What is Integrative/Functional Medicine
In integrative or functional medicine, we seek to treat the underlying causes of medical problems so that they heal, rather than just covering up the symptoms with medications. Integrative treatments rely on a foundation of improving diet and lifestyle, enhancing health through the use of nutritional supplements, optimizing natural hormone levels, and removing anything that is toxic to the human body, such as heavy metal and chemical toxins. We specialize in addressing chronic underlying stealth infections. These important and basic aspects of integrative medicine – nutritional science, bioidentical hormones, detoxification and improving immune function – are almost completely overlooked by traditional medical doctors. To improve your overall health, we do extensive testing, patient education, dietary interventions, optimization of body weight, nutraceutical-grade supplements, detoxification, enhancement of gut and immune-system health, and in adults the use of natural bioidentical hormones when needed. For many people, a low normal value on a blood test is not optimal for them and they may not feel well at that level, but their doctor tells them that nothing is wrong. We attempt to achieve optimal values for all nutrients and hormones, placing a high priority on how the patient feels. Many patients have multi-system imbalances that require a comprehensive medical work-up to figure out where their problems lie. We order more advanced tests than many other doctors do when assessing health status. The principles of integrative medicine are learned in specialized medical conferences that like-minded physicians attend.
When a trained integrative medicine doctor, such as Dr. Mielke, is armed with this data, a multi-faceted, individualized treatment plan can be implemented that in general improves the patient’s health and quality of life, and often prevents future illness.
Traditional medical training is heavily influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, which has a huge financial stake in the prescriptions being written. This bias toward drugs is reinforced by the insurance industry, which generally covers only drug-based treatments for diseases, and does not cover preventive or wellness-based treatments. Consequently, most doctors know little about how to use natural agents to enhance health. It is becoming more recognized that the side-effects of many drugs end up causing more problems in the long run. As an example, a symptom like depression can be medically caused by many things – a chronic infection affecting the brain, a deficiency of many different hormones, a deficiency of many nutrients, or chronic low-level exposures to toxins such as lead and mercury. What does a typical doctor do to treat depression? Despite the fact that the brain never has a deficiency of an antidepressant, prescribing an antidepressant is the typical procedure. Our approach always strives to analyze the underlying issue and solve that problem using natural agents whenever possible, prescribing medication when it is needed, but as a last resort - not a first resort.
Out-of-pocket costs are typically higher when seeing an integrative medicine doctor than when seeing a traditional doctor. Integrative practices spend considerably more time with patients than traditional practices do. At our clinic, an intake appointment is usually 30-60 minutes of face time with the doctor. For example, a traditional doctor might see four or more patients in the time that we spend with one.
Check-outs at a regular doctor’s office may take less than five minutes. At an integrative health clinic, check-outs can take up to an hour of staff time, due to the extensive education needed on how to implement the practitioner’s instructions. Fewer patients can be seen in a day. Patients often have many questions about the new information that they are being given, which also requires a great deal of staff time. Also, we are often treating many complex medical issues at the same time, whereas most doctors deal with one medical problem at a time.
We strive to provide comprehensive, personalized medical treatment, so that you will get the greatest benefit from our care. Investment in your Optimal Health and well-being is worth it. After all, what is more important than your health?