functional medicine

Functional Medicine involves looking for the root causes of illness or dysfunction by looking at certain key body systems such as the digestive system.  For example, an illness may have started after a period of long-term stress, poor dietary habits, or even picking up a gut infection during travel.  A process of physiological damage may have occurred which could lead to chronic inflammation that later manifested with symptoms such as frequent nasal congestion, a constant sense of fatigue and chronic headaches.  Instead of focusing only on the symptoms, Functional Medicine seeks to identify the underlying causes with laboratory testing, and to correct them using natural treatment methods. Often many seemingly unrelated symptoms can be resolved in this way.

 

A Functional Medicine practitioner begins by first taking an in-depth health history and discussing health challenges and goals, and then ordering the appropriate laboratory tests. Once the test results are in, natural supplement-based treatment programs are designed on an individual basis, along with diet and lifestyle recommendations.

 

Functional Medicine lab tests:

 

  • a GI stool test to find if there are hidden sources of inflammation such as bacteria, viruses or parasites in the gut, or if there are disruptions in the gut microbiome and other important gut markers

  • an adrenal stress test to look at levels of stress hormones (including cortisol levels) 

  • advanced testing for organic acids (measures of metabolic and cellular health), and nutrient and fatty acid levels (important for heart health)

 

Examples of Symptoms that Functional Medicine addresses:

 

  • Fatigue

  • Pain

  • Chronic inflammation

  • Weight gain

  • Depression

  • Anxiety 

  • GI problems (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn) 

  • Sex hormone imbalance (low sex drive, infertility, hot flashes, PMS, PCOS) 

  • Allergies 

  • Insomnia

  • Brain fog 

  • Skin problems

  • Frequent colds or infections 

  • Sugar cravings 

  • Cardiometabolic conditions (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, insulin resistance)

  • Autoimmune conditions

 

A Functional Medicine doctor or practitioner combines functional medicine training with their area of medical specialization. At Bodies In Balance Acupuncture, Dr. Dorothy S. Wells is an Acupuncture Physician (AP) who has pursued advanced training in Functional Medicine.  Both Functional Medicine and Chinese Medicine are based on principles of working to correct root causes so that your body can stay balanced naturally, and the two modalities work well together.  

 

A typical Functional Medicine lab-based treatment program for gut health and inflammation lasts from 2 to 6 months, with regular appointments to keep up with your progress.  By focusing on the foundations of health and by using natural treatment methods that are targeted to your individual situation, you can begin to find natural solutions and enjoy better health with the help of a Functional Medicine program.