Functional medicine takes a different approach to helping patients achieve optimal health and wellness. Unlike traditional medicine, which often focuses on diseases and symptoms, functional medicine concentrates on the patient as a whole.
At Text2MD, we take a functional medicine approach to patient care. We get to know you as an individual so we can understand all the factors affecting your health. Then, we address the specific factors contributing to your health concerns. As a result, we can create a customized treatment plan that works for you.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine aims to bridge the gap between alternative and conventional medicine practices. The biochemist who coined the term, Jeffrey Bland, believed that illness occurs due to problems in a person’s “biological network.”
The biological network encompasses a person’s genetic makeup, environment, and lifestyle. In functional medicine, all three components are critical to understanding, diagnosing, and treating medical concerns.
What Are the Principles of Functional Medicine?
To treat you as a whole, your functional medicine doctor needs to understand how diseases develop and identify prevention techniques and various treatment modalities.
Therefore, we focus on functional medicine principles, including patient-centered care, a science-based, integrative healthcare approach, and combining alternative methodologies with traditional treatments.
Patients are the key to functional medicine. In comparison, traditional medicine practitioners tend to specialize in certain diseases or injuries. Functional medicine allows your doctor to prioritize your overall wellness.
By treating and preventing illness using an approach specific to your needs, we can keep your body operating at its best.
Science-Based and Integrative
A functional medicine doctor considers all the interactions and contributors to your health. For example, your medical history and your family, physiology, lifestyle, and environment all impact your health. Those factors, as well as your mental well-being and psychology, are evaluated to determine the best treatment plan for your needs.
Combining Medical Practices
Functional medicine doctors combine bloodwork, diagnostic testing, medications, and other methodologies often considered traditional with treatments typically considered alternative medicine.
Alternative practices that work well alongside traditional medicine include good nutrition, exercise, supplements, stress management techniques like yoga and meditation, and detoxification programs.
What Are the 7 Systems of Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine doctors view the body through the functional medicine matrix of 7 fundamental systems. This matrix helps us to prioritize your health issues.
Assimilation is the way your body breaks down food and liquids to convert them into energy and nutrition. It starts with the digestive tract and ends at the cellular level, where your cells become fed and hydrated.
Assimilation takes into account the following:
- Hematologic system
- Digestive system
- Nervous system
- Immune system
When your body isn’t processing food correctly, there are several ways the deficiency can affect your health. Assimilation is a starting point for many functional medicine doctors seeking to understand your concerns.
Biotransformation and Elimination
The body’s biotransformation and elimination systems encompass how it processes nutrition and excretes compounds the body doesn’t need.
Evaluating the health of these systems helps identify problems with nutritional deficiencies, toxic exposures, chronic stressors, genetic mutations, and chronic inflammation. These concerns can impair the proper functioning of your systems.
Defense and Repair
Your immune system’s role in your overall health includes:
- Defending against germs and other outside threats
- Cleaning up and removing dead or dying cells
- Facilitating cellular repair
Dysregulation within your immune system can cause autoimmune diseases, chronic pain and inflammation, and ongoing or relapsing illnesses.
The structural integrity of your cells is a complex component of your health. Cell and tissue breakdowns can decrease kidney function and lead to heart attacks, strokes, and brain perfusion.
Often, a breakdown in the integrity of your vascular functioning begins in the teen years, eventually leading to these conditions decades later. Understanding, evaluating, and treating the early symptoms of cell and tissue breakdowns can prevent severe consequences in the future.
Communication encompasses the endocrine system and its connections with your nervous system, called the neuroendocrine system. When your body experiences a breakdown in these areas, it can lead to conditions like hypo or hyperthyroidism, adrenal fatigue, early menopause, diabetes, and other conditions.
Mitochondria in your body’s cells produce energy through the digestion of nutrients. When the mitochondria can’t produce the necessary energy, the body can’t fuel essential processes like releasing hormones, making protein, or repairing DNA.
As a result, patients can experience chronic fatigue syndrome or tertiary conditions like seizures, metabolic strokes, or impaired kidney function.
Transport represents the body’s lymphatic and cardiovascular systems, which move molecules throughout the body. Issues with your body’s transportation efficiency can lead to edema, hypertension, or heart failure.
Why Does the Functional Matrix Matter?
Functional medicine emphasizes the body’s interconnected nature. The functional matrix provides doctors with a methodology to approach the body’s systems and identify the symptoms and risk factors that encompass how and why you got sick.
The matrix allows functional medicine doctors to better understand how your symptoms connect to determine their root cause.
Through this comprehensive approach to investigating your medical history, events that triggered your symptoms, and lifestyle and environmental causes of your concerns, your physician has a better chance of finding a meaningful cure for your issue instead of managing your symptoms.
Discover the Difference Functional Medicine Can Make
You deserve a physician who takes the time to understand you and your concerns and works with you to determine and address the cause of your condition. Functional medicine provides thoughtful, comprehensive care when and where it’s convenient for you. Start feeling your best today by contacting us today.