Functional wellness transforms the idea of traditional medicine and offers a greater solution to overall wellness. This systems-oriented approach focuses on identifying and treating the root cause of disease in the body. Continue reading to learn how this individualized approach grants a proactive path to wellness and personal health.
I am Emily Kopek, a certified physician’s assistant at Knox Wellness, and I want to introduce the concept of functional medicine to those of you who aren’t familiar with it. When I say I practice functional medicine, people always ask me what that is. According to the Institute of Functional Medicine, functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. My favorite part of functional wellness is that the patient is at the center of everything and is treated as such.
The easiest way I can think of describing functional wellness is by giving a personal example that has transformed my life. I have a thyroid autoimmune disorder and for years I was told by traditional medical providers that my lingering symptoms were not related to my thyroid because my blood levels were in a “normal range.” I knew that there was more to their synopsis and I wanted to get to the bottom of my medical condition.
As I started learning more about functional medicine, I came to the conclusion that in order to address my thyroid autoimmunity, I first needed to work on the immune system at its source- the gut. I changed my diet, got on the right supplements, worked on repairing gut health and my symptoms immensely improved. By taking the necessary steps, I was able to get on the right path of wellness just from addressing these symptoms from a functional medicine approach.
An additional example would be someone who has joint pain, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, along with other symptoms, but has normal lab results and no other diagnostic tests to show the cause. They may be told it’s depression and given an anti-depressant, but from a functional medicine approach- they would be asked the following questions before given further results:
- Is there underlying inflammation in the body
- Is there an imbalance in gut flora?
- Is there a neurotransmitter imbalance?
- What is the diet like?
Instead of thinking of an individual body system or symptom, functional medicine sees the body as a whole and looks for underlying causes in the immune system. Since the majority of our immune system lies in our gut, a large focus is on repairing the gut lining and balancing the flora. Functional medicine also understands the role the mind and spirit play as well and encourages additional bodywork to better overall health. This includes acupuncture, cranio-sacral therapy, lymph drainage, massage therapy and meditation. All of these modalities help greatly with stress, which is a major contributor to disease.
Finally, functional medicine also relies heavily on preventative medicine, which means keeping a person well versus waiting until symptoms arise. In today’s culture, this is vital as there are so many chronic diseases circulating around. The needs of the 21st century are addressed with a patient-centered approach. This means looking for genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that could affect a patient’s long-term health. Functional wellness is the solution to improving overall health and reducing overall health care expenditures.
Discover the power of proactive care by exploring the path of functional wellness. Knox Wellness administers exceptional insight into holistic health care and acts as true partners in their patient’s health journey and want to aid you in creating a life you love. I hope you found this informative and if you have any questions feel free to call us at 865-801-9501 or visit our website for more information. We would love to see you and help you on your road towards wellness so book your consultation today!