Are you considering dipping your toe in the pool of Functional medicine? Are you debating the pros and cons? I know what it’s like – because I’ve been there myself.
Are you standing at the precipice (or hover your mouse over the “Book an appointment” button) wondering… is this really worth it?
Functional medicine is a big commitment of time, energy, effort and money.
And while I’m happy to tell you how it changed my life, healed my family, and was 100% worth it for me… today let’s talk about if it’s right for you.
The Pros and Cons of Western Medicine
A big myth is that functional medicine looks down on Western medicine practices.
Western medicine is vitally important and great for crisis management. For example, if you cut your finger open chopping veggies for dinner, please don’t wait for your next functional medicine appointment. Get yourself to a hospital!
But when it comes to chronic health conditions – like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, heart disease, autism, depression, and more – many people find that the Western approach’s focus on symptom management leaves them feeling unheard and worse than when they started symptom management medicine.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, the prospect of living with it (and using various medications with side effects to “manage” it forever more) can be incredibly disheartening.
Many people also find their way to functional medicine because they’re seeking a “whole-body approach” that considers any dysfunction in the body in light of the bigger picture of overall health. Because Western medicine usually divides specialties by body part or system – i.e. cardiologists, endocrinologists, OB/GYN, etc. – it can feel like no one doctor is considering your overall health when making recommendations.
What Functional Medicine Does Differently
Fortunately, Functional Medicine really shines when it comes to reversing chronic disease and conditions that Western medicine can only seek to manage.
Functional Medicine provides patients a medical model that is personalized and offers root cause resolution.
The root of all disease in inflammation, so Functional Medicine practitioners are on a hunt for what causes inflammation. As Dr. Nathan Morris says, MD stands for “Medical Detective,” searching for what causes inflammation (the root causes) that ultimately creates your symptoms.
A Functional Medicine provider takes into consideration the four major sources of inflammation (root causes) when answering a patient’s question “What is causing my symptoms?
- Emotional trauma and ongoing stress
- Diet and eating habits
- Hidden Sources of Inflammation – such as gut pathogens (fungi, bacteria, viruses, parasites), heavy metals, chemicals, and mold toxin exposure
Functional Medicine providers create personalized care plans based on the insight provided by the patient’s environment, vulnerabilities in their genetic blueprint and diagnostic labs that determine the sources of inflammation.
Instead of drugs, they prescribe personalized nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes, including the mental, emotional, and spiritual components to healing.
And it works! Patients and their Functional Medicine providers are now proving that even once thought “dead-end diagnoses” like autism, cognitive decline, autoimmune disease, and depression no longer need to be “managed” but can actually be reversed.
What Holds People Back From Functional Medicine?
Addressing the root cause of inflammation and healing from chronic disease sounds great…. So why aren’t more people turning to Functional Medicine for help?
On one hand, you want to heal the root causes and on the other hand…
There’s so much information, how do I know what’s right for me?
Where do I even begin? How do I make my efforts effective, reasonable, and sustainable when I don’t feel like I have enough time in the day or enough energy to get out of bed?
How do I make so many changes and go counter culture when I don’t feel well and especially without disrupting my family and our traditions?
Plus, it’s expensive!! How can I afford this?
And all that can leave you wondering if Functional Medicine is really worth the time and effort. The overwhelm might leave you frozen in place, not sure what your next step should be.
Is Functional Medicine Right For You?
The simple answer is that Functional Medicine is right for everyone – because there is no one way to use Functional Medicine.
One of the core tenets of Functional Medicine is personalized medicine.
Your Functional Medicine practitioner won’t just prescribe tons of lifestyle changes and supplements and leave you to figure out the rest.
Instead, they will consider your health in its entirety which includes your physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual readiness and current ability.
Then, you’ll engage in what we call a mutual participatory model – which simply means you and your provider are equal partners with the same goal: creating a reasonable, personalized plan for maximizing your health and happiness.
Together, you will consider:
- What is within your current financial threshold? (both money and time investment)
- What changes do you have sufficient motivation to implement?
- Since Lifestyle changes are essentially skill development, what changes are within your current ability so you can build upon success and build confidence?
- Your family relationships and needs.
You will create a care plan that reflects all of that, gives you a clear path forward, and most importantly – addresses the root causes of disease and creates long-term health and healing, not just disease management.
PS – Not quite there yet? No problem.
- If you still have mixed feelings, the recommended next step is to list the pros and cons. In order to feel confident to get started on your Functional Medicine journey the pros (benefits) must outweigh the cons (costs).
- Download this Decision Balance PDF to list the ‘benefits of symptom management’ and ‘costs of symptom management’. Then list the ‘benefits of root cause resolution’ and ‘costs of root cause resolution’.
This will allow you to brainstorm and identify, ‘YES,’ this is the action I want to take or to recognize that at this time in your life the perceived costs are too much and you are not ready to make the investment associated with the root cause resolution change.