise recommendations, and nutritional modifications.
5) Functional medicine will save you time and money long term: because functional medicine is so intuitively focused on finding the root cause of your health problems— to fix that means to prevent any further progression of your illness. If we work together to create a healthy lifestyle, that foundation will carry you for years, even decades without having to fight the uphill battle of aging combined with disease. This means, less health care expenses, less days lost of work due to illness or doctor’s appointments, and more enjoyment from life.
So perhaps functional medicine sounds like what you’ve been looking for. How do you move forward? IFM.org allows you to find a practitioner in your area, or you can easily book an appointment on this very website! Just click “book now” on the homepage and you will be on your way!
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