Functional medicine provides a deeper dive into your heath. Looking “under the hood” past the surface-level symptoms, functional physicians provide a drug-free alternative treatment and approach to health.
What is Functional Medicine?
Just like it sounds, functional medicine focused on how the body functions. Each person’s body works differently. There is no ‘one size fits’ all solution.
Functional medicine is a branch of medicine that treats the whole individual - addressing the root cause of disease. It focuses on treating the entire individual, rather than a cluster of symptoms. To better understand functional medicine, it helps to compare it to conventional medicine.
Conventional medicine and western medicine is the standard model of care. The western medically-trained doctor is taught to diagnose the disease and prescribe drugs or hormones as the go-to therapeutic tool. Conventional medicine sometimes falls short in that it diagnoses too early without looking “under the hood.”
“Healthcare as we know it is not health care, but sick care.”
- Pete Martinez, Chairman and CEO of Game Changer Tec LLC
So much of conventional medicine deals with dysfunction or disease. When working at a hospital as a volunteer, I overheard a doctor say to a nurse: “Oh, you’re looking for Melvin? Yeah, he’s the ulcer in room 102.”
The problem is real! The doctor did not look at the individual. His name wasn’t Melvin, but a faulty body part. Unfortunately, this is the thinking used in most medical school programs.
Four Benefits to Functional Medicine
- More Time Spent With Patient. There's no one-size-fits-all treatment in functional medicine. So instead of immediately going for the common treatments for a particular set of symptoms, your practitioners will take an in-depth look at the bigger picture of your health before recommending a treatment.
- Science-Based. Functional medicine is based on current research and is practiced by all kinds of doctors, from M.D.s and D.O.s to chiropractors and naturopaths.
- Drug-Free, Minimal Side-Effects. Your body has the ability to heal. Food, exercise and lifestyle changes are pivotal to this, and don’t require habit-forming prescription drugs.
- A Variety of Tools Available. Functional Physician Sandy Ziya has a variety of modalities at her disposal, including acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy, cupping, injectables, Chinese herbals, nutritional consulting and psychological coaching. In addition, she uses blood analysis to see if there are underlying deficiencies and neurological tests to see if you had any past traumas or balance issues.
“I am a Functional Physician first. And one of the modalities that I use is the needle. I have other modalities as well; and I can use them in tandem. Other treatments besides the needle are laser therapy, cupping (moving cupping, fire cupping, magnetic cupping), and other modalities.
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all. What worked in April, may not work in May. The goal is to educate the client as to why I’m doing these treatments. We spend time and enter into a beautiful dialogue. We touch upon the emotional and psycho emotional. These are the questions and the digging that has to occur in a holistic practice. At the end of the day, your doctor should listen to you, deeply and carefully.” - Sandy Ziya
Want to learn more about Dr. Sandy Ziya's Functional Medicine practice and her journey towards helping people live a pain-free, more healthy life? Watch her Ready Set Go Beyond interview and listen to her Yin Yoga Lifestyle Radio interview.
Dr. Sandy Ziya offers nutritional consultations.
A Case Study: Is it depression or something else?
Sally has an emotional tantrum at school and gets in a fight with a classmate. The principal, parents, and school counselor all get involved. A psychiatrist is called in to talk to her. After a 40-minute session, the psychiatrist finds that Sally qualifies under the general umbrella term for “depression.” A pharmaceutical drug is prescribed, and she takes these pills, as recommended - potentially for the rest of her life.
What is the problem?
The problem is that the psychiatrist’s work is done. The symptom for depression is “cured,” Sally stops getting into fights, and even reports having a happier mood. However, she spent only 40 minutes with the psychiatrist and may have received a superficial diagnosis. Those pills she’s taking come with side-effects that she will feel immediately, and well into adulthood.
Where is the problem?
The depression could be caused by any variety of conditions. A Functional Physician will spend more time with the patient, and attempt to get to the root of the issue. The Functional Physician might discover that Sally has one of the following:
- Experienced a traumatic brain injury as a child
- ingested toxic amounts of mercury in a recent visit to a foreign country
- a troubled GI tract
The Functional Physician would then work up a course of treatments that might vary in modalities from day to day, or week to week, or month to month. The ultimate goal would be to fix the underlying issue - not just treat the symptoms.