rootcauses1Let’s pretend for a moment that health insurance (private or national) didn’t exist. Let’s pretend each of us was financially responsibility for “employing” doctors to help us monitor our health. Would we solely rely on the doctor(s) we use today?

I ask this question because most of us have never been exposed to the latest branch of medical, chiropractic, naturopathic and acupuncture physicians practicing FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE. This form of health care evaluates the “whole person” to investigate root cause problems that address ongoing symptoms (OR MOREΒ  IMPORTANTLY), problems BEFORE they become symptomatic.


What are the differences between traditional doctors and functional medicine doctors?


Traditional doctors are typically approached when a patient begins to experience symptoms. The traditional doctor will follow an algorithm and order traditional lab work to determine an appropriate prescription to address the patient’s symptoms. If the symptoms clear up, the case is deemed a success by both the patient and the doctor. The problem with this approach is that the underlying CAUSE of the symptom may never have been addressed (even though relief of symptoms was experienced) allowing the problem to worsen and affect other systems in the body (heart, liver, pancreas, etc…) In time, as new SYSTEM symptoms develop, traditional medicine evaluates these conditions INDEPENDENTLY (in many cases) and attempts to address these new symptoms with new prescriptions. This leads to an increasing arsenal of prescriptive medications (as well as additional prescriptions to counter side effects) while rarely achieving GOOD HEALTH. The weakness in this approach is its lack of ability to “FIND” and “FIX”Β  the underlying causes of the problem or problems.

Functional doctors take a detailed history and perform thorough examinations (similar to traditional doctors), but utilize the information obtained differently. For example, if you suffer from recurring illnesses (let’s say 4-6 times a year) can you remember the last time you had the following tests ordered to determine if your “gut” was healthy?

  1. SIBO-(small intestine bacterial overgrowth) breath testing

  2. Urine organic acid profiles

  3. Stool samples

Most patients aren’t even aware of the first two tests. Your doctor may have ordered a stool sample, but by itself, may have tested negative even though an underlying pathology existed. The other two tests could offer additional insight that would reveal the answers needed to address the ROOT CAUSE, yet most traditional doctors are not trained or aware of this type of testing. Since we know that 60-70% of immune function (that protects each of us from disease) is found in the gut, this approach could provide necessary answers to RESTORING HEALTH, rather than simply treating symptoms of disease.

Without ANY intestinal symptoms, it is possible to have fungal and bacterial overgrowth as well as evidence of bad (pathogenic) bacteria. I just mentioned that 60-70% of immune function is located in the gut! Can you see how traditional doctoring could easily miss this leaving the patient believing that 4-6 episodes of annual illnesses is normal for their body? When the gut (eventually) produces symptoms and clear evidence of illness is seen, traditional medicine will typically treat this with antibiotics. This treatment may reduce the apparent illness, but kills the healthy bacteria allowing the bad (opportunistic) bacteria to overtake the gut causing greater problems in the intestines. This can lead to a disease called “leaky gut” allowing disease to spread to other organs of the body.


This is just one example of the differences between traditional medicine and functional medicine. This same approach is used to determine underlying hormonal issues (with or without symptoms) and nutritional deficiencies that typically produce NO SYMPTOMS associated with food and hunger. This is a SYSTEMIC approach to health and provides a comprehensive plan to MAINTAIN HEALTH rather than simply COMBATING DISEASE.

For those patients seeking symptomatic care, the traditional medical approach is faster, less expensive and requires less participation on the part of the patient. For those patients wanting to maintain good health, wanting to understand what their role in this process is and are willing to put forth the effort to achieve this goal, functional medicine just might be an approach worth seeking. The first question you need to ask yourself is, “Am I worth it?” We are willing to spend $15,000.00 to $30,000.00 on the purchase of a car. What are we willing to spend to be HEALTHY?

If you have any questions you would like answered, please feel free to ask. I welcome all constructive opinions and questions including those with opposing views. Honest open dialogue leads to positive changes that benefit everyone!

(Disclaimer: I am not a functional medicine practitioner and do not receive any benefits providing this information to the general public. This, simply, is information most people are unaware ofΒ  and should be taken into consideration when choosing a doctor to treat and maintain health.)




