What Methods Does A Functional Medicine Doctor Use?
Don’t look at a car’s peeling paint to determine why it is leaking oil. Don’t ask why your clock isn’t running when you remove the batteries. And don’t expect to thrive when you ignore the complex internal ecosystem that makes up your body. True health comes from the inside.
Health is so much more than a lack of disease. But so often, we don’t seek true health until we’ve lost the little we had. Functional medicine seeks to bring back not only a holistic approach to the body’s state but also a preventative philosophy for true health and wellness.
A functional medicine doctor exists to fill the holes that conventional medicine has left. While modern medical advancements have saved many lives, the past century of medicine saw an alarming retreat from anything natural, holistic, or spiritual. This has led to a culture and people that are living in pain, confusion, and frustration due to poor health and wellness. But it’s important that science is not thrown out in the process of seeking more natural internal healing.
A functional doctor bridges the gap between these two often opposing approaches to medicine by seeking to understand what is happening and why it is happening. That knowledge then provides the framework for a customized plan for each patient’s health journey. Functional medicine practices utilize a wide range of methods that are backed by both scientific data and a holistic understanding.
What Does a Functional Medicine Doctor Do?
To some, the idea of functional medicine is foreign and confusing. “You get to the root cause? What does that mean?”. “How can you treat illness without medication?” Many people ask us what methods a functional medicine practice uses to treat patients. The list is vast, and to list them all would take more of your time than you’re probably willing to spend on this article. However, we’ll explain a few of the most common methods we use that benefit our patients.
Perhaps one of the most defining factors of functional medicine over other natural methods is the use of testing. After a deep-dive into your health history, a functional medicine practitioner will use cutting-edge laboratory diagnostic testing. In this your unique biochemistry is tested, meaning that the chemical processes that are going on inside your body are assessed to determine where imbalances may be occurring.
These blood tests evaluate the state of several of your body’s critical organs and systems, such as the liver, kidneys, and digestive system.
Tests ordered by a functional medicine doctor may include:
- Blood panel
- Genetic profile
- Cortisol Test
- Hormone panel
- Stool test or GI test
- Food sensitivity test
- Organic acids test
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth test
The food you eat provides the building blocks for every other function in your body. A functional medicine approach to nutrition takes into account the patient’s testing results, health history, and current ailments to help arrive at a nutritional plan that will build life, not disease. Each body is different. Some can easily digest meat, dairy, and gluten products. Others can have life-threatening reactions to those same products. Ultimately, though, functional medicine aims to help educate and support individuals in developing a nutritional plan that supports healing and true internal wellness.
Regardless of allergens, functional nutrition seeks to get back to fresh, nutrient-rich foods. This means staying away from sugars, pre-packaged foods, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, unhealthy fats, and chemicals. As a functional medicine doctor in Colorado Springs, we know that finding fresh, local produce isn’t possible approximately 8 months out of the year. But we work with our patients to help them find what is possible and what is healthy.
Many times, we are unable to obtain all the nutrients our body needs from our food. That’s why functional medicine doctors rely on nutritional supplements to support the body’s healing and health. This may include vitamins, minerals, probiotics, and other tailored supplements.
Nutritional change is one of the primary methods used by functional medicine doctors, and rightly so. It’s one of the foundational aspects of our body’s entire function.
Many acute illnesses that a functional medicine doctor may treat, stem from the onslaught of chemicals that our bodies must process. Cleaning products, shower products, cosmetics, the mattress you sleep on, new carpet in your house, pollution, paint, plastic…the list goes on. All of these are loaded with chemicals that disrupt hormones, cell-growth, and multiple other functions in the body. Couple this chemical overload with the lack of good nutrition (which helps rid the body of toxins) and it’s no wonder we see so many autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, and general acute conditions with no seeming answer.
A functional medicine approach to health helps to eliminate (or lessen) the exposure to many of these harmful substances. An FM doctor can help you identify some of these problem areas and suggest safe, effective alternatives. They’ll also prescribe various treatments to assist detoxification of these toxins.
Stress is also a major player in the state of our health. In today’s culture, we don’t slow down. And that stress is slowly killing us. Part of a lifestyle change for true health is the ability to properly handle stress. That may include professional measures such as massage or therapy, but also may include meditation, exercise, hobbies, or simply time in nature.
The complexity of the body necessitates that a variety of measures be taken for full health and wellness. Therefore, functional medicine doctors will often recommend and oversee other measures for both chronic and acute issues.
These include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Frequency-specific Microcurrent
- Neural Training
- Aromatherapy (essential oils, etc.)
We would be remiss not to mention the role of medicine within functional medicine practices, and we’re talking about prescription medicine. Again, this is another unique factor to this approach to health. Functional medicine doctors are able to oversee the use of and treatment with prescription drugs. The goal is always to gradually decrease and eliminate the reliance on drugs, but this can be done under the care and oversight of one doctor that knows both the science and medical background of the prescriptions as well as the natural treatment methods that will help address the root cause of the issue.
Functional Medicine Doctor in Colorado Springs
To learn more about the methods used by functional medicine doctors to help their patients find true health and wellness, talk to one of our professionals today at True Life Medicine. Get started here.