I get asked a LOT of questions. It is the nature of my profession. But there’s one question I cringe at answering. I hate this question because it’s usually in an awkward social setting with people I will probably never see again. Honestly, I would rather speak to a group of 200 people than make small talk with 5. Don’t even get me started about flying alone.
The question I dread is, “so what do you do for a living?” I don’t dread it because I’m embarrassed or hate what I do. I’m more excited and passionate today than I was 12 years ago when I started my professional career. I dread it because the answer limits what I do and have done in the minds of the question asker, especially over this last year.
If I say I’m a chiropractor, I often get the obnoxious response of someone grabbing their neck or pretending that their back just went out. Or I get the totally uninformed person that responds with, “I love having my back rubbed.” At this point, I’m ready to put a knee in the middle of their back. Or it’s the total opposite and they think I’m the spawn of Satan and practice voodoo.
I could say I’m a writer, but it’s just a piece of what I do. Yes I wrote a book and have written probably 200 articles the past 4-5 years. I could also say I’m a speaker, but again, it’s just a piece. I use these pieces more as one of the core expressions (Education) of my core values (Leadership, Family, and Community) to ultimately support my mission of helping you create ‘More Health Less Healthcare.’
What I usually say is that I practice Functional Medicine. The problem is that unless you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner you’ve probably never even heard of the term. This role of ‘what I do’ has been the focus of my career over the past few years.
I just have completed the course work and passed the 12 exams through Functional Medicine University in the credentialing process. This means in the near future you will see some additional letters after my name, CFMP. In all honesty, the letters don’t matter. What matters is if I’m able to use all that information, apply it to each individual and move them towards their health goals.
So what is Functional Medicine? I would define it as assessing and supporting systems and origins, instead of treating symptoms and organs. Honestly, it takes my chiropractic education and biochemistry background and ties it all together to assess the root cause of a person’s health problems more efficiently, effectively, and thoroughly.
Many practitioners are using the term ‘functional medicine’ in their marketing. I have a cynical feeling this term will get as bastardized as the term ‘wellness’ has. A doctor can say they practice functional medicine but how do you, the consumer, know?
How To Know If Your Doc is Actually Practicing Functional Medicine
One way is to see if they have advanced training. Two credentialing bodies are the Institute for Functional Medicine and the other (the one I chose), is Functional Medicine University. There are many ancillary seminars that go over principles and practices but don’t necessarily constitute as certified. In my case, and maybe the cases of others, they just haven’t completed the course work yet so you have to look deeper.
This deeper look assesses their analysis and recommendations. Traditional healthcare has only one goal in mind, control the symptom. You get a chemical to alter a symptom. If your symptom can be altered with a certain chemical, regardless of your health outcomes, that treatment was successful. Their best case outcome is to make you numb to the problem.
Alternative and natural minded providers can be just as guilty. Instead of doling out drugs, they treat the symptom with something natural. It’s really no difference, just a safer ingredient list. Functional medicine practitioners are trained to look at the WHY behind your symptom.
The basic premise is that your body NEVER does stupid stuff. A symptom arises for the sole purpose to buy you enough time to escape the potential harm. By calling the symptom the problem and treating it as a problem, you just greatly reduced your change of survival.
Your rising cholesterol, your memory loss, your joint pain, your elevated blood sugars, and even that cancer are symptoms. Numbing those symptoms doesn’t remove the problem nor even come close to addressing why it’s happening in the first place.
As a result of continually asking why, the cause of your problem and ultimately the solution leads back to your lifestyle. Some of it you have control over. Some of it was decided for you in your up bringing. Some of it is totally out of control. It will encompass physical, chemical, emotional, nutritional, social, and spiritual aspects. And there are many off shoots of sub categories that intertwine the big categories. No matter the cause, the body is a self-healing, self-regulating organism and when it’s provided with what it requires, does amazing things.
If you’re struggling with a specific health problem, fed up with the only solution as drugs, and are ready to dive into the root cause, I can help. When you’re ready, you know how to find me. Or just check out what others have said.