I’ve spent many hours of my life, both as a patient and a medical provider, wishing for a healthcare option that combined the best of science, healing, and natural medicine. Something that speaks to and harnesses the countless factors involved in our health. That gives us more options than pills, surgery, and costly interventions. And which actually creates health and vitality over the long haul.
What I didn’t know for many years—and what most people don’t realize—that already exists! Many great healthcare providers are out there offering effective, whole-person approaches to health and healing. Most exciting of all, this approach to practicing medicine is starting to catch on and is becoming more widely available.
You’ll hear it under a variety of names–holistic medicine, integrative medicine, and functional medicine. This varied, and sometimes confusing, vocabulary reflects the host of changes underway in medicine as patients continue to ask for higher quality, more inclusive health care options. Many of the terms can be used interchangeably or mean different things to different people. So it’s important to ask individual providers what tools they use and how they approach patient care directly.
The approach I use is founded in Functional Medicine. It focuses on the whole person, not just a set of symptoms. It integrates the most current genetic, nutritional, and biochemical research with best medical practices, and patient centered care to offer an incredibly effective path the wellness.
At Luminary we look at the interactions between genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that powerfully influence an individual’s health over their lifespan. And then we work together with our clients to find ways to positively impact those factors. We use nutrition and natural approaches first, and then integrate conventional medicine treatments and referrals where needed. Functional medicine is participatory–meaning both the patient and provider are empowered and actively working to help them achieve their highest level of health. In this way it honors and supports the unique expression of vitality in each individual.
What is most striking though–it actually works. The results are stunning. And there is no better feeling, as someone who has the honor of supporting people’s health, than to watch them heal and thrive.
Here are the top 5 reasons I use Functional Medicine for my patients, my family, and myself:
1. It reflects the latest scientific research.
- After all my education in science and medicine, it is extremely important to me that what I am offering patients actually works and is evidence based. An incredibly talented group of doctors, scientists, nutritionists and naturopaths collaborated to create and evolve this model over many years. And it is founded on the most current genetic, nutritional, biochemical, and clinical research. It also intelligently addresses the limitations of scientific research, which is equally important.
2. It emphasizes empowerment and a patient centered approach.
- The approach focuses on the individual, and empowers both practitioner and patient to create a true therapeutic relationship. In functional medicine we create a space where not only healing, but also thriving can occur. Which takes, you guessed it, time. It’s not something we can do very well in a 15 minute appointment. So we spend more time with our patients and work with them to make changes that will last.
3. It’s personalized and individualized—just like each person.
- Functional medicine tosses out the one size fits all approach. Each of us has a unique set of genes and environmental inputs that affect our health. So our healthcare should reflect that.
4. It uses nutrition, lifestyle modifications, and a natural approach whenever possible.
- Food, physical activity, our relationships and support systems, sleep and the way we handle stress have a massive impact on our wellbeing. And not only that, these factors are often the root of health problems. By addressing them we see a huge reduction in symptoms and increase in health. And yet we can also use all the conventional medicine tools when appropriate.
5. It empowers us to reach for our highest expression of health, not merely the absence of disease.
- Functional medicine flips the disease focused paradigm of conventional medicine on it’s head and asks the question: how we can help each person to thrive and feel vital beyond just getting rid of diseases and symptoms?
Learn more about the Functional Medicine movement at www.functionalmedicine.org
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