Functional Medicine Assessment

What Is A Functional Medicine Assessment?

Functional Medicine (FM) is a holistic, integrative approach to health and well-being that evaluates how each biological system is working and supporting the health of the whole, interconnected body.

Physicians who use this approach look for signs of imbalance and areas of health that can be optimized. If deficiencies are found, FM doctors investigate the root cause of the deficiency by looking at the patient’s environment, thoughts, diet, lifestyle, possible infections, medications, levels of activity, social support (family, friends), and level of stress, as all of these factors could be supporting or exacerbating the disease.

Functional Medicine differs from Conventional Medicine in that while Conventional Medicine is excellent at treating acute and urgent conditions, it tends to treat symptoms and not the underlying cause of those symptoms.

Functional Medicine physicians assess six major areas of health.

In looking for clues that may be contributing to symptoms of illness or disease we systematically assess and optimize the following six major areas of health:

  1. Immune system: We look for signs of inflammation and auto-immune diseases (including Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, pain, allergies/sensitivities, etc.).
  2. Energy systems: We assess for factors that may be depleting your body’s energy, including your mitochondrial (energy part of cells) health, nutrient deficiencies and excesses.
  3. Heart and metabolic systems: We evaluate for signs of heart and vascular disease and abnormal blood sugar values.
  4. Hormone systems: For women, we assess for signs of PMS, fibroids, perimenopause and menopause, estrogen dominance, and other conditions of hormone imbalance; and for men, we assess for signs of loss of motivation, focus, low libido, andropause (low testosterone), erectile dysfunction, poor work-out recovery, poor exercise endurance, fatigue, and other conditions of hormone imbalance.
  5. Detoxification system: We assess for signs of toxin overload or the inability to release toxins from your liver and body. This system is key for optimal health of the body as well as maintaining a youthful appearance and vitality.
  6. Gastrointestinal/digestive systems: We look for signs of inflammation in the gut, food sensitivities, and infections. This system is also vital to all other systems operating effectively and preventing autoimmune diseases, weight gain, and inflammation throughout your body (joints, sinuses, lungs, thyroid, etc.).

What a Functional Medicine Assessment entails

  • listening to what your concerns are and asking questions that help and reveal any issues.
  • performing an exam to assess for any physical signs of deficiencies or signs of excess that may be supporting disease in your body.
  • ordering tests that will look at how effectively your body is performing certain functions. Some tests include:saliva tests to evaluate your body’s ability to respond to stress and maintain healthy sleep and energy levels;
    • hormone tests that show if your body is releasing optimal amounts of hormones to support your energy, mood, sexual health, brain clarity, bones, focus, energy;
    • thyroid tests that can demonstrate if you are producing the proper levels of thyroid hormones to support mood, energy, weight, skin/hair/nails, brain clarity, and more;
    • stool analysis that reveals if your gut and immune system are sufficient to support your digestive and immune system needs;
    • food sensitivity and allergy testing that may uncover an unhealthy gut and foods that are contributing to brain fog, bloating, constipation/diarrhea, IBS, weight gain, and more;
    • lipid profile that assesses if you have the type of cholesterol molecules that lead to cardiovascular disease;
    • inflammation profiles that evaluate the level of inflammation that your body is dealing with;
    • and many more tests are available if needed.

Why would you do a Functional Medicine assessment if you’re healthy?

Because of its whole health approach, an FM assessment and its recommendations can help prevent illness while optimizing your current state of health, so you can:

  • enjoy vitality, longevity and a youthful appearance at every age;
  • maximize your energy and mobility to live the life you choose;
  • prevent unnecessary weight gain;
  • maintain healthy heart function;
  • allow smooth transitions into each phase of life, i.e., young adult years, reproductive years, retirement years, menopause/andropause, etc.;
  • maintain hormone and thyroid health;
  • support your immune system to prevent illnesses;
  • optimize your gut health to support your immune system, weight, and tolerance to different foods and prevent disease;
  • support healthy mood and mental health;
  • encourage healthy sleep and rejuvenation;
  • prevent metabolic disorders like diabetes and insulin resistance;
  • and so much more!

