What Is Functional Medicine Anyway?
I’ve dedicated the last 18 months to studying and certifying myself in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine, founded by Jeffrey Bland PhD. Yesterday was the big day, I took the board exam, a four hour test to prove I’ve got the knowledge they require. WHEW!!! THAT WAS HARD!!!
When I say I practice functional medicine everyone asks me “what is it?”! There are so many modalities of healing it can get confusing sorting through all of the paths.
So I wanted to explain it from my perspective and experience. Functional Medicine is a way of organizing our understanding of health into the systems that run the body and figuring out where they are out of balance, then helping them heal it. This form of medicine looks at you, the person who got the illness rather than the medical diagnosis. The initial goal is to find the root cause of the problem. Then, we create programs to help you heal. We look at your current lifestyle, your earliest experiences, family history and spiritual history. We use various tests to understand the deeper functioning of your organs. Rather than looking at each organ individually, we look at the systems that allow the organs to work, such as your body’s communication system or defense and repair mechanisms, etc. It’s a full-picture approach!
I’ve also been a practitioner of Chinese medicine for over 25 years now. When I originally went to acupuncture school, I went because I fell in love with the idea of being able to help people no matter what they had. I could figure out where their energy was out of balance and use Chinese Medicine to bring it back into balance. There were so many times in my ER practice that I’d see patients whose problems couldn’t be explained by what I knew from my medical training. Chinese medicine offered me a bigger box.
Imagine that you have been feeling crummy for a while with some condition that doesn’t seem to make sense. You’re tired all the time but don’t sleep well. Your body hurts and you feel sick. But none of the tests that have been done help you understand what’s wrong!
I’ve found functional medicine to be the perfect blend of Western sciences with my Eastern understanding of how the body works, so I’m super excited to have incorporated this amazing tool into my work!