By Dr. Stephanie Karozos, MD

The goal of this post is to describe to the reader what we at Aspen Integrative Medicine mean when we say we practice Integrative and Functional medicine, as well as what to expect from a visit with an Integrative and Functional medicine doctor.

Integrative Medicine was pioneered by Dr. Andrew Weil. It is described as “healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle.” It utilizes all appropriate therapies, from dietary changes to supplements to manual therapies like osteopathic manipulation and acupuncture, to encourage the body and mind to return to a state of health. Integrative Medicine takes a deeper look at dis-ease in the body and mind, and employs an open-minded and evidence based (whenever possible) approach to healing.  At the core of Integrative Medicine is the relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider. Your Integrative Medicine doctor wants to help you heal by empowering you and helping you to find the right tools to heal yourself. You can expect to build a healthy, therapeutic relationship with your Integrative Medicine doctor that will give you a safe space to learn and heal.

Functional Medicine is a system of thinking that, like Integrative Medicine, came from a sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo in medicine. Functional Medicine similarly looks at the whole picture of health, and rather than focusing on one diagnosis (as can be the case with more conventional medical care), it tries to treat the broader underlying cause of that diagnosis. It also focuses on helping the body and mind to return to a healthy state. It focuses on utilizing knowledge of biological systems to identify the root cause of disease. Your body can turn genes on and off in different environments and with different stimuli, leading to either disease states or healthy states. Functional Medicine works to optimize those environments and stimuli by adjusting your diet, mental wellbeing, lifestyle, medications and supplements, and reducing toxin exposure. Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine are two different but complementary systems of thought and approaches to care that can be used together by a practitioner to create an individualized plan to optimize your health.

What to expect from an Integrative/Functional medicine visit at Aspen Integrative Medicine:

-An evaluation of the health of your mind, body, and spirit with focus on restoring your innate ability to heal yourself

-A longer visit than a typical medical office to allow us to thoroughly investigate your history and current state of health

-Partnering with us on your healing journey, empowering you to take an active role in your healing and health rather than simply being told what to do by a doctor

-Working to treat the root cause of ailments, rather than only treating symptoms

-Always utilizing the least invasive, most natural treatments whenever possible

-Open-mindedness to using newer treatments and conventional medicine when indicated and appropriate

-Using testing when appropriate and with discernment to identify underlying causes of health dysfunction

-A longitudinal and malleable health journey, periodically adjusting your plan together to meet your evolving needs

If this resonates with you, give us and call and we would be happy to discuss what we can do for you!