We’ve gathered all of this information, now what?

Functional Medicine’s approach is patient-centered and patient-directed; once we’ve gathered all of your information, we listen to you. Together we’ll discuss and prioritize your unique wellness goals. Once those are established we can start working towards the areas that will best help your major wellness goal first, then systematically addressing all other issues, as supporting longevity and wellness relies on improving all facets of your health.

This approach typically utilizes several modes of treatment, including stress reduction & management, mind-body tools, improving nutrition, healing your gut, supporting detoxification, exercise, acupuncture, herbs/botanicals, supplements, manual medicine, and when needed, medic

Biotoxicity & Neurotoxicity Protocol

There are a variety of treatments available to patients suffering from biotoxicity or neurotoxicity disorder, but there is certainly no “one-size-fits-all” remedy. Your treatment plan will be individually tailored after consideration of your overall medical history, your current symptoms, your genetic makeup, your history of exposure to biotoxins and your lifestyle. The essential aspect of treatment is the detoxification regime, a 2-step process whereby the biotoxins are first drawn out of whatever tissue in the body is storing them, and then toxins are bound at the molecular level so they can be eliminated from the body via urination.

Medications used to treat biotoxicity and neurotoxicity include Cholestyramine (CSM), Welchol, Chemet, Amphotericin B nasal spray, Antibiotics, Anti-yeast remedies, and Anti-fungal compounds. We also prescribe dietary changes such as an amylose-free diet, and nutritional supplements including Glutathione, Activated Charcoal, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Chlorella, Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Probiotics.

The Kaplan medical team also offers patients who are undergoing detoxification complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, osteopathic manipulation, and Chinese and American herbal remedies. These alternative modalities can provide patients with significant relief from their symptoms and from any side effects of the detoxification process.

For more information about how the Kaplan Center physicians diagnose Biotoxicity/Neurotoxicity please click here.

CranioSacral Therapy

In treating chronic pain, there is an important role for invasive measures, such as epidural steroid injections, the surgical implantation of dorsal-column stimulators and other surgical options. But there is also a multitude of effective, non-invasive manual treatment options available to patients, with far fewer side effects and risks.

At the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, we employ a number of non-invasive treatments, such osteopathic manual medicine, physical therapy, craniosacral therapy, and Reiki. These manual and energetic approaches help patients cut back on medication and avoid unnecessary surgeries. When incorporated into an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan your healing is likely to be much faster and more complete.

Craniosacral Therapy: Using gentle touch, craniosacral therapy releases physical imbalances and restrictions as well as residual emotional trauma that has been stored in the body’s membranes and connective tissue. This frees the central nervous system to perform optimally — allowing patients to experience pain relief, stronger immune function and an enhanced sense of well-being.

Craniosacral therapy can provide symptomatic relief for a wide range of medical problems, including:

Herbal Remedies & Nutritional Supplements

If you have medication sensitivities, are concerned about drug interactions, or you are just interested in enhancing your health, our physicians and dietitian are happy to talk with you about the herbal compounds, nutritional supplements and some homeopathic remedies that may benefit your health and well-being.

As you may know, herbal compounds, homeopathics, and nutritional supplements are NOT regulated by the U.S. Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA); therefore, the quality and efficacy of these products can vary greatly. Furthermore, many herbal compounds can interact with prescription drugs.

The physicians at the Kaplan Center have extensive training and many years of experience prescribing herbal compounds and nutritional supplements, so they will direct you to only the highest quality products. In addition to reviewing the independent product research, they closely observe how patients respond to products, ensuring that your supplements safely complement the other medications and treatments you are taking. Based on the laboratory product research and this direct experience with patients, the Kaplan Center sells only those pharmaceutical-grade products that our physicians have found to be safe and effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Acupuncture

