When I transitioned my practice from traditional primary care Internal Medicine to what it is now, my friends, family and acquaintances kept asking me, “now what do you do?” I went through a phase of labeling myself as holistic, naturopathic, complementary and still they didn’t understand. Finally as I thought about what I wanted to bring to the lives of my clients, it struck me that what was important to me in this part of my career was helping people get to the root of what ailed them. If I could do that, then relief from their malaise and dis-ease would be the expected outcome. The bandaid approach to helping people by treating their symptoms JUST DOESN’T WORK in the long run. So then I labeled myself as the “root doctor.”
Rather than a label, let me tell you what I do and why. But first let’s talk about this magnificent creation called the human body!
The human body is composed of 60-90 trillion cells, 78 organs and interconnected biochemical and physiologic systems that work together to produce what we feel and recognize as health and wellness. In other words your neurologic system composed of your brain cells, nerves and neurotransmitters work together with your cardiovascular system (heart, blood vessels, neurotransmitters) to produce a healthy pumping heart that sends blood to all parts of your body. Your gastrointestinal system (esophagus, stomach, intestines), which by the way is made from the same tissue developmentally that your brain came from, requires healthy blood flow from the heart and input from the nerves to function correctly. Those of you with irritable bowel know first hand the mind/body connection; your anxiety and nervousness sets into motion unpleasant and down right painful spasms that can bend your over!
Our current health care system seems to divide and divvy up the different parts of the body to specialist, who focus on one aspect of this incredible machine, to fix a symptom or problem that involves multiple body systems…no wonder it is so frustrating for many of you!
What I practice now is called functional medicine, a science based field of healthcare whose focus is PREVENTION of disease. It looks for underlying causes of “dis-ease” rather than symptoms. It is anchored in examination of CORE CLINICAL IMBALANCES that are the precursors or early signs of many of the diseases that are so plaguing this society. You know them, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity to name a few.
Here are the principles of Functional Medicine:
- The human body is an orchestrated network of interconnected systems
- Each human is unique with biochemical individuality (genetic and environmental individuality)
- Wellness is a balance between internal and external factors
- The focus is on PATIENT CARE vs. “disease care”
Learn more about Core Clinical Imbalances in the next post!