Functional Medicine

Western medicine is adept at heroic efforts to treat diseases once they manifest, but it is woefully lacking in the ability to deal with chronic illness in its earliest stages of development. Instead of proactively healing the root cause of a disease, the modern medical system seeks to suppress symptoms or improve a lab result simply to turn a profit.

In traditional Chinese medicine, human health is described in terms of “balance” or “imbalance” of various systems which include the name of the organ they involve. Imbalances typically start as pre-clinical conditions, which ultimately manifest in full-blown diseases. Contemporary tools such as blood labs as well as saliva, stool and urine tests can be used to guide the process of restoring balance with lifestyle changes, vitamins, supplements, herbs, and modern adaptations like peptides to restore high levels of function.

What is Functional Chinese Medicine?

Functional medicine seeks to optimize physical function by identifying and correcting underlying causes rather than masking symptoms. It operates with an individualized focus that analyzes each patient from the inside out. Once each imbalance has been identified, patients work with their functional medicine doctors to craft the right care plan with a unique combination of herbs, supplements, dietary changes, exercise programs, and sleep adjustments.

Chinese medicine is the oldest continuously practiced literate form of medicine in the world, dating back nearly 3,000 years. It targets system imbalances with acupuncture, massage, herbs, dietary therapy, and correct thinking. Chinese medicine was the original functional-based medicine, making Functional Chinese Medicine a powerful practice that draws from the strengths of both approaches. By adopting the true spirit of Chinese medicine, Functional Chinese Medicine continues to find the best of what other cultures have to offer and integrates these features into its practice — including contemporary medicine. This approach uses the wealth of information produced by blood labs to get an inside look at internal imbalances and target them with restorative techniques.

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The Five P’s of Functional Medicine






Why is Functional Medicine Needed?

Chronic illnesses are the most common conditions worldwide. These diseases are not fatal in the short term, but they ultimately result in degeneration, further illness, and even premature death. They are often the result of excessive stress, being overweight, eating poorly, environmental toxins, not exercising, not sleeping, and a general lack of balance. However, the modern medical system approaches these systemic issues with pharmaceuticals that only address the symptoms, not the real cause with a preference for “clinical stability” over “vibrant function” which is the true definition of health.

Unfortunately, taking medication does not actually fix these conditions. Even worse, it gives a false sense of reassurance that the problem has been solved. This removes any responsibility we might have to find and correct the true underlying cause. As a result, the condition becomes worse and patients spend thousands on treatments and medical therapies that will never provide true relief. What’s needed is a different approach to health that values integrated full-body wellness and strives to improve every aspect of health, not just a short list of symptoms.

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Checking a patient's thyroid glands

The Case for Pre-Clinical Treatment: Hypothyroidism

If you go to your doctor with fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, and constipation, your doctor would undoubtedly suspect that your thyroid might be underperforming. The standard test for this is a blood lab to measure TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).Your doctor might also look at a thyroid hormone known as T4. If these labs came back normal (i.e. within the “standard” range), you would be told that your tests are normal and there is nothing wrong with your thyroid. .

What we would do differently, include lab tests to tell us if there is an autoimmune issue and if there is a conversion issue of T4 to T3 which would point to the liver or the gut. Should those be indicated, steps would be taken to support those pathways and balance those systems. These measures could correct a “pre-clinical” condition preventing it from ever becoming a full-blown disease state and at the same time eliminating the symptoms, not by suppressing them but by correcting the underlying problem.

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Root Causes – The Key to Healing

The only way to truly heal a chronic condition is to treat the underlying cause. Other approaches, especially those in western medicine, may be able to stop symptoms but they leave root causes untouched. This is a simple “band-aid” solution that allows the real problem to grow worse and become more severe over time. With the right testing, the East Wind team gains a deeper understanding of each patient’s internal functions and can specifically locate which have gone awry. These tests guide the practitioners as they build treatment plans that target the exact source of the problem.

After the care plan is in place, we supplement functional treatments with education to help our patients get a comprehensive picture of what went wrong, how we’re treating it, and how they can adapt their lifestyles to make sure the results last.

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We test, we don’t guess. This stage is about getting to the bottom of the problem. We use testing to decipher symptoms and determine how and why they developed. This gives us the right direction to craft care plans and decide next steps.

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Functional care focuses on restoring balance and helping the body get back to a high-performing state. In addition to time-tested techniques, we also include lifestyle changes to remove harmful triggers and introduce healthy attitudes and healing habits.

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Education (Teaching)

The best way to ensure long-term success is by helping patients understand the logic and science behind our care plan and lifestyle guidance. Rather than leaving our office feeling confused, our patients are empowered to take control of their health and make the best choices to maximize their health.

Treating Inflammation at the Source

Inflammation is the hallmark of a chronic condition or system imbalance. However, like most of these diseases, finding the exact cause can be a challenge. There are countless triggers that can cause inflammation, and more often than not, there are many involved in systemic inflammation and chronic conditions. Although difficult, it’s vital to identify each trigger and develop care plans to target and remedy all of them. This is the quickest and most effective way to start patients on their journey to full-body health.

Physical & Emotional Stress

Food Sensitivities

Hormone Imbalances


Woman suffering physical and emotional stress


Woman suffering physical and emotional stress


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Is Functional Medicine Right for You?

Those who seek out functional medical care are those who are ready to proactively treat their chronic conditions and adapt their lifestyles to accommodate these goals. This means taking the steps necessary to avoid excessive stress, toxins, harmful foods, hormone imbalances, and other common triggers of inflammation. One of the many problems with modern medicine is the large emphasis placed on treating conditions after they’ve started, not before. This leaves millions of people defenseless against debilitating and life-altering diseases that, had they adopted a more holistic lifestyle, could have been prevented. But, waiting and doing nothing is far easier than acting proactively, and countless lives will continue to be impacted until they realize it’s time to make a change.

If you think you may be prone to this way of thinking, ask yourself the questions below:

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When I start feeling pain or discomfort, do I immediately look for a quick fix? Does this come in the form of a pill or another treatment I know won’t help in the long term?

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Do I rely entirely on my doctor to tell me what to do without taking the time to educate myself on how various factors are influencing my health?

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Have I slowly become more sedentary and taken a less active role in keeping my body healthy?

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Do I expect my body to heal just as well as it did when I was younger? Do I think that the choices I make don’t really have an impact on how I feel?

If this sounds like you, please consider changing how you think about your health. Functional medicine may require more work, but the results are well-earned and the healing is long-lasting. With so many unknowns in the medical field, especially concerning cancer and autoimmunity, functional medicine continues to play a vital role in healthcare by healing diseases before they even begin.

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