Functional Medicine

The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness.

It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.

By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual.

As a Functional Medicine practitioner and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Dr. Conan Shaw blends his over 25 years of clinical experience into a personally tailored health program for your individual needs. Patients seek his help in becoming healthy enough to discontinue the need for prescription medications, to understand and overcome a disease model, to regain control of their lives from stress, to battle debilitating and complex forms of auto-immunity or to fine-tune subtle health imbalances.

Where is the root of the problem and how do we start healing? Let’s tackle it!— Dr. Conan Shaw  Functional Medicine, Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Pittsburgh PA

Gene-Environment Interaction: Functional Medicine is based on understanding the metabolic processes of each individual at the cellular level. By knowing how each person’s genes and environment interact to create their unique biochemical phenotype, it is possible to design targeted interventions that correct the specific issues that lead to destructive processes such as inflammation and oxidation, which are at the root of many diseases.

Upstream Signal Modulation: Functional Medicine interventions seek to influence biochemical pathways “upstream” and prevent the overproduction of damaging end products, rather than blocking the effects of those end products. For example, instead of using drugs that block the last step in the production of inflammatory mediators (NSAIDs, etc.), Functional Medicine treatments seek to prevent the upregulation of those mediators in the first place.

Multimodal Treatment Plans: The Functional Medicine approach uses a broad range of interventions to achieve optimal health including diet, nutrition, exercise and movement; stress management; sleep and rest, phytonutrient, nutritional and pharmaceutical supplementation; and various other restorative and reparative therapies. These interventions are all tailored to address the antecedents, triggers, and mediators of disease or dysfunction in each individual patient.

Understanding the Patient in Context: Functional Medicine uses a structured process to uncover the significant life events of each patient’s history to gain a better understanding of who they are as an individual. IFM tools (the “Timeline” and the “Matrix” model) are integral to this process for the role they play in organizing clinical data and mediating clinical insights. This approach to the clinical encounter ensures that the patient is heard, engenders the therapeutic relationship, expands therapeutic options, and improves the collaboration between patient and clinician.

Systems Biology-Based Approach: Functional Medicine uses systems biology to understand and identify how core imbalances in specific biological systems can manifest in other parts of the body. Rather than an organ systems-based approach, Functional Medicine addresses core physiological processes that cross anatomical boundaries including assimilation of nutrients, cellular defense and repair, structural integrity, cellular communication and transport mechanisms, energy production, and biotransformation. The “Functional Medicine Matrix” is the clinician’s key tool for understanding these network effects and provides the basis for the design of effective multimodal treatment strategies.

Patient-Centered and Directed: Functional Medicine practitioners work with the patient to find the most appropriate and acceptable treatment plan to correct, balance, and optimize the fundamental underlying issues in the realms of mind, body, and spirit. Beginning with a detailed and personalized history, the patient is welcomed into the process of exploring their story and the potential causes of their health issues. Patients and providers work together to determine the diagnostic process, set achievable health goals, and design an appropriate therapeutic approach.

Functional Medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.

As the graphic illustrates, a diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause. For example, depression can be caused by many different factors, including inflammation. Likewise, a cause such as inflammation may lead to a number of different diagnoses, including depression. The precise manifestation of each cause depends on the individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and only treatments that address the right cause will have lasting benefit beyond symptom suppression.

Have any questions? Call Dr. Conan now!

Dr. Conans 7 Pillars of Health

When the foundations of health are strong, the body has an amazing ability to heal. As a clinician, with over 20 years of experience, I have identified the following seven principles, or pillars, of health that I use as a basis to promote health and healing.


What does your unique, biochemical fingerprint look like? What I consider to be a primary pillar of health is individualized, optimized biochemistry. As a clinical nutritionist, I evaluate a patient’s unique needs for clinical support from vitamin therapies that are required to maintain or achieve health. Before I evaluate a patient for clinical imbalances, I will start by asking a number of questions about the more fundamental pillars of health listed below.


Are you properly hydrated? How much do you weigh and how many ounces of water do you drink per day? Do you consume caffeinated products or alcohol that will interfere with proper cellular hydration? Start by trying to drink 40% of your body weight in ounces of water a day and work your way up to a goal of 50% of your body weight in ounces.


Do you exercise? How often and with what intensity and duration do you exercise? If you don’t exercise, start with something simple like 20 minutes, three times a week and slowly build yourself up. Exercise, in today’s reality, can be found in hundreds of forms most of which have redeeming health benefits.


How many hours of restful sleep do you get every night? Is it easy to fall sleep? Is it easy to stay asleep? Do you have dreams? When you wake in the morning are you tired or rested? Everyone’s sleep requirements are different, but the minimum I would consider for any individual would be seven restful hours of uninterrupted sleep.


How is your mood? A positive mental attitude is an important pillar in overall health. Are you optimistic? Does stress seem to distract you from finding balance on a regular basis? Do you have hobbies or activities that bring you pleasure and joy at least on a weekly basis? Where do you fall on the “I love myself “scale?