The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine offers patients acupuncture within the context of their entire treatment plan. Research has demonstrated that it can have direct and lasting positive effects on the body’s neurological (nervous), endocrine (hormonal), and immunological (disease-fighting) systems. In 1998, a Consensus-Conference Panel of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that acupuncture is an effective non-invasive modality in treating a variety of medical and pain problems, including migraines, osteoarthritis, and infertility.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a practice of Chinese medicine that relies upon the therapeutic insertion of slender needles into the body to improve a person’s health. According to Chinese medicine, health is dependent on the balanced flow of “Qi” which is pronounced “chee” and refers to the vital life force within each person. Blockages or imbalances in Qi result in pain and illness. A thorough medical history and examination reveals the nature of these disturbances, so that acupuncture needles can be inserted in the proper points in the body to restore the balance and flow of Qi. An understanding of the anatomy and principles of acupuncture allow your practitioner to design a treatment program that meets your needs. In this way, it can help reestablish your good health and sense of well-being.

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be useful for treating a large range of illnesses and pain syndromes, including arthritis, headaches, allergies, neck and backaches, coccydynia (tail-bone pain), fibromyalgia, and other joint or muscle pain. The therapy strengthens the body’s immune system; therefore, it also can alleviate immunological disorders such as asthma, allergies, Graves’s Disease, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.

Supporting the body’s immunological functions through acupuncture also can help restore a person to good health after surgery or shorten the duration of an infectious illness, such as a cold, sinusitis, or pneumonia. Cancer patients often find it can help relieve the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and fatigue caused by chemotherapy. Acupuncture also can be effective in relieving problems such as chronic fatigue syndrome, dysthymia (general lack of well-being), sleep disorders, infertility, and menstrual irregularities, including menstrual pain and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

At the Kaplan Center acupuncture is also used by people who are looking for a natural, alternative way to reduce the signs of aging and improve inner vitality for a healthy appearance to their face. Cosmetic Acupuncture provides a non-toxic, non-surgical way of looking and feeling your best at any age.

Acupuncture has also long been known to produce relaxation, reduce muscle tension, and increase mood. How? We know that acupuncture releases endorphins, our body’s natural opioids. These are largely responsible for the pain-relieving effect but these neurotransmitters also produce a relaxation response. Researchers at Georgetown University have shown that acupuncture in clinical models releases endorphins and lowered stress hormones including the sympathetic NPY peptide pathway.

Providers

Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Lilienfield are members of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, the organization that has established the training requirements for physician-acupuncturists in the United States. The Center’s physicians are not just experts in the clinical practice of acupuncture, they also are leaders in the field of medical acupuncture. Dr. Gary Kaplan was a founding board member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture and also served as president of the Medical Acupuncture Research Foundation. Dr. Kaplan also has served as an advisor to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on research and practice issues concerning acupuncture.

Rebecca Berkson is a licensed acupuncturist and is NCCAOM Board certified in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Her training includes traditional Chinese medicine coupled with anatomy and clinical sciences to provide the safest and most effective care to patients. Rebecca has also studied with teachers in different practices of acupuncture including traditional Chinese medicine, Five Element, and various styles of Japanese acupuncture.

There are a variety of acupuncture disciplines or methodologies, and each has its strengths in terms of treating particular medical problems. Dr. Kaplan, Dr. Lilienfield and Rebecca Berkson are proficient in many acupuncture disciplines, including Traditional Chinese Medicine, French Energetics, Auricular, Five-Elements, Scalp, and Neuroanatomic (Craig Percutaneous Nerve Stimulation or CPNS) Acupuncture.

Acupuncture services at the Kaplan Center are available for both patients and non-patients. Please call (703) 532-4892 if you would like to schedule an appointment.

 

Meditation

Meditation can not only have positive and rapid changes in the brain, we find that our patients who meditate typically sleep better, have less pain, less anxiety and depression, and a better general sense of well-being. But there also has been plenty research over the last decade demonstrating that meditation helps reduce stress and blood pressure, provides relief from migraine headaches, improves concentration and boosts immune function.

How does one meditate? Usually by sitting quietly. But for some people, active forms of meditation, such as walking, dancing, singing or painting is most effective. Given that meditation is readily accessible, cheap and portable, and has few if any risks, there’s really no harm in giving it a try.

