Functional medicine is a big time, energy, effort, and money commitment. And while I’m happy to tell you how it changed my life, healed my family, and was 100% worth it for me… today let’s talk about if it’s right for you.
The pros and cons of Western medicine
A big myth is that functional medicine looks down on Western medicine practices. Not true!
Western medicine is vitally important and great for crisis management. For example, if you cut your finger open chopping veggies for dinner, please don’t wait for your next functional medicine appointment. Get yourself to a hospital!
But when it comes to chronic health conditions – like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, autism, depression, and more – many people find that the Western approach’s focus on symptom management leaves them feeling unheard and worse than when they started symptom management medicine. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, the prospect of living with it (and using various medications with side effects to “manage” it forever more) can be incredibly disheartening.
Because Western medicine usually divides specialties by body part or system – i.e. cardiologists, endocrinologists, OB/GYN, etc. – it can feel like no one doctor is considering your overall health when making recommendations.
What functional medicine does differently
Fortunately, Functional medicine really shines when it comes to reversing chronic diseases and conditions that Western medicine can only seek to manage. Functional medicine provides patients with a personalized medical model that offers root-cause resolution.
The root of all disease is inflammation, so functional medicine practitioners are searching for what causes inflammation. As Dr. Nathan Morris says, MD stands for “Medical Detective,” searching for what causes inflammation (the root causes) that ultimately creates your symptoms. The five major sources of inflammation (root causes) are
- Emotional trauma and ongoing stress
- Diet and eating habits
- Gut pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, parasites)
- Toxicity (heavy metals, chemicals, and mold toxin exposure)
What holds people back from functional medicine?
Addressing the root cause of inflammation and healing from chronic disease sounds great…. So why aren’t more people turning to functional medicine for help?
On one hand, you want to heal the root causes, and on the other hand…
There’s so much information; how do I know what’s right for me?
Where do I even begin? How do I make my efforts effective, reasonable, and sustainable when I don’t feel like I have enough time in the day or enough energy to get out of bed?
How do I make so many changes and go counterculture when I don’t feel well, especially without disrupting my family and our traditions?
Plus, it’s expensive!! Functional medicine providers do not accept insurance because insurance dictates how medical providers can practice medicine (what pharmaceuticals and procedures to prescribe). This makes functional medicine practices have to be cash-paying, and providers charge between $300-$700/hour and recommend costly diagnostic labs and supplement protocols. How can I afford this?
And all that can leave you wondering if functional medicine is really worth the time and effort. The overwhelm might leave you frozen in place, unsure of your next step.
Is functional medicine right for you?
The simple answer is that functional medicine is right for everyone – because there is no one way to use functional medicine.
You will actually optimize your ROI of working with a functional medicine provider by prioritizing removing everyday sources of inflammation and giving back a few targeted supplements to peel back layers of inflammation. Peeling back layers of emotional, mental, spiritual, dietary, and lifestyle inflammation will make your work with a functional medicine provider more targeted, cost-effective, and productive.
Eighty percent of a functional medicine plan is modifying your nutrition and lifestyle; twenty percent is implementing your provider’s well-timed medical interventions.
You can take a multitude of nutritional and anti-inflammatory supplements and invest in diagnostic labs and functional therapies (exosomes, stem cells, IV therapy,
etc.). Still, if you are not eating anti-inflammatory foods and living a lifestyle that positively affects your biological symptoms, your symptoms will remain. Establishing a foundation with the required nutrition and lifestyle changes will allow the more advanced medical interventions to be successful.
You can expedite your or your child’s healing process by prioritizing behavioral change in the following life domains.
The functional medicine modifiable lifestyle domains are
• Stress and Resilience Modifications
• Nutrition Modifications
• Lifestyle & Environment Modifications
• Sleep & Relaxation Modifications
• Movement & Exercise Modifications
• Relationship Modifications
• Time and Money Modifications
Self-coaching is a requirement in root-cause healing.
The journey of healing the root causes of symptoms through Biomed | functional medicine can be a long and challenging road – to achieve what many say is unattainable, like placing symptoms of Autism and other complex chronic conditions into remission, you must become your own best coach. By adopting a coaching mindset and applying evidence-based behavioral change techniques, YOU CAN AND WILL take greater control of your lives, make positive changes, and actualize your aspirations and goals. Learning and applying the behavioral disciplines shared in Ware’s companion guides you in developing your family’s method to affect your current circumstances and shape your destiny.