21st Century Medicine
Integrative and Functional Medicine Introduction
Integrative Medicine: An Introduction
In the early years of the 21st century, various alternative forms of medicine have gained increasing popularity as physicians begin taking a more holistic approach to treating their patients, no longer simply concentrating on treating a disease. One of these approaches, used by Dr. Engels in her practice, is Integrative Medicine.
Integrative Medicine can be defined as a holistic medical discipline that takes into account the lifestyle habits of the patient and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. Rather than treating just the disease, the physician works to treat the whole person. The body, mind and soul of the patient are taken into consideration to promote healing and well-being.
Further, Integrative Medicine combines the latest conventional medical treatments with alternative therapies that are carefully selected and known to be effective and safe. Non-traditional therapies might include modalities such as acupuncture, yoga and massage therapy. This approach to treatment also focuses on the nutritional and exercise habits of the patient to reduce factors related to obesity and disease.
Physicians who practice Integrative Medicine essentially believe that poor lifestyle choices are the root cause of many chronic diseases, that the patient and the physician should be equal partners in the healing process, and that preference should be given to natural and less invasive procedures.
In her approach to the use of Integrative Medicine, Dr. Engels offers a number of modalities including:
- Regenerative Medicine treatments
- Nutrition counseling
- Stress management
- Sleep optimization
- Massage therapy
- Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
- Weight loss programs
- Supplement recommendations
- Genetic testing
- IV nutrition therapy
- Personalized nutrition plans
In addition to Integrative Medicine, a similar but slightly different approach to medical treatment gaining in popularity is Functional Medicine, also used by Dr. Engels in her practice. Functional Medicine is sometimes referred to as “upstream medicine” because it seeks to find the root cause of illness before it becomes chronic disease.
The Functional Medicine approach centers around the idea that one condition can have many causes, or conversely, that one cause can lead to many conditions. As an example, a patient’s depression might be caused by a combination of Vitamin D deficiency, low thyroid and antibiotic use. Or, a patient could be suffering from a combination of depression, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, all stemming from inflammation somewhere in their body.
In commenting on the treatment of her patients, Dr. Engels says, “I obtain a very detailed history from the patient, and I try to identify possible triggers to the illnesses and imbalances that they are suffering from. I also do necessary lab testing to try to get a clearer picture of what is going on with them.”
In her practice at WeCare Integrative Medicine, Dr. Engels uses a combination of these two approaches as she believes that both are needed to provide optimal care, treatment and recovery. Both Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine seek to provide patients with different options for treatment that avoid surgery and medication overload.
Each approach to your treatment can benefit your life in a different way, and you’re invited to contact WeCare Integrative Medicine in Frisco to schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Engels.