At the Kaplan Center, our psychotherapist Jodi Brayton often helps clients achieve more effective self-management and coping skills through relaxation techniques and visualization exercises, such as Meditation, Guided Imagery, Progressive Muscle Relaxation and Autogenics. We also offer meditation classes for both new and experienced meditators led by our instructor, Laura Elizabeth Dorsett, MTS.

Resources:

3-Minute Guided Meditation:

Use this 3-minute, guided meditation to help you regain focus on the present moment while releasing feelings of tension and stress. Led by Laura Elizabeth Dorsett, MTS.

Autogenic Training CD:

When you’re in the office, please ask for a free copy of our 8-minute, Autogenic Training CD or click below to listen to an online version of this guided meditation.

 

Book recommendation:

We recommend the book, Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach, a psychologist and meditation teacher who expertly describes the process and healing power of a regular meditation practice. Her book is available for purchase online or in our office.

In the News: The Health Benefits of Meditation:

Watch Dr. Kaplan speak about the power of meditation to protect and heal the brain from post-traumatic stress injury on the “Health Alert” segment of CBS/Channel 9 News.

Nutritional Testing, Counseling & Coaching

Although food provides us with both nutrition and pleasure, poor nutritional choices can lead to serious health problems. If you follow an essentially healthy diet but still find yourself ill or in pain, you might be eating the wrong foods for your body.

Marilyn Barbone © 123RF.com

At the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine, we take special care to explore the possibility that your nutrition may be causing or contributing to your pain and illness. For example, magnesium or vitamin deficiencies, genetic weaknesses, food sensitivities, and allergies can create or contribute to pain problems in two major ways: 1) by causing tissue inflammation and 2) by interfering with the proper absorption of the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Inflammation is a concern for many people with chronic illnesses, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune diseases, including celiac disease, and lupus.

When it appears that nutrition may be playing a significant role in a patient’s medical problems, we often recommend laboratory testing to identify potential food allergies, food sensitivities, or digestive problems. After identifying your specific nutritional needs, your Kaplan healthcare providers will work with you to create measurable goals and a nutrition regimen that improves your health and fits your lifestyle, preferences, culture, taste, and time constraints.

Good nutrition is also critical in preventing disease and attaining optimal health so that we can feel great, act with vitality, think clearly, and look our very best. Although our nutritional goals may be clear, sometimes the path to attaining them seems to be filled with obstacles. For example:

  • Do you know what you should and want to do with your diet and health, but lack the support, structure, encouragement, and feedback to make it happen?
  • Have you tried a variety of diet plans, but not yet succeeded in making the lifestyle changes that will allow you to sustain a healthy weight?
  • Do you have a strong sense of where you want to be with regard to health and fitness?

Then wellness coaching may be a great fit for you. Coaching is based on achieving your own vision of how you want to live your life, and developing small, sustainable goals to get you to optimal health with diet, exercise, stress management, etc.


Additional Resources:

Article: 11 Food Rules For The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Physical Therapy

In treating chronic pain, there is an important role for invasive measures, such as epidural steroid injections, the surgical implantation of dorsal-column stimulators and other surgical options. But there are also a multitude of effective, non-invasive manual treatment options available to patients, which have far fewer side effects and pose less risks, such as physical therapy. When these therapies are incorporated into an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan your healing is likely to be much faster and more complete.

If your Kaplan physician determines that physical therapy will speed your healing, you will be referred to a member of our physical therapy team, which includes: Pat Alomar, Jeanne Scheele, Michele McLellan, and Jessica Coleman. Our physical therapists combine outstanding manual skills with a comprehensive understanding of body mechanics. This enables them to successfully treat a wide range of chronic musculoskeletal pain problems.

Our PTs will spend the better portion of an hour working with you, providing hands-on, deep tissue physical therapy and teaching you exercise programs that you can do at home to help regain your strength and flexibility. Your physical therapist will consult with your physician about your treatment plan and your response to those treatments. The purpose of this ongoing communication between you, your physical therapist, and your physician is to ensure that we support, in every way possible, your body’s ability to heal itself as quickly and as completely as possible.