Functional medicine is an integrative approach based on the powerful idea of conquering and preventing chronic illness by addressing the root cause. Unlike conventional medicine or other approaches, which focus on treating only symptoms (whether with pharmaceuticals or with herbals/supplements), functional science uses dietary and lifestyle changes to overcome the environmental, emotional, genetic, and lifestyle factors that cause chronic illnesses.
Using our investigative approach, we are able to discover common traits that may actually link many of the health problems you are facing. Our approach includes a detailed understanding of our clients’ health histories, comprehensive laboratory testing, advanced supplementation, nutritional intervention, and proven lifestyle changes. These interventions allow us to create a customized, bio-individual protocol that can help you recover your health more efficiently and completely.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is an incredibly innovative technique of uncovering the cause of ageing and disease. It is synonymous or similar to anti-ageing medicine, preventative medicine, regenerative medicine, and functional science and combines both the intelligence of science with the art and creativity of healing in order to find the reasons why disease, disorders, ageing, and symptoms are occurring.
To put this into context, functional medicine from an integrative point of view is like asking why a garden is not growing well. What is it that is or isn’t in the air or soil that is preventing the garden from thriving. If we look at these underlying problems and fix them, the garden suddenly begins to thrive. Our bodies are capable of the same phenomenon. It is based on a concept called epigenetics. Many diseases, disorders and symptoms are the result of poor gene expression, not the genes themselves. This means that environmental issues, biochemical issues, stress, trauma and other problems are actually causing genes to turn off and on in a maladaptive way. This ‘bad’ expression creates disease. That being said, because it is the way genes are behaving, it is something that can be changed.
Much like a misbehaving child, we can get the genes behaving properly again if we just figure out what is causing them to misbehave in the first place. A great example of this is the way a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. This process occurs not because the DNA of the caterpillar changes but because the gene expression, the genes that are turned on and off, changes and allows the caterpillar to transform into a butterfly. Disease and health are the same way. We can change the genes that are turned on and off when we are healthy and it will eventually lead to disease or symptoms. But, we can also change the behaviour of our genes to change symptoms or disease back to health again. Isn’t that AMAZING! This change is different for everybody. Even if two people are experiencing the same problems, say for example anxiety, their problems can be caused by completely different issues.
For this reason, this form of integrative medicine is also highly individualized and precise. We need to treat the person, not the disease or symptoms to get long-lasting improvements in health. We need to find what is causing your symptoms, not treating you the same as everyone else like traditional medicine techniques do.
What Techniques Are Involved In Functional Medicine?
Since functional medicine is highly individualized, many techniques are utilized. This includes nutrition & nutraceuticals, hormone replacement, peptides, IV therapy, neurobiofeedback, trauma therapy, structural manipulation, exercise, oligotherapy, and much more. Anything that has scientific evidence and illustrates safety and effectiveness can be utilized. Some therapies work better for some people than they do for others. This needs to be addressed on an individual basis with each person.
Functional medicine is quite different from traditional, conventional or allopathic medicine in that, this allopathic model of medicine utilizes the reactive treatment of symptoms as they occur. It is based on the concept of genetic determinism. What this means is the belief in medicine is that most conditions are caused by ‘bad’ genes and that we are bound to get diseases no matter what we do. This is simply not true.
Very few conditions are truly genetically determinant. The approach is largely based upon drugs, surgery, or even natural therapies used solely as a means to try to trick or block symptoms in the body to feeling better. Most of the time, especially in chronic conditions, this will either fail completely or fail in the long-term as the underlying reasons WHY the symptoms are occurring is NOT being addressed. To use the garden simile, this is like dumping fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides on your garden in the HOPE that it will thrive. Now, sometimes this works for a short period of time. However over time, the soil will become exhausted and no matter how much fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides are used, the garden will not thrive.
What Types Of Conditions And Medical Issues Does Functional Medicine Treat?
The other difference between traditional medicine and functional medicine is many more hours are spent educating, investigating, and solving problems. Functional medicine doctors spend many more hours with their clients than traditional practitioners. We will sometimes spend more than 100 hours per year with our clients compared to sometimes less than 30 minutes per year that are spent with traditional practitioners.
Anybody dealing with chronic problems or diseases like:
- Neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis
- Mental health conditions including ADD or ADHD, anxiety, bipolar, depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorders, insomnia, emotional regulation issues, cognitive decline
- Hormone issues such as PMS, fertility problems, menopause, or andropause (male menopause OR manopause)
- Chronic pain conditions
- Post-concussion problems
- Inflammatory conditions like arthritis, gastritis, colitis, encephalitis, and any other conditions ending in ‘itis
- Autoimmune conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, MS, ALS, Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s, Ulcerative colitis, Diabetes mellitus type I, alopecia
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Diabetes mellitus type II or metabolic syndrome
- Lyme disease or other chronic infectious problem
- And emotional trauma OR physical trauma
Functional medicine is an essential approach for anybody who does not have a diagnosed condition but feels that they are more tired or stressed than they used to be, aren’t sleeping well, feel that their memory or attention has worsened, are in pain, have weight gain or have digestive issues for no apparent reason.
Visit A Functional Medicine Doctor Near You
If you have been told by your doctor that everything is ‘normal’ even though it doesn’t feel that way or if you are interested in prevention or maintenance to optimize health and prevent future problems you are a great candidate for functional medicine.
At Neurvana Naturopath Medicine, your top choice for functional medicine near you in Calgary, we work with the underlying terrain that is causing issues which is NOT typically a quick fix. Usually, significant changes can take months to years. Because we take years to get ‘sick’, it can take several years to get better as well. With that being said, since we are fixing the causes, positive changes are more long-lasting and progressive once they begin.
Our Functional Medicine clinic practitioners in Calgary are highly trained and certified to practice Functional Medicine. Please contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our practitioners or if you have any questions. (403) 768-3407
“After hitting a low point in my health in 2020, I made the commitment to dig deeper to find the root causes of my accumulating health problems. I made an appointment with Dr. Corey and for the first time, I felt no doubt that I would be taken care of and was on the right path. After just 3 months of treatment, I have noticed significant changes in my health that have benefited all areas of my life. Several friends and family members have noticed the shift in my energy and mood. I’m looking forward to seeing the results once I complete my full treatment plan. I feel so grateful to the team at Neurvana and hope that others are inspired to see if it could be a fit for them.”
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