I am often asked: “What kind of medical doctor are you, or what is your specialty? And, what kinds of conditions do you treat?”
How is it possible that this type of medicine can treat a variety of symptoms and conditions so vast and diverse as to include diabetes, psychiatric problems, angina, headaches, pain, digestive dysfunction, immunosuppressive disorders, arthritis, thyroid and hormonal conditions, fatigue, autism, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and the list goes on and on. And how does it differ from the traditional medical approach?
This kind of medicine we do in this office is referred to by so many different names, each representing a slightly different aspect of the work:
My preference is probably the last, functional, which reflects the fact that this approach has at its core a goal of eliminating poor function and establishing, creating, or allowing good or even excellent function; both diagnosis and treatment are guided by this philosophy. A most wonderful and lucid explanation of this approach was offered by Sidney MacDonald Baker, M.D., grand master of functional medicine, in his book “Detoxification and Healing: The Key to Optimal Health”. It is excerpted here by gracious permission of the author: “In explaining to my patients how I go about the detective work involved in unraveling their problems, I sometimes recite the "Tacks Rules” to make my point.
Let’s look at the first rule. You could substitute the word aspirin with psychotherapy, meditation, organic foods, or vitamins and the rule still applies: the proper treatment for tack sitting is tack removal. Get at the root of the matter and fix it. In particular, don’t take medicine to cover up a symptom instead of looking for the cause. Chronic illness has two common causes, one of which is illustrated by the first rule: the body may be irritated by an unwanted substance. If not a tack, it could be a disagreeable substance such as a food that causes an allergy; it could be a germ or a naturally occurring or manufactured toxin. The presence of some unwanted substance is a common root of illness.
The second rule helps explain what I mean by a root. Becoming chronically ill usually results from a combination of factors. It is unrealistic to think in terms of a single cause when several factors inevitably contribute to a problem. It is especially unrealistic to recommend a single treatment to remedy a complex chronic illness when several factors deserve attention. The factors may have to do with the presence of an unwanted substance or the lack of a needed substance.”
A colleague, Dr. Ronald Hoffman, has applied another name to this kind of medicine that may make the most sense of all: Intelligent Medicine. I believe that once someone understands the value of a comprehensive, global, open-minded look at a patient’s health, and what this can bring to the patient, even to community and corporate health, they simply cannot turn backward again. Once they knew, they could not ever knowingly choose to exclude the broader picture, and all the options that exist in favor of a more limited traditional/pharmaceutical perspective. For me, this Intelligent Medicine is the only option, and where my work begins. I invite you to join me.
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