Written by Akiba Green DNM
As an alternative practitioner, with advanced training in several medical specialties, I see many patients who are frustrated with their own state of health – and worse – with the state of traditional healthcare. They have been labeled with one or more chronic diseases, but don’t want to just take drugs that mask symptoms with out addressing the cause.
Now, let me be clear, I am not against medicine. As a doctor of natural medicine, I work with other medical providers and refer frequently with them. But let’s also be honest with ourselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 60% of adults in America have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, 4 in 10 Americans have two or more chronic diseases and 1 in 2 Americans will get cancer in their lifetime.
I truly believe these statistics are unacceptable and I have dedicated my life to offering patients alternative approaches to supporting their health and beating these odds. That is why I practice in a profession called Functional Medicine. Some of you reading this may have heard of this as more and more doctors are receiving training in Functional Medicine. In fact 40,000+ medical and alternative providers in the United States have been trained in functional medicine to date through organizations associated with major medical colleges all over the United States.
Many of you may be asking what exactly is functional medicine and how is it different from regular medicine? In fact, this is a great question. Functional medicine’s focus is on correcting a body’s physiological function versus manipulating the problem with drugs or removing it with surgery. It focuses on looking at the whole body, not just individual systems or diagnoses, and in fact the primary goal of functional medicine is to find the underlying root causes of a patient’s health care problems.
Let’s say 10 different people visit a functional medicine practitioner with the same complaint, whether it is depression, low thyroid function, or fatigue. Each of those 10 people may have a different cause for the same health issue. For instance chronic stress may cause low thyroid symptoms in one person and an autoimmune disease may cause it in the next.
By having access to a variety of science-based lab tests, assessments, and in-office exams, the functional medicine practitioner looks at all these organ systems and helps identify the root causes of the patient’s underlying health problems.
I will touch on a couple of the tools the functional medicine practitioner will use to help improve the patients health here, but will go into greater detail in future articles and my hope is to simply educate you, the reader, to empower your health.
The functional medicine practitioner emphasizes changes to the patient’s diet and lifestyle, such as eating breakfast, proper sleep “hygiene” or cutting out foods that could be reactive to their immune system such as gluten in some individuals. The doctor will order science-based lab tests to spot trends toward disease before they become pathologies, identify disease processes missed by other providers and previous testing or help the body to correct imbalances that are already there. They will use vitamin and mineral supplements, botanicals or nutritional compounds to improve physiological function, with emphasis on correcting the underlying drivers of the condition and not just practicing “Green Medicine” where you replace a drug with a supplement, but don’t truly fix the root causes.
I hope this helps you to understand that there is another path you can take to improve your health. It is evidence based and scientific and offers an alternative to the existing status quo. I hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more or have questions, feel free to email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I plan on having (2) articles monthly in this publication and can’t wait to share more on how you can improve your health naturally!
Article written by Akiba Green DNM
Dr. Akiba J. Green is the type of doctor the chronic health sufferer is looking for. He is a doctor of natural medicine with advanced training in Anti-Aging Medicine and Integrative Medicine through the University of South Florida and George Washington University Schools of Medicine, is Fellowship trained in Integrative Cancer Therapy, holds advanced certificates in functional neurology and is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.
His clinic, Lake Norman Integrative Wellness, offers a natural option for treating chronic and hard to fix health conditions using an integrative approach combining functional medicine, nutritional therapy, advanced brain based therapies and naturopathic and energy medicine therapies.