Functional Medicine in Charlotte NC
(and by Telehealth everywhere else)
At Holistic Wellness Center, our institute for functional medicine, we provide medicine and therapies to address the underlying cause of disease. We do this through a holistic and integrative medicine approach in an organized 6 stepping stones on your path to wellness.
Our practitioners work with you one on one to create a unique medicine and treatment plan that addresses your specific needs.
If you are seeing a practitioner or health coach at our center, they will work to design a partnership centered on hope, care, discipline, and science, showing you first-hand that an accurate diagnosis and an individualized approach can do more than just make a little difference—it can resolve your health problems in both the short and long-term.
Why Functional Medicine is Becoming More Imperative
The rise in complex chronic illnesses and the largely unknown causes of disease requires a new medicine model and a new approach to health issues.
The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration. Physicians apply specific treatments like drugs or surgery to treat an immediate problem such as a broken leg, but complex chronic diseases are becoming more common in our society due to lifestyle changes. This makes it harder for a doctor accustomed solely to treating those with quick-fix problems because they have no experience dealing with these new illnesses.
Genetics factors & environmental influences as they relate to health can no longer be ignored.
With complex chronic diseases on the rise across all social classes, what will happen when your physician only knows how to deal with acute issues? Acute care medicine is often lacking when it comes to treating chronic disease because of outdated methods and tools that are incapable of considering an individual’s unique genetic makeup or analyzing factors like environmental exposure to toxins such as those found on plastic food containers—for this reason, functional medicine often utilizes detoxification programs.
Inadequate training leaves physicians underprepared to deal with complex, chronic diseases.
Not only does this lead to ineffective treatments for these illnesses in patients, but it also prevents doctors from implementing effective preventive measures such as nutrition and diet therapy.
Most medical professionals are not adequately trained in the assessment of underlying causes of complex, chronic disease or proper treatment strategies like nutritional counseling and exercise that would both address existing illness while preventing future ones. This is due largely to a lack of comprehensive instruction at university level schools across the country.
Most importantly though, the entire system itself fails at examining what aspects about today’s lifestyle contribute most directly—and adversely—to chronic diseases.
The gap between research making waves in basic sciences and its integration into medical practice is enormous: a fifty years long timeline! Thankfully, there is hope for patients suffering from chronic and autoimmune-related illnesses.
Health care plans need to be geared towards uncovering the root causes of disease.
Functional Medicine in a Nutshell
The goal of functional medicine is to address a person’s underlying imbalances that are perpetuating their health challenges and chronic illness.
Functional medicine recognizes the importance of addressing the body as a whole and emphasizes how all facets of lifestyle influence health. The focus is not only on nutrition but also exercise, sleep habits, environmental exposures, stress management, spirituality and emotional well being—the things that make us feel alive!
Functional medicine provides patients with individualized plans for prevention and treatment designed around strengthening each patient’s unique bio-individuality in order to restore balance at our genetic core. This guarantees the best medicine for each patient and future generations.
Functional medicine, also called alternative medicine or integrated medicine, encompasses an investigative approach in which specialists seek not only to identify triggers for disease but also decipher how genetic variation interacts with those exposures.
A key aspect of functional medicine is its attention to detail regarding standard medical care—doctors are encouraged to take detailed patient histories and use laboratory tests and blood tests that analyze liver function, hormone levels, markers such as C-reactive protein that can help detect inflammation, and many other information. These are measured over the timeline of the patient's treatment in order to ensure the tools, science, and overall discipline is giving the patient what he or she needs.
Problems & Treatments Relevant in Functional Medicine
Areas of medicine where functional medicine is used include:
chronic disease treatment, prevention of illness, and overall wellness.
Our patient centered approach includes therapeutic programs based on the latest clinical studies and takes into account the medical history, genetic makeup, lifestyle, and environmental conditions of the patient.
Functional medicine doctors favor increased use of nutritional supplements and medicine as one tool in the practice to achieve optimal health for their patients.
Functional medicine practitioners believe poor nutrition is a root cause of many diseases, including obesity. The use of individualized nutritional medicine programs includes the use of functional medicine supplements in accordance with each individual's needs—if a patient is lacking in one or more areas of nutrition, functional medicine practitioners can provide them what they need to restore balance to their body.
Functional medicine practitioners recommend a specific diet, supplementation, and exercise programs tailored to each individual patient's needs—it is not a one-size-fits-all approach, nor is there an identical timeline of treatment for each patient.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, founding chairman of functional medicine at Cleveland Clinic, "My goal in medicine is to help provide a way to navigate and sort through health information based on an entirely new way of thinking about health and disease. I want to find the right treatment for each person, regardless of what that treatment might be. If a medicine is the best treatment, I will choose that; if a change in diet, supplements, herbs, or lifestyle works best, then I will choose that. We must learn to treat the person, not the disease; the system, not just the symptoms. This is personalized medicine, the medicine of the future.”
At its core, functional medicine is a model designed to restore health by addressing the underlying causes of disease. It’s about taking a careful look at all the factors that make up a person—including environmental and psychological (mental illness) as well as medical factors. It’s not just about medicine or surgery.
In our free call, we'll learn more about you.
You can ask us any questions that you may have.
If we're a good fit for each other, we'll help you book the initial practitioner appointment.
This call usually takes about 15 minutes.
Autoimmune Diseases & the Unique Role in Which Functional Medicine Can Help
An autoimmune disorder is an illness caused by the body's defense system attacking healthy cells. The immune response can be triggered either because of certain infections or environmental triggers like pollution and toxins in food, water, and air.
Autoimmune disorders are more common than you might think—roughly 10% of men and 25% of women suffer from one autoimmune disorder to some degree, and that number may increase depending on if they have a family history with autoimmunity (which can lead into functional medicine's role in family medicine) as well as other risk factors such as obesity, smoking cigarettes, and drinking alcohol excessively.
Symptoms of autoimmune disorders typically include:
- Fatigue that does not ease after sleep
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety & depression
- Brain fog
- Skin rashes
- Digestive problems
- Weight gain or loss
Conventional Medicine Treatments for Autoimmune Disorders
The conventional approach for autoimmune disorders is the suppression of the immune system with steroids and other immunosuppressive drugs, which can include Humira or chemotherapy agents that act as immune system modulators.
At Holistic Wellness, we have seen thousands who have been misdiagnosed due to the inadequacies of the popular medicine model that fails to uncover the root cause of illness.
What's more, once someone develops an autoimmune condition, it's 25-50% more likely they will develop another—this means a patient can't be diagnosed until their first symptom presents itself. Some patients don't get treatment because many healthcare specialists just want the fastest course of action that will cause a mere dampening or mitigation of symptoms, rather than solving the patient's conditions at the root cause.
How Functional Medicine Offers Superior Care for Each Individual
Functional medicine in closer to what could be called "traditional medicine" and addresses the first 2 questions outlined above—what is the biological disturbance and how did it get started—by first providing an accurate diagnosis.
Moving to the 3rd question—what do we need to do to move forward—functional medicine provides a comprehensive treatment plan that is tailored to the individual. This doesn't mean just medicine—it includes:
- Environmental medicine, and
- Other lifestyle factors, as well as pharmaceuticals that will work for each patient.
Functional medicine physicians are trained in how to use functional medicine to most effectively treat patients with chronic conditions. Functional medicine requires a team approach including physicians, physician assistants, dietitians and other functional medicine specialists who all contribute their expertise to delivering the best possible care for each patient. The integrative nature of functional medicine means that these different areas of practice can be brought together under one roof to create a seamless experience for patients—getting results quickly and preventing problems before they start.