  1. It makes perfect sense. Treating the symptoms and not the cause can actually lead to greater problems later in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish our health care system believed this makes perfect sense. The good news is, it appears we are beginning to move further in this direction than we have in the past. Patients are beginning to ask more questions no longer accepting doctor’s recommendations as gospel. Doctors and patients benefit from the improved communication and greater options become available to the patient under this approach.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A mindful patient has to be a help to the medical profession and to health initiatives.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No doubt about it. I completely agree with you.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I very much agree. I lived some time in China and found the best doctors there use a blend of western medicine (antibiotics etc.) – to relieve immediate symptoms – and tradition Chinese medicine (herbs etc.) to address the long term causes. (Natural cures usually take longer) It works well!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Sometimes people simply need to read about others living the experiences I am attempting to convey. Yours is a beautiful example. Blending healthcare approaches to provide the patient the best choices available to meet their health care needs should be the primary goal of any health care system. I believe we are slowly moving in this direction.
      Thank you for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for promoting these things. We need more doctors that care and have more open minds – wish I could find one here too.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I try my best to have a balanced approach to my own health care and wellness too. I remember thinking some of the Chinese medicine approaches were “hokey” at first…that is, until they started working for me better than anything else!

      Thank you for sharing your story πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I was a double blind study advocate as well in my early years in practice. Without clinical experience I needed the studies to validate my approach to health. With time and experience I learned to be objective and witness reality. If a product or service resulted in a patient experiencing an improved quality of life, I came to accept a lack of clarity on my part. If I couldn’t understand why the product or service worked that was my problem. If the patient felt a positive impact on their lives I continued to follow this course. Just because we can’t explain everything doesn’t invalidate a product or service. This is an important concept doctors must face when recognizing whose needs they are trying to fulfill (their own or their patients?)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. My doctor doesn’t believe that acu helped to “cure” my sore thumbs. He said I must have just rested them sufficiently (which I didn’t because I work a desk job).

          I wish more medical professionals were open minded!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I don’t blame him. His limited knowledge and “narrow education” limits his ability to understand anything outside his world of pharmaceutical “cures.” It is sad to realize that traditional allopaths believe our bodies are incapable of maintaining quality health without this type of intervention. I wouldn’t trade my “internal doctoring mechanism” for all the greatest minds in the world. “Feed” it what it needs (NOT JUST FOOD) and it will perform (in most cases) magnificently. This is the MODEL of HEALTH; not the MODEL OF DISEASE.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. Practicing disciplines each day that help balance my mind and body which creates good health may seem difficult at first, but over time I am limiting my chances of experiencing major symptoms and disease which can takes years to recover from. I believe we are slowy moving into a more balanced direction of traditional and functional medicines. Thanks Jonathan.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely. The concept of taking time DAILY for oneself is an important concept few take advantage of. Those who do have greater success at keeping their lives in better balance. I agree we are slowly transitioning leading to improved communication and expanding health care options.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Surviving Extreme Trauma and commented:
    I love this post, “Better Health Through Better Doctoring,” written by a retired chiropractor.

    Many of us grew up watching Jack LaLanne’s morning exercise show on tv. I remember watching that show with my mother on an old console black and white television when I was a little girl, way back in the 1950s. I did a search on his name recently and found, to my surprise, that he was also a chiropractor.

    Jack LaLanne, who pioneered healthy eating and physical fitness here in the United States, died just five years ago this month, in his 97th year. He continued his daily exercise routine right up to the day before he died.

    His widow, also in her nineties, follows a similar routine. In a short exercise video clip on the Jack LaLanne blog, Mrs. LaLanne says, “You eat every day. You sleep every day. You also need to exercise every day.” So true!

    According to the Wikipedia article, Jack LaLanne opened the first ever fitness and health club in the U.S. in 1936. His story is inspiring. You can read about it here:

    Mr. LaLanne’s autopsy found that he died of pneumonia. According to his family, he had been feeling sick for about a week but refused to see a doctor. I think this is a prime example of how we can benefit from a balance of good western medical care, in conjunction with a healthy, holistic lifestyle. But even so, he lived a long, healthy life.

    Exercise is fun when you think of it as playing, the way children and puppies run and play. I am a great grandmother now and I still “play” almost every day. Playful exercise never fails to lift my spirits, at the same time that it keeps my body healthy, limber, and strong. Our mind, spirit, and body are all connected. What benefits one part of you also benefits the other parts.

