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  • Heather H. Christensen, PA-C

The New Medicine: Be a part of the Revolution

You can smell it.

The air is filled with it.

You're starting to see it in the headlines.


Guess again.

This January the biggest news is a new kind of medicine, Functional Medicine --the healthcare of the future.

Imagine a medical provider who listens, not only to your current complaint, but your whole life story and creates a timeline of your health, like a map, to help you discover the root cause of your illness. This provider is a guide to help you address the dysfunction at it's source and regain optimal function throughout the body by recognizing the complex relationship of the body as a whole.

A provider who offers you resources and support to help you learn healthy principles and implement them into your lifestyle. Someone who is watching for trends that may suggest changes you can make to prevent illness or injury. All the while, this person empowers you to create a health independent of medicines and without dependence on the medical system.

In many ways this medicine is not necessarily new, but draws upon healing philosophy of old or sometimes ancient origin. But in recent years (say the last 40 years), it has accelerated both in understanding and acceptance in the medical community. James Maskell calls it the Evolution of Medicine. I consider it a Revolution of Medicine.

Where some authorities pose resistance to a changing medicine, most practitioners today have seen the value in a different approach and appreciate it. The reason, perhaps, is because doctors see in Functional Medicine what they expected medicine to do - find out what is wrong, and restore health. Which, I believe, is what medicine set out to do, but somehow got lost. In the misdirection of limiting one's practice to a narrow scope, we lost the ability to see the whole picture.

The opening of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in 2016, was a sentinel moment demanding that contemporary medical practitioners start paying attention. What I believe will get their attention most is the results.

Where Functional Medicine far outshines the conventional method is in success with complex patients dealing with chronic disease such as autoimmune disorders, as well as early detection and prevention from diabetes to thyroid and cardiovascular disease. Functional Medicine practitioners demonstrate powerful health transformations from root cause resolution through lifestyle changes that improve quality of life.

Functional Medicine relies on applying research and physiology in the context of an individual person. This changes the scope of medicine from heavily protocol-based recommendations to a patient-centered approach. Dr. Ralph Snyderman of Duke University proposed the foundation of patient-centered healthcare included the following four characteristics. That patient-centered healthcare must be:

1. Personalized,

2. Predictive,

3. Preventative and

4. Participatory.

Providers such as myself, in my clinic and at The Centre of Health, choose to take on the role of a scientist-guide, and practice patient-centered medicine, Functional Medicine - where the focus is on creating wellness for the whole person, and empowering the person to make the changes needed for lifelong health and independence from the healthcare system.

Are you ready to join the Revolution in Medicine? As either a patient or a medical provider, opportunities to participate are coming your way. Follow along with us @thecentrehealth in 2017 as we explore a #newmedicine, perhaps you'll find ideas for #bettermedicine, as we share what we learn about #functionalmedicine with you.

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