Functional medicine is the future of conventional medicine. This is good news, because, in contrast to conventional medicine, functional medicine looks at the patient as a whole to treat illnesses, rather than simply assessing whatever symptoms a person may be having. There are a variety of factors that can affect a person’s health, so shouldn’t your practitioner take them all into account when treating you? At New Health Montana, we believe this is how patients are best treated. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing functional medicine in Missoula, MT. That’s also why we’re using this article to explain functional medicine and its benefits for patients.
What is Functional Medicine?
Conventional medicine’s main goal is to identify a patient’s symptoms and use these symptoms to identify a disease. Once a disease is identified, a treatment plan is created, usually involving appropriate pharmaceuticals that will reduce the symptoms. However, while this approach is great for some conditions, it can miss the underlying causes of many other conditions.
Have you or someone you know ever been given a prescription to alleviate the symptoms of a health condition only to have that prescription add a new symptom?
Conventional medicine is very successful in treating acute medical issues, but it’s not very successful in treating chronic issues. Perhaps this is because effective treatment of a chronic illness means treating the underlying cause, which conventional medicine often ignores.
Do you or someone you know have to see a handful of different doctors, each prescribing different medications? This is was leads to a person becoming a “patient for life”. Fortunately, functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic diseases so no one has to become or remain a patient for life!
Functional medicine in Missoula is a new way of understanding, assessing, preventing, and treating chronic disease. It combines a variety of science-based approaches to find and treat underlying imbalances in how the body’s systems are functioning. Functional medicine practitioners also focus on what’s unique about a patient in an attempt to understand how genetics, environment, and lifestyle interact with the body’s systems to create dysfunction. In functional medicine, treatments plans are tailored to restore how the body’s systems function.
How Patients Benefit
Functional medicine practitioners consider your symptoms but determine the root cause and thus get a more permanent solution using lifestyle interventions. The practice of integrative functional medicine relies on the amazing ability of the body to heal itself, instead of relying on the pharmaceutical industry.
Imagine that your automobile’s check engine light comes on. You take the car to the mechanic. They reset the light but never look under the hood to see what the root cause is. You drive off, only to have the light come on again the next day. You go back into the mechanic. They reset the light, but again, they neglect to look under the hood. How many times do you keep going back to have the light reset?
Now, compare this to a woman who feels like there’s something wrong with her. Her eyebrows have thinned, her hair is falling out, she has little energy, she’s somewhat depressed, her sleep is poor, and her skin is dry. She goes to her doctor, who tests for thyroid dysfunction with a simple TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, which turns out to be within the normal range. Her doctor, of course, tells her she’s fine. She returns the following year feeling worse and is given the same test. The results are, again, within the normal range.
What does her doctor do now? Many doctors, thinking it must all be in her head, would give her an antidepressant.
If this same woman had gone to a functional medicine practitioner, seven or eight lab tests would have been ordered, the lab range would have been narrower, and the root cause of her thyroid symptoms would have been discovered. This condition would have been treated with diet, exercise, and proper support at the cellular level.
The practice of functional medicine is shifting from a disease focus to a focus on the patient, shifting from covering up symptoms with medications to finding the root cause for those symptoms.
As a functional medicine practice in Missoula, we consider:
- Environmental causes
- Immune system
- Lifestyle and diet
We also get to know you as an individual and learn what your stressors are.
Functional medicine uses philosophies that have been around for a long time. Given the state of health in this century, it is especially useful right now. Methods such as these were employed by Hippocrates himself 2,500 years ago.
Functional medicine is different from allopathic medicine in several ways:
- It is patient-centered. It embraces the idea that health is not just the absence of disease but also living a life with health and vitality.
- Functional medicine relies very strongly on an integrative, science-based approach.
- It integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes called alternative approaches, using the latest in lab testing, diagnostic techniques, prescriptions of combined botanical medicine supplements, therapeutic diet and detoxification programs, and stress management techniques.
Functional medicine practitioners empower patients by teaching them what the root cause is and equipping them with the knowledge to live a vital life.
Learn More About Functional Medicine in Missoula, MT
As Montana’s premier wellness center, we pride ourselves on meeting and treating our patients’ whole selves. We specialize in Functional Medicine, Medical Weight Loss, Mental Health, Aesthetic Medicine, and more.
We also transform lives by treating conditions such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, menopause, andropause, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction.
Get on the road to new health today by requesting a consultation or calling us at (406) 721-2537! You can also get more information about how functional medicine can be used to effectively treat chronic conditions in Donna Kay Jennings’ book, Your Journey to New Health: Lifestyle Approaches to Address Chronic Health Conditions.