What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is a scientific- evidence based method of understanding how the web-like, interlocking relationships between genetics, environmental toxicity, nutrition and stress influence the core physiological pathways of our body. These pathways include the gut, immune system, liver detoxification, hormones, neurotransmitters, structural and energy pathways of the body.

Functional & Regenerative Medicine

Functional medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interaction among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

It is an integrative, science-based healthcare approach, which treats illness and promotes wellness, by focusing on the bio-chemically unique aspects of each patient, and then individually tailoring interventions to restore physiological, psychological, and structural balance.

Functional Medicine focuses on understanding the fundamental physiological processes, the environmental inputs, and the genetic predispositions that influence health and disease so that interventions are focused on treating the cause of the problem, not just masking the symptoms.

There are seven basic principles underlying functional medicine which include the following:
  • Science-based medicine that connects the emerging research base to clinical practice.
  • Biochemical individuality based on genetic and environmental uniqueness.
  • Patient-centered care rather than disease-focused treatment.
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors that affect total functioning.
  • Web-like interconnections among the body’s physiological processes also affect every aspect of functionality.
  • Health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease.
  • Promotion of organ reserve.

If you would like to learn more about Functional & Regenerative Medicine in Calgary and southern Alberta, please contact
The Hoffman Centre for Integrative Medicine at (403) 206-2333 or schedule an appointment online.

Why Do We Need Functional Medicine?

Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis, and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.

Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases, it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern western society.

There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous – as long as 50 years – particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.

Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease, and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.

How is Functional Medicine Different?

Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:

Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.

It’s an integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.

 

Integrating best medical practices is key. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.

The Functional Medicine Approach to Assessment

The Institute for Functional Medicine teaches practitioners how to assess the patient’s fundamental clinical imbalances through careful history taking, physical examination, and laboratory testing. The functional medicine practitioner will consider multiple factors, including:

Environmental inputs – The air you breathe and the water you drink, the particular diet you eat, the quality of the food available to you, your level of physical exercise, and toxic exposures or traumas you have experienced all affect your health.

Mind-body elements – Psychological, spiritual, and social factors all can have a profound influence on your health. Considering these areas helps the functional medicine practitioner see your health in the context of you as a whole person, not just your physical symptoms.

Genetic makeup – Although individual genes may make you more susceptible to some diseases, your DNA is not an unchanging blueprint for your life. Emerging research shows that your genes may be influenced by everything in your environment, as well as your experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. That means it is possible to change the way genes are activated and expressed.

Through assessment of these underlying causes and triggers of dysfunction, the functional medicine practitioner is able to understand how key processes are affected. These are the body’s processes that keep you alive. Some occur at the cellular level and involve how cells function, repair, and maintain themselves. These processes are related to larger biological functions, such as:

  • How your body rids itself of toxins
  • Regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters
  • Immune system function
  • Inflammatory responses
  • Digestion and absorption of nutrients and the health of the digestive tract
  • Structural integrity
  • Psychological and spiritual equilibrium
  • How you produce energy

All of these processes are influenced by both environmental factors and your genetic make-up. When they are disturbed or imbalanced, they lead to symptoms, which can lead to disease if effective interventions are not applied.

Working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner

Functional medicine practitioners promote wellness by focusing on the fundamental underlying factors that influence every patient’s experience of health and disease.

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A Comprehensive Approach to Treatment

Most imbalances in functionality can be addressed. Some can be completely restored to optimum function, and others can be substantially improved.

Prevention is paramount. Virtually every complex, chronic disease is preceded by long-term disturbances in functionality.

Changing how the systems function can have a major impact on the patient’s health. The functional medicine practitioner examines a wide array of available interventions, and customizes a treatment plan including those with the most impact on the underlying functionality.

Functional medicine expands the clinician’s tool kit. Treatments may include combinations of drugs, botanical medicines, nutritional supplements, therapeutic diets, or detoxification programs. They may also include counseling on lifestyle, exercise, or stress-management techniques.

The patient becomes a partner. As a patient, you become an active partner with your functional medicine practitioner. This allows you to really be in charge improving your own health and changing the outcome of disease.

What is Anti-Aging Medicine?

Anti-aging medicine is a clinical/medical specialty and field of scientific research aimed at the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related decline.

