Norman Regional Health System

A provider wearing a white coat takes notes at a desk with a bowl of fruit and supplements on it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

What is Functional Medicine?

People seeking healthcare want to be healed, not just feel better for the time being.

Functional medicine does just that – it focuses on getting to root cause of the health problem at hand and correcting the problem rather than just treating the symptoms so that a patient can be fully healed.

One difference between functional medicine and primary care is the type of testing offered, said Nicole Garber, APRN, a functional medicine advanced practice provider at Norman Regional’s Health@TheWell clinic.

Functional medicine testing involves more complex labs, as well as gut microbiome testing, mold testing, environmental toxin testing, heavy metals, and testing for tick-borne illness.

Functional medicine providers also tend to spend more time getting to know each of their patients, as they focus on looking at the whole person rather than just the specific problem the patient comes in for.  

What distinguishes functional medicine from holistic medicine?

Although functional medicine is different than holistic medicine, Garber said functional medicine does incorporate holistic medicine.

“Holistic medicine is a more general term,” Garber said. “It is looking at the person as a whole rather than just treating by body system. Functional medicine is a bit more specific and while it is focused on the whole person, treatment truly is centered around finding the root cause.”

Does functional medicine help with chronic diseases?        

Functional medicine helps with chronic diseases, as inflammation is present in chronic disease and functional medicine treats inflammation.

While functional medicine helps with chronic diseases, one of the goals of a functional medicine provider is to prevent chronic diseases altogether.

“Functional medicine can be a way to look at and treat chronic disease but it can also be helpful for preventative medicine, creating healthy lifestyles and nutrient balance so chronic disease can be avoided,” Garber said.

Why do you need functional medicine?

Functional medicine uses a patient-centered approach to get each patient to their optimal health and give them an overall better quality of life. Providers specializing in functional medicine take a more natural route to treat and prevent chronic diseases. If a patient needs a medication, it will be prescribed, but the providers will look for ways to avoid the use of medications by correcting the root cause when possible.

This route leaves patients feeling whole and healed.

Norman Regional has two functional medicine clinics – the Health@TheWell clinic in downtown Norman and the Wellness Clinic in south Oklahoma City. Garber see patients at Health@TheWell while Castel Santana, MD, sees patients at the Wellness Clinic.

Angela Schmidt, DC, a board certified chiropractor, sees patients at both locations.

Garber, Dr. Santana and Dr. Schmidt all personalize each patients’ health management plan so that it best fits them. Call 405-912-3900 to schedule an appointment at either clinic or visit to learn more.