In recent years, a new branch of medicine has been gaining popularity: functional medicine. Functional medicine is a type of care that focuses on identifying and treating the root cause of disease, rather than simply managing symptoms. If you’re considering whether or not functional medicine is right for you, it’s important to understand how it works and what it can do for you. In this week’s blog, we’ll cover the basics of functional medicine and help you decide if it’s the right type of care for you.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a branch of medical science that looks at the root cause of disease. It takes into account the whole person, their lifestyle, environment and genetic background when diagnosing and treating illness. This approach to medicine is becoming more popular as people become more aware of the need to address the whole person, not just their symptoms. Functional medicine can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, both chronic and acute. Rather than focusing on treating individual symptoms, functional medicine practitioners work to identify and address the underlying root causes of disease.

Functional medicine is based on the principle that all systems in the body are connected and that imbalances in one system can lead to problems in other systems. For example, an imbalance in the gut microbiome (the community of bacteria that live in the gut) has been linked to a wide range of chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. If you experience childhood trauma, that can lead to imbalances in the brain that increase your risk for anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders.

The Functional Medicine Matrix

Functional medicine practitioners use the Functional Medicine Matrix to guide their approach to care. The matrix is a tool that helps practitioners identify the underlying causes of disease and design individualized treatment plans.

The matrix includes six key areas:

-Diet and nutrition

-Gut health


-Stress management


-Hormone health

These six areas are interconnected, and imbalances in one area can lead to problems in another. For example, poor sleep can contribute to gut problems, and chronic stress can lead to hormone imbalances. By taking a comprehensive approach to care, functional medicine practitioners can help you restore balance in all areas of health.

What Does Functional Medicine Treat?

Functional medicine can be used to treat a wide range of chronic conditions, including:

-Autoimmune diseases

-Digestive disorders

-Mood disorders


-Hormonal imbalances

-Skin conditions

-Weight problems

If you have any of these conditions, functional medicine may be right for you. The goal of treatment is to restore balance in the body and improve overall health, rather than simply treating individual symptoms. If you’re considering whether or not to see a functional medicine physician, we have listed 10 reasons why it may be the right fit for you.


1.     You want longer appointments.

Functional medicine appointments are usually longer than traditional doctor’s appointments. This allows your practitioner to get to know you and your health history in depth, and it gives you ample time to ask questions and discuss your concerns.

2.     You want personalized care

Functional medicine practitioners take a personalized approach to care. They will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs and health goals. There is not a one sized fit all approach in functional medicine. In fact, each treatment plan is unique, just like each individual.

3.     You want a partner in health.

Functional medicine practitioners view their patients as partners in care. If you’re looking for a collaborative relationship with your physician, functional medicine may be right for you.

4.     You are willing to do the homework at home.

Functional medicine is not a quick fix, and it requires commitment and effort on your part. If you’re willing to make lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthier diet or exercising more, functional medicine may be right for you. Some modalities take time to show results as well. So, it’s important to be patient and understand that this is a journey, not a sprint. If you are simply looking for a pill to fix your health problems, functional medicine is not for you.

5.     You Suffer from Auto-Immune Conditions

Functional medicine is an excellent choice for those who suffer from auto-immune conditions. If you have an auto-immune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, or psoriasis, functional medicine may be right for you. These conditions are often caused by inflammation, and functional medicine practitioners are experts in managing inflammation.

6.     You understand it is an investment.

Functional medicine focuses on prevention, so tests are often used to identify imbalances before they become disease. Functional medicine practitioners often use advanced testing, such as food sensitivity testing or hormone testing, to help identify the root cause of symptoms. This may mean that you may have to pay for some tests out of pocket as insurance does not cover the advanced testing, longer appointments, and therapies used in functional medicine. In fact, most providers are cash based, meaning they do not accept insurance. However, many insurance companies are starting to cover functional medicine testing. If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider seeing a provider who can provide a super bill, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement.

7.     You want your concerns heard.

Have you ever been to the doctor with concerns and your labs are “in range”? You leave with a clean bill of health but you’re still not feeling great. In functional medicine, we understand that your concerns and symptoms are just as important as what shows up on a lab test. We take the time to listen to your story and connect the dots to find the root cause of your symptoms.

8.     You want to age well.

As we age, it’s important to maintain our health so that we can enjoy our later years. If you’re interested in aging well, functional medicine may be right for you. Functional medicine practitioners focus on preventive care, so they can help you avoid diseases that commonly occur as we age.

We are seeing people not just taking control of their own health and wellness, but we are also seeing the medical community taking a more personal approach to how they interact with patients. People are starting to realize that the only way for us all to be healthy is for everyone in our society to take responsibility for their own health and wellness by eating right, exercising, and doing the things that help us maintain good health. Many are now turning towards functional medicine in order to help them heal.


Institute for Human Optimization

We are seeing more a paradigm shift in healthcare.  At IfHO, we partner with you to become your health intelligence partner with the goal of optimizing your health. We accomplish this with our signature precision medicine approach. Our providers use a combination of therapies that are tailored to your specific needs with a health optimization goal. We believe that our Medical Team should make use of the latest scientific research to offer our patients personalized medicine, based on real data. We call this precision health and it is the future of healthcare.

Our focus is not only looking at the root cause, but also to measure, quantify and optimize the patient’s personal health. We take a preventative approach, personalized, and precise approach in helping our patients control their risk factors early on in order to avoid chronic illness down the road. Our team of medical providers use a comprehensive approach with every patient that comes into our office, looking at all aspects of health including lifestyle, environment and genetics. There are no generic one size fit all protocols. No two patients receive the  same treatment plan since we work with each individual to create a personalized plan. We empower our patients with the right tools and information, so they can take control of their own health. This is the future of longevity!

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