It Is well documented by peer-reviewed medical, scientific journals, and employs evidence-based methodologies to conduct patient assessments. The American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine was established in 1997 as a professional physician certification and review board, which offers physician recognition in the form of specialty-based examination in Anti-Aging Medicine. It represents 14,500 physicians, scientists, health professionals, and the health minded public from 73 countries worldwide.

Bio-Identical Hormones

Functional Medicine

Anti-Aging Medicine

Autism, Asperger’s & ADHD

Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia

Family Constellation

Mold Illness

7 Stages to Health and Transformation™

This unique and insightful program offers patients an insider’s view of what may be making you sick, what can be done to heal the body, and how our environment, as well as our mind and spirit can actually affect levels of health and illness.

Success Stories

Recently my wife and I came to the Hoffman Clinic seeking help for our son who is an ASD affected 2.5 year old. Our son had begun regressing in his development and did not try to talk or communicate with us, which left us feeling helpless to determine what we could do for him. As we worked with the Hoffman Clinic to identify things that were best for him, it was recommended that we attend a seminar on electric and magnetic fields to gain an understanding how they can affect people, especially susceptible individuals such as our son. read more

Gary & April

In the winter of 2007 – 2008, Zendrek Eon Noakes was showing signs of a nervous disorder that progressively got worse to a point that it was starting to be socially disruptive, and was later diagnosed in the fall of that year as Tourette’s Syndrome by a Pediatric Tourette’s Syndrome Specialist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Tourette’s Syndrome is multifaceted involving motor and vocal involuntary behavior that can be accompanied by hyperactivity, emotional sensitivities, and disturbances, and as such. It is a neurological disorder probably caused by dysfunctional relationships of neurochemicals in the brain.

Our question was why was this happening to Zen and how could it be treated. The Tourette’s Syndrome medical experts did not have an answer. We were told that there was no known cure for Tourette’s Syndrome and that how or why this syndrome was affecting our son was unknown and could not be determined. read more

Kevin Noakes

In September, 1999 I decided it was time I had a physical examination. A friend’s husband had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer and it had been several years since my last exam. I was 56 years old and I had retired 18 months earlier after teaching for 25 years.

I knew I was overweight, but I was not concerned about “a few extra pounds”. To my surprise, the results of the blood test carried out after my physical exam confirmed Dr. Hoffman’s opinion that I was diabetic.

I learned that I was a classic example of a Type II diabetic. Over 40, overweight, and under exercised. My blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure were all high.

After reading Perfect Health and talking with Dr. Hoffman, I decided to make some changes in my lifestyle. My main motivation at that point was fear. I had been looking forward to a long, healthy retirement and instead I was facing heart disease and a shortened life span. read more

Alan Wilkinson

I wanted to send you all a follow-up letter so that you would know that I am very healthy these days — having mostly overcome my severe gut health troubles and food intolerances — and let you know how exactly that happened.

In a nutshell, my food intolerances or sensitivities which were *so* incredibly bad before are under control again. Before, Dr. Hoffman, the slightest contact with onion made me sick for weeks (months?) because my guts were so fragile; now, I can be exposed to and even eat small amounts of onion without major issues (just some minor discomfort and lowered energy for a few hours). read more

Scott Walker

I have nothing but the highest regard for the work of Dr. Hoffman and his staff. I found my way to the clinic in 2014 with a new diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. I traveled from Vancouver to Calgary to consult with Dr. Hoffman in hopes that I would get a greater understanding of the root cause of my symptoms. Little did I know how much I would actually discover. Dr. Hoffman is a medical detective, scientist, healer, teacher and highly evolved, lovely person. He travels all over the world attending conferences and training, hence he is incredibly current and knowledgeable about mysterious health conditions that present at his clinic. read more

Claudia Collins

Wendy Lecher, Calgary, AB (Mother of Josiah) When I was a little girl my hopes and dreams were to have two healthy and happy children. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have our own biological children so we proceeded with adoption where we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy.

My husband and I were both very happy until at the age of 19 months, after his last set of vaccines when we started to notice that our son started having a very odd behavior.

At this time we noticed that he stopped saying any words, he started flapping his hands, walking on his toes, very sensitive to loud noises and crowds of people. He became fixated on power lines, spinning wheels on his trains and obsessed with Baby Einstein movies. He also stopped eating all the foods he used to enjoy. read more

Wendy Lecher

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