The Wellness Library

Introduction to Functional Medicine

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Most Popular, Wellness

If you asked me what questions I receive most commonly it would be these: What is functional medicine? Is functional medicine right for me? Is MIMC the right fit for me?

While functional medicine is on the rise and gaining popularity quickly over the last several years, there are still opportunities every single day to share with our community about what we do and why we’re so passionate about it. As someone who does not have a background in medicine, I was completely mystified by the concept when first introduced and have found how powerful an educational moment can be for potential patients. Let’s break it down!

What is functional medicine?

As described on the Institute for Functional Medicine’s website, “functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of the disease’. In contrast, allopathic medicine (what we all know as the conventional or Western medical system) is a “method of treating disease with remedies (such as surgery or drugs) that produce different effects from those caused by the disease’ (

Functional medicine might use a combination of dietary and lifestyle changes and herbal supplements to treat the root cause of a patient’s symptoms and conventional (allopathic) might prescribe a medication to ward off the symptoms that the patient’s disease is causing.

RELATED: About Our Process

At Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center, we’ve adopted a method of practice commonly referred to as integrative medicine. We take the best of both functional and allopathic principles to customize treatment plans to each and every patient. We recognize that functional medicine is an incredible tool to get to the root cause of disease, but a patient may still need conventional treatment like prescriptions or surgery in order to reach their goals. In our opinion, the greatest strength of integrative medicine is the ability to customize a journey for all of our patients and their unique needs.

How do I know if functional medicine is right for me?

Simply put, functional medicine is right for you if you’re looking for a unique perspective on your health. As addressed above, allopathic medicine is not inherently bad. However, it’s not a method of treatment designed to look to the root cause of your symptoms. Things we hear from our patients about why they pursued functional medicine:

“My provider told me my labs were normal, but through my own research I understand that ‘within normal limits’ isn’t the end-all, be-all”

“My provider told me I should just start ‘xyz’ medication and all of my symptoms will go away, but I’m interested in healing the root cause of my disease”

As humans, we all have an innate ability to know internally when something isn’t quite right. We empower our patients to hone in on that intuition!

3 things to consider when searching for a provider

  1. Location, location, location! Consider whether or not having an option to see your provider in person is important to you. In today’s world, we’re all fully accustomed to and enjoy the flexibility that virtual appointments allow. Our office continues to see patients both in person and virtually so that everyone gets the experience they desire.
  1. Does the provider that you’re interested in seeing have experience treating the symptoms and/or condition that you want to have addressed? One of the first questions we ask potential patients is what the symptoms or concerns they’re looking to have addressed are. We want to make sure that our providers are well versed in the areas of concern that a patient has to ensure you’re with the best fit possible! We continue to build our team of incredible providers and even recently onboarded a Naturopathic Doctor with a speciality in integrative oncology! 
  1. Access to various treatment modalities. At Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Center, we utilize a combination of diet and lifestyle changes, herbal supplements, intramuscular injections like Vitamin D3 and intravenous infusions like multi-nutrient IVs and Venofer infusions when clinically appropriate. Consider where you’re seeking treatment and inquire about the types of treatment modalities they employ. The world of medicine is always growing and evolving!

RELATED: On Your Team: How Membership at MIMC Works

My hope is that if you’re confused about functional medicine and wondering if it’s the right fit for you, you can glean a better idea of the basics from my breakdown. Have any other questions about functional medicine? Get in touch with us here!
Ready to dive into functional medicine? If you’re located in Minnesota or Wisconsin, you can reach out to us about scheduling your initial appointment here! For patients located outside of these states, we recommend you search for your state’s chapter of the Association of Naturopathic Physicians or for a functional medicine provider trained by the Institute of Functional Medicine.


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