    (Comments are disabled here, please visit the original post that inspired me to write this. Also, if you care about good health, I highly recommend that you follow the WordPress blog “All About Healthy Choices.” The author shares a lot of good health tips.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Linda for sharing your comment and for your support. I appreciate the confidence you share for your fellow readers.
      Jack LaLanne was my mentor. I continue to exercise in a fashion that provides the benefits he taught and enjoy a wonderful quality of health as a result. He was years ahead of his time!
      Exercise does not have to be “pumping iron” in a gym. As you describe, running and playing with grandchildren and puppies constitutes exercise and is quite enjoyable. People need to remove the “negative” connotation the word exercise generates.
      Your description of Mind, Body and Spirit are synonymous with my word Balance. We share a similar philosophy defining Good Health. Stay happy, active and balanced. Thanks again for sharing this article.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome, and thank you! I am very grateful for your excellent blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Never heard of this before. How do find a practitioner?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know where you live, so I have attached a link you can use to search for one in your area.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very interesting Doc. I must ask though, when you talk about the gut are you referring to the stomach or the intestine below it? Obviously I have had a great proportion of my stomach removed and as such wonder if I still have the same propensity to these issues?
    I only ask because since the operation I am not sure if I have been healthier or not but then an healthier result could be linked to the weight loss?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The “gut” refers to the intestines, Cameron. Here is where nutrients are reabsorbed by the body to sustain health. Your procedure will not impede this process.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool. Thanks Doc.
        I imagine the reason why I have been feeling better health wise is because I have changed my diet and no longer pour all the processed crap into my mouth.
        Plus giving up drinking two months plus ago, I have not been ill at all apart from a rubbish cold that has only just buggered off!
        Back to the gym tomorrow. God I am looking forward to that!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Very helpful info as always. Thanks for taking the time to put your knowledge of this stuff in an easy to read and understand format for the ret of us. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tricia. I like to share the various options for health care choices because so few people are aware they exist. Choice creates decision making which creates the need to participate. One of my (hidden) goals is to get more people participating in their health care decisions. I have always believed empowering patients with knowledge, confidence and self importance improves health and overall happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I like the empowerment factor a lot. I went to an interesting talk recently by a former doctor who spoke more on the technology side of health care and how the innovation behind tools for patients to control much of their own health care (apps for blood pressure monitoring, smart toilets for glucose monitoring, etc…) is just exploding and will flip the industry on it’s head.

        Any posts from you on this topic in the future? I’m sure you’ve got some good thoughts on it. πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I am glad to see technology is helping address serious health conditions and will likely prevent critical outcomes. My biggest concern is that technology can’t address emotional behavior. It’s great that technology can save a patient from diabetic dangers by warning the person of dangerous sugar levels. Technology, however, can’t alter dietary habits, achieve LONG TERM exercise behavior, (examples like Fitbit and jawbone help create short term motivation, but have not produced long term results,) behavior to create a real understanding of proper hydration and help IMPLEMENT this into daily living, improve quality sleep, reduce stressful behavior and attitudes, etc… Once we learn how to help people assess and change unhealthy habits into healthy ones, I think technology will become a tool able to enhance the quality of life.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well that’s true, I have a Fitbit and besides the weak factor of checking stats all day, it doesn’t replace the drive to get out there and exersize. Although I wish it did at times!

            Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m learning how important gut health is to the balancing of our entire system. My mom suffers with many, many food problems. I have tried to talk to her about journaling her food and seeing someone who could help her in this way, but she is resistant. Ah, well, maybe someday.

    Thanks for an informative post. Good stuff here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are all learning about gut health and the role it plays in the quality of our lives. Tough to get your mom’s generation to follow modern methods to addressing their disorders. I face the same difficulty with my father. Great man, but STUBBORN!!!!


