Throughout my career as a physician, I have worked to blend various evidence-based treatment methods optimize health for each individual patient. I focus heavily on healthy lifestyle education, emphasizing nutrition, physical activity and stress reduction through mindfulness. I have additional training in integrative medicine and most recently have begun training to become certified in Functional Medicine.
There are a lot of different terms out there that encompass “alternative” medicine. For example, the term “integrative medicine” refers to the combining of mainstream medicine with healing-oriented medicine, taking into account the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies. Another method that has gained a great deal of attention in recent years is Functional Medicine..
The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
In Functional Medicine thinking, when significant inflammation is in the body (root cause), it could lead to chronic conditions such as depression, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, or other devastating illness such as cancer. While it is important to treat the diabetes, depression or other conditions, it is also important to understand the reasons for the root cause, in this case, the inflammation. By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual.
Chronic conditions are on the rise, and Functional Medicine has the potential to reverse or even eliminate the devastating affects of some of these conditions.Patients treated at the Cleveland Center for Functional Medicine reported a decrease in fatigue, depression and auto-immune problems. At the same time, the 4,200 patients also reported a reduction in their out-of-pocket health care costs.
With the rising costs of health care, as well as time restraints, patients are looking to various modalities for treatments and improvement in their general wellness. It is important, however, to integrate this with sound evidence-based approaches that first do no harm.