We are humans and, as humans, we are designed to eat human food. Yet, a large part of the standard American diet does not truly qualify as human food. Consider this… when a foreign particle (ie “not food”) enters your body (such as a splinter in your finger, bacteria in your food, a marble swallowed by a child, etc) your system mounts an inflammatory/immune response which, either expels the foreign matter directly from your body or kills, absorbs and expels the remains. Either way, your body has treated this “not-food” as something potentially dangerous and has reacted accordingly. However, too much of this inflammatory/immune reaction in the body will throw your system out of balance, potentially leading to illness. (For example, the latest research is showing that this reaction is actually responsible for your body laying down cholesterol to line the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol lining is the body’s method of reducing arterial damage caused by chronic inflammation.)
Discovering just what you should and should not put into your body to avoid these reactions is critical. Dr. Hill likes to discuss “food vs. not food” and teaches her patients to identify what the body treats as food and what the body treats as “not food.” This basic understanding can have a huge impact on the health and quality of life of everyone!
Additionally, Dr. Hill works with patients to identify their unique health needs and develops individualized nutrition and supplement programs to optimize health. When the body is supported in this way, it has the amazing ability to heal itself and prevent future illness.
(From the American Board of Functional Medicine)
What makes a functional medicine practitioners effective?
Every patient is unique – Every patient is biochemically different, these variations can be simple or quite complex. Western medicine has struggled to find a ‘one size fits all’ treatment for conditions. However not all symptoms are of the same etiology. While the symptoms can be categorized and compartmentalized, routing out the etiology is where the functional medicine physician shines brightest.
Treat the patient not the disease – So many physicians and patients refer to the disease and not the person with the symptom. One might say that “He’s diabetic”. Each patient is unique and because of this, the greatest gift we can give a patient is to understand the cause of their reactive disorder. Find out how this patient’s biochemistry isn’t being supported.
Homeodynamics – This is physiology 101 and yet many physicians fail at appreciating the intricate balance of negative feedback in the body. Since the 1920s, western medicine has adopted very short sighted treatments that do not ta
ke into consideration the basic homeodynamics of the patient. This leads to misdiagnosis of many patients. In 2007, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that as much as 50% of diagnosis and treatments are incorrect in the US.
Pro-Active Care – The idea of prevention in functional medicine is not merely catch the disease early, it is truly based on the vital capacity of the body to prevent the disease in the first place. When the biochemistry of the body is supported, it works amazingly well; when the biochemistry of the body is not supported or is interfered with, reactive conditions begin to manifest. Functional Medicine is compelled to ensure that nutritional biochemistry is provided while minimizing toxic exposure to interfering compounds.
Organocentric – Human are one of the few species that find it difficult to live 10 times longer than their age of puberty. The body is designed to live 120 years, yet most Americans are finding it difficult to live past 60. Functional medicine is profoundly considerate of the idea that the patient is only as good as their organs. Just one organ failure can terminate the patient’s life, longevity, or happiness. We are all going to die, but we sure want to feel great till the end.
Happier Doctors, healthier patients!
Imagine a world where 80% of patients are not just chronically managed, where the national healthcare system isn’t ranked 37th in the world, where up to 90% of bankruptcies weren’t due to unpaid medical bills, where 1 out of 2 Americans didn’t die of heart disease, 1 out of 2 didn’t achieve cancer, 1 out of 3 didn’t die of cancer, 1 out of 6 didn’t die of diabetes, where the healthcare costs of a company’s employees wouldn’t bankrupt one of the largest corporations in the world.
Many physicians are sick and tired of not feeling like they are helping patients, not trained well enough to understand the etiology of disease, and not seeing the success they felt medicine provided. Functional medicine has provided a beacon of hope to these physicians and health care practitioners. All over the country medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, dieticians, nurses and physician assistants are seeking out more and more education on functional medicine and how to apply it in clinical practice. They see the success it brings, come join them.