What is Functional Diagnostic Medicine?
Functional diagnostic medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a patient’s health concern rather than only addressing isolated symptoms. It is based on the evidence that lifestyle habits are major contributors to chronic disease, and is highly patient-specific investigative medicine that takes a holistic perspective in understanding genetic, biological, metabolic, environmental, social, and lifestyle factors that are responsible for the current functional state of the body. Functional diagnostic medicine is often utilized to address chronic disease and health concerns, but it is also utilized by well patients for prevention – to support lifelong health; to promote healthy longevity and wellbeing.
Functional diagnostic medicine and conventional medicine (also called allopathic or Western medicine) are both modern medical approaches used by clinicians to address health concerns. The difference between using the lens of conventional medicine or using the lens of functional diagnostic medicine is in the details. Functional diagnostic medicine is a patient specific modern approach that addresses functional imbalances underlying your concern – in addition to relieving your symptoms.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine at AIMA of Nashua, PLLC blends the best of modern conventional medicine techniques with time-tested traditional medicine practices. We utilize an approach of integrative medical care that is centered on the patient’s needs and treats the individual (as opposed to treating a condition, symptom, or diagnosis). Integrative medicine incorporates holistic medicine, which makes use of the mind, body and spirit connection to promote wellness. It values healing as much as curing, and it affirms the importance of relationship, collaboration and choice in medicine.
What to Expect During Your Treatment
During your first visit, we will work together to determine the underlying cause of the concern which brought you in to see me. I will complete a comprehensive and detailed evaluation including past medical and family history, vital signs, general body systems and lifestyle habits.
A diagnosis will be made, and we will decide if you would be best served as an acupuncture and integrative medicine patient, as a functional medicine patient, or both. Acupuncture and integrative medicine visits will be separate from functional medicine visits. We will discuss your individualized plan of care (including frequency and duration). The length and course of your treatment will vary depending on your diagnosis and how long you have had your concern.
After your evaluation is complete, we may move from the consultation room to an exam room where you will receive your first treatment if it is indicated. Your initial consultation will last approximately 1-1.5 hours and follow up visits last approximately 30-45 minutes.
Your treatment plan will be highly individualized to your specific needs. It will require your active participation for an optimal outcome, and you will be asked to complete a pre visit Check-In before each appointment that guides your treatment. Your care may include a combination of the following:
Functional Medicine Visit
- Systems biology-based modern approach, considering how body systems work as a whole
- Evidence based demonstrated improvement in health related quality of life reported by patients
- Highly patient-specific and investigative medicine
- Considers biomarkers, genetics, and lifestyle
- Identifies root cause of illness
- Addresses underlying functional imbalances
- Often utilized to address chronic health concerns
- Often utilized by well patients for prevention and healthy longevity
- Functional medicine visits may include:
- Prescription of nutraceuticals, herbal medicine customized formulation, supplements, topical medicinals
- Stress management education
- Lifestyle counseling
- Dietary and nutritional counseling
- Sleep hygiene education
- Instruction in breathing techniques
- Instruction in meditation and relaxation techniques
Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine Visit
- Laser Acupuncture (photobiomodulation; non-insertive acupoint therapy utilizing low level laser therapy; a modern acupuncture method)
- Non-needle (non-insertive treatment of acupoints utilizing laser, electrical stimulation, pressure, or tapping)
- Insertive-needle (insertion of sterile, fine, surgical stainless steel filiform acupuncture needles; traditional acupuncture)
- Orthopedic trigger point acupuncture (acupuncturist expertise for release of trigger points; gentle, comfortable, and effective)
- Neuro-acupuncture (modern acupuncture technique with traditional Chinese needling, scalp acupuncture informed by the conventional medicine concept of neurological function in treating neurological disorders).
- Acupuncture and integrative medicine adjunctive techniques, both modern and traditional, including:
- Chinese medical massage (tui na) and conventional massage, yoga and tai chi or conventional therapeutic exercise and stretching for wellness and injury rehabilitation, application of heat, ice, electrical stimulation, pulsed electromagnetic frequency therapy, low level laser therapy (cold laser therapy), education in self care and health maintenance.
What should you expect with acupuncture?
You may choose to receive non-needle acupuncture or traditional needle acupuncture.
Treatment with traditional needle acupuncture should be comfortable, and many patients find it to be relaxing. Fine, sterile needles will be carefully inserted into the chosen acupuncture points during your treatment. The needles used are sterile surgical stainless-steel, and disposable. The are very thin and have a rounded tip that is designed to gently part the skin, unlike the sharp cutting end of conventional medical hypodermic needles.
Acupuncture needles differ from hypodermic needles in that they are solid and are ultra thin, similar in diameter to microfilaments or fiber optics. Acupuncture needles are far less likely to cause tissue damage, infection, pain, or bruising upon insertion.
As a general guideline, we will know if acupuncture is going to help you within the first several treatments. Many patients experience positive results after their first session. A common misconception is that you must “believe” in acupuncture in order for it to work. As with Western medicine, acupuncture will work equally with those who believe and those who do not. It is interesting to note that acupuncture is widely and effectively used in veterinary medicine, and animals are not able to judge or assess the efficacy of treatment.