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 20 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!
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.