Are you experiencing pain? Pain changes the biochemistry of the human body to a compromised and imbalanced system. Identify where your pain comes from and address the root of that concern to allow the body a chance for healing.


How clean is your diet? Is your diet filled with processed, refined foods similar to the Standard American Diet (SAD)? Or, are you eating whole foods often enough to promote healing in your body. Have you identified any foods that may be good for health in general but do not agree with your system? Food sensitivity elimination is considered to be very important to allow the body to heal.

Often, small adjustments to each of these pillars of health can allow the body to be in the position to start healing on its own.

Call (724) 778-3000 today and schedule an evaluation with our expert team and let’s get you on track to “Renewing Your Health”

Have any questions? Call Dr. Conan now!

Questions & Answers

Your First Office Visit

At your initial face to face consultation with Dr. Shaw, an experienced Pittsburgh Nutrition Counselor, you will go through a complete medical history and exam, followed by an exploration of your health-related goals and concerns. Blood work and diagnostic tests will be ordered at this visit. The focus is placed on answering:

  • What is your diagnosis?
  • Can you be helped?
  • How long will it take?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How much improvement should you expect?

Treatment Plans

After all of your information has been gathered (history, exam, and in some cases blood work or other lab tests), an office visit will be scheduled to outline your treatment plan. This second visit is designed to educate you about your health and specific disease risks.

It consists of a detailed discussion on what the right diet is for you and how that diet change coupled with nutritional intervention will correct your health concerns and change your life positively.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Please complete and bring the “New Patient Confidential Information Form“.

If you are currently taking any medications, supplements or have any allergies, please fill out and complete the “Medications / Supplements / Allergies Questionnaire“.

Also, if you have any recent blood or lab results or medical diagnosis reports, please bring a copy of them to your appointment.

How long are appointments?

Appointment times vary according to different health histories and conditions but an average initial consult is 30-40 minutes long.

The treatment plan visit is 30 minutes but can vary according to your medical conditions. Follow up visits are 30 minutes.

We require a 24-hour cancellation notice for scheduled appointments to allow those on our waiting list the opportunity to get in for care sooner.

You will be charged for scheduled “no-show” visits. Thank You!

Getting to Our Office

Dr. Shaw’s office is conveniently located near I-79, Route 19 and the PA Turnpike. Detailed directions may be printed here.

Dr. Conan Shaw
667 Castle Creek DriveSeven Fields, PA 16046

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What Conditions do you treat?

Patients come to Pittsburgh Functional Medicine Practitioner and Nutritionist Dr. Conan Shaw’s clinic for a variety of reasons (ie. women’s health, heart disease, weight loss, Lyme disease, mold illness, migraines and much more. You can visit this page to get a detailed list of conditions we treat.

What Conditions don't you treat?

We are not a primary care practice. Dr. Shaw’s background is in Functional Medicine Clinical Nutrition practice with a focus on Functional Medicine. His strength lies in applying peer-reviewed & accepted nutritional methods to complex chronic health problems for correction. Dr. Shaw may complement but cannot and will not replace your current primary care physician.

Does insurance cover nutrition counseling and vitamins?

Many insurance plans have coverage for nutritional counseling. Patients can either refer to their plan documentation or call their insurance company to verify coverage for nutrition counseling services. In addition to coverage, patients may want to inquire about the percentage is that is covered, any plan maximums, and if a deductible applies. Vitamins and supplements are not covered by health or prescription insurance.

Are nutrition counseling and vitamins allowable expenses under Health Saving Accounts?

Patients with an HSA or Health Savings Account, can inquire about submitting receipts for acceptance by their HSA. In these cases, Dr. Shaw will provide a letter outlining treatment in the office and your medical supervision and clinical relevance for care. With this letter, both nutritional counseling office visits and vitamin therapies can be submitted to your HSA for review.

What if blood work or other lab tests are needed?

If blood work or other lab tests are needed to confirm a working diagnosis Dr. Shaw can order the necessary tests. Patients should call their insurance provider to confirm the tests are covered and the insurance company will guide them to the lab that the insurance prefers the patient use. Usually all of the blood work ordered by Dr. Shaw is covered.

Payment for Services / Insurance or HSA Submission

Payment is due upon receipt of services (office visits and consults) or upon the purchase of vitamins and supplements. If you chose to submit receipts for your nutritional care to either your insurance company or HSA for re-imbursement, Dr. Shaw will provide you with the proper form(s) and documentation. These forms will only need to be signed by the patient/insured individual and forwarded to your carrier. Please refer to office pricing page for any questions on prices for office visits.

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If you did not find an answer to your question, simply complete the form below and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Have any questions? Call Dr. Conan now!


Make an Inquiry

Call (724) 778-3000 today and schedule an evaluation with our expert team and let’s get you on track to “Renewing Your Health”
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