  9. Another great post…thanks. kat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat, you are a good hearted person. I know your move is keeping you busy, yet you always make time to leave a comment. This talks a lot about your character. Your blogging friendship means a great deal to me. I love all your LOL’s throughout your posts. πŸ™‚


  10. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    If you only knew what I have been going through with my doctor right now, it would floor you. I went to the ER with numbness in my face tongue, and body. Only reason why I went was to rule out a stroke or something serious. I had an MRI and both my primary and the ER doc tell me it is most likely an MS attack. I don’t have MS. So they start giving me drugs intravenously and taking blood for testing. Find out they shot me up full of steroids and muscle relaxers and it made me feel “drugged”. I see a Neurologist who tells me it’s not MS and that my brain looks healthy and normal. The Neurologist discovered that they didn’t even check iron or B12 deficiency where I gave up eating red meat 2 years ago, so the primary dropped the ball on that. A few days later I notice that my whole left side is numb. I go back telling them that my back must have a problem and the primary is insistent that it is a symptom of MS. Now he is trying to prescribe narcotics on top of prednisone which I refuse to take. Finally had an MRI on my back and they determined that it was a herniated disc. I am taking Advil and looking for a new primary. The point in telling you all this is to prove what you already know. They are quick to diagnose symptoms without even looking for a cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so sorry you have been through all of this. Finding root causes can be very difficult whereas prescribing medication to treat symptoms is quick and easy (even if it doesn’t help.)

      Bad discs (including herniated discs) do NOT typically cause a “whole left side” to go numb. Nerve roots compressed by herniated disc material have dermatomal patterns providing sensory findings to specific regions. For example, the first 3 lumbar segments in the low back will typically refer symptoms to the anterior thigh (at different levels) above the knee. If any of these lumbar segments were herniated symptoms would not be experienced in the calf.

      When numbness extends into both upper and lower extremities AND is experienced in the face, I would bet that a lumbar herniated disc is NOT the underlying problem. It certainly can be a secondary problem affecting sensory findings and even motor findings in the lower extremity. but would not be a factor in facial numbness.

      I don’t know anyone in Canada to help you, but I am very confident that a lumbar herniation does not provide an adequate explanation for facial numbness. The MS diagnosis may have been wrong, but (believe it or not) provided a better explanation than a herniated lumbar disc. If your doctors ran the proper tests to rule out an auto immune diagnosis, you may need to get a fresh set of eyes in your case to approach this from a different perspective. It truly sounds more like a systemic disorder than simply a musculoskeletal disorder. I hope this information helps you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

        Thank you for this detailed explanation so I have a better understanding. I am seeing a Neurologist again and we are still waiting for some blood work results. My primary seems to believe that the back pain is a symptom and not a root cause of something else that may be going on. I have a very experienced Orthopedic Surgeon in the family who doesn’t think the numbness in my face is being caused from my back issue either. So far all the tests have come back normal. We are still waiting for the B12 tests and Iron where I just had those. My blood pressure is low and the EKG showed no cardiovascular issues so I am healthy there also. We are also looking at food allergies where I experienced anaphylaxis last month from having a sip of wine. Maybe anxiety? I do tend to have that on occasion. Hopefully they will figure this out soon!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you for filling in some of the missing pieces. Once you are given a diagnosis, if you would like another opinion (just on whether the diagnosis makes sense) you can ALWAYS contact me. It is important I make certain you stay healthy so that the rest of the world can manage their lifestyles with your knowledge and experience on frugal (HAPPY) living!! πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person



  12. Excellent article! I have been inspired to Blog because of my recent experiences with our Medical System. I re-blogged your article in my latest blog because I found it to be a very simple, yet informative, explanation of Functional Medicine. Please check it out here: Traditional Medicine Is Failing Our Society

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your kind words. As a doctor I can relate to the difficulties patients face dealing with our current health care system. Rather than point fingers or make accusations, I have elected to educate the public on legitimate options rarely discussed and made available to the public. It is our job as physicians to provide our patients ALL options available to address their presenting conditions. Traditional allopathic care is limited and focuses more on disease care than health care. My blog site attempts to educate and provide REALISTIC solutions to everyday health needs. I look forward to your opinions in future postings. Stay healthy and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Functional medicine is a combination of human genes, environment, diet, lifestyle, heart and so on as an indicator of treatment, rather than just the symptoms of the treatment of disease. So I would like to choose the functional medicine with my condition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re making a wise choice. It makes more sense to uncover ROOT CAUSE issues when addressing health problems than treating symptoms.


Your comment can positively impact the lives of others.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: