Why Functional Medicine?

No two people are alike in their genetic makeup, history or life experiences. We are each unique and different. Therefore, we require a health plan that is unique to address our differences. This is where Functional Medicine comes in. It’s a new approach to wellness care. A Functional Medicine practitioner is like a health detective gathering all the clues of your past such as where you were raised, your family condition, health history, traumatic events, and your current life such as environment and potential toxins around you, stress levels, social and spiritual life, relationships, diet (quantity & quality), exercise regimen, sleep habits and symptoms. 

Armed with this information, along with a physical exam and detailed diagnostic testing, Dr. Russell will work to uncover the where and why your body isn’t functioning correctly  (thus the name “functional medicine”). The focus is then on the underlying factors that are causing symptoms affecting your health. From here a treatment plan is determined that may or may not integrate western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “holistic” approaches like homeopaths, nutrition, supplements, detox programs, cranial sacral, raindrop therapy, stress-management techniques and exercise, among other things. 

Physical work may include energetic, emotional and neuro-updating techniques as well as non-traditional or traditional chiropractic, applied kinesiology and more. In Functional Medicine, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. So someone with the same symptoms or condition could likely have a different plan for healing. 

This approach differs vastly from the traditional western medical doctor approach in which they usually take note of your symptoms, bundle them together to conclude a diagnosis to then dictate your treatment. Therefore, someone with the same symptoms will very likely have the same treatment. This is valuable for conditions like trauma or acute health issues like an appendicitis attack or broken bone. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work when you’re trying to treat and prevent complex, chronic disease or illness—all of which are much more prevalent today than ever before. 

As illustrated in the adjacent graphic, diseases such as auto-immune, cancer, or fibromyalgia may be visible on the surface, but according to the Functional Medicine model, the cause lies in the altered physiology below. In almost every case, the cause of the disease and its symptoms is an underlying dysfunction, interference, deficiency, and/or imbalance of bodily systems.

Long-term relief and optimal health are rarely a result of health care. Think of it as putting a band-aid on your car's dashboard warning lights. On the other hand, identifying and treating the underlying root cause or causes, via Functional Medicine, has a much better chance of successfully resolving health challenges. Using scientific principles, advanced diagnostic testing, and treatments other than drugs or surgery, Functional Medicine restores balance in the body’s primary physiological processes. 

The seven basic principles of functional medicine:

  • Science-based medicine that connects the emerging research base to clinical practice.
  • Biochemical individuality based on genetic and environmental uniqueness.
  • Patient-centered care rather than disease-focused treatment.
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors that affect total functioning.
  • Web-like interconnections among the body's physiological processes also affect every aspect of functionality.
  • Health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease.
  • Promotion of organ reserve.