What is functional Medicine? Everything you need to know!

Functional medicine is the future of medicine.

It is a personalized systems based medicine. It honors the fact your body is a complex system within a collection of smaller parts. And the way these individual parts interact has a direct influence and determines how the system as a whole functions. 

With functional medicine the goal is to determine the root cause of your symptoms. There is a strong focus on nutrition, lifestyle, and natural approaches.

All healing begins with understanding.

With functional medicine, we have 2 goals, 1)Understand the root cause of your problems. 2) Give your body the support it needs to function properly.

Functional medicine is an amazing tool regardless of the symptoms you are experiencing.

Do you have symptoms, even though your bloodwork is “normal”?

I can’t tell you how many times I meet with a new patient who says their doctor told them their lab work looked completely normal, even though they had a laundry list of symptoms.

Functional medicine is a very different model than the standard conventional healthcare like your normal doctor might provide. Your regular doctor has a one pill for one problem approach. And these providers are broken up into specialists who ignore the rest of the body except the one small part they focus on.

You go to the gynecologist to help with your period problems, the dermatologist for acne, and a psychiatrist for anxiety. None of these doctors talk to each other. None of these doctors even consider the fact that your period problems, acne, and anxiety are related or can be corrected. Instead one prescribes birth control another prescribes antibiotics and topical creams for acne, and another doctor gives anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Functional medicine takes a step back and realizes that every system in your body is connected and influences the other systems. And that to truly heal, we have to address these underlying dysfunctions instead of just covering them up.

The epidemic of chronic illness. Normal and optimal aren’t the same.

Over 50% of Americans have a chronic illness. Unfortunately the way that lab work normal ranges are determined is by taking the average of everyone who had lab work done in the previous year. If the vast majority of people getting lab work are sick, then of course the reference ranges are going to be for sick people.

So it’s no wonder your lab work can look normal – because “normal” is actually really sick.

With functional medicine we aren’t trying to be “normal”. We want to be functional and optimal. This requires a different look when it comes to lab work. We can narrow down those reference ranges and get a better idea of what’s happening. We can also run specialized lab work to really dive into how your body is functioning.

The real underlying causes of disease

In my experience virtually all symptoms and diseases are caused by the following 8 dysfunctional mechanisms.

  1. GI issues
  2. Nutrient imbalances
  3. HPA axis dysfunction
  4. Toxic burden
  5. Cellular dysfunction
  6. Hormone imbalances
  7. Immune system dysregulation
  8. Chronic infections

A surprisingly large amount of these dysfunctions can be addressed with nutrition and lifestyle interventions. In some cases additional in-depth lab testing might be required.

Who is functional medicine for?

Great question! Functional medicine is for everyone. It’s for those who want to take charge of their health. Functional medicine is for those who are sick of searching on the internet to try and figure out why they still feel like crap, even though their doctor said their labs are “normal”.

Common Problems Addressed through Functional Medicine

Autoimmune, digestion, inflammation, hormones, mental well-being, fatigue, anxiety, fertility, heart health, longevity and so much more.

Picture of Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM

Dr. Josh Hanson, DACM

Dr. Josh Hanson specializes in treating chronic pain and providing fertility support. He has performed 40,000+ procedures over the last 10+ years. Dr. Hanson has a clinic in Tampa, FL where patients travel from all over Florida to receive cutting edge care.

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