What is Functional Medicine?
The field of Functional Medicine is steadily becoming more mainstream in overall healthcare as patients demand a more preventive approach rather than a reactive, symptom-based approach. Functional Medicine utilizes customized patient-centered, physical, nutrition-based and lifestyle therapies to address the underlying causes of a patient’s medical problem, disease, or dysfunction.
In contrast, conventional medicine often uses an orthodox model of care that works to diagnose and treat a patient’s symptoms and then match them with a standard, corresponding medication, or treatment without necessarily looking into the root cause of the patient’s medical problem. This model can be helpful in treating injuries, infections, trauma, or acute disease, but it isn’t always the best approach for treating chronic diseases such as hormonal, metabolic, neurological, digestive, toxic exposures, autoimmune or allergic conditions. This is where Functional Medicine really shines.
Functional Medicine at The Barr Center:
The Functional Medicine Program at The Barr Center takes the approach that every person is unique, both genetically and biochemically, and therefore one medicine or treatment does not fit all. Harnessing the natural healing mechanisms of the body, Functional Medicine aims to treat the whole individual rather than just the disease or set of symptoms. As Functional Medicine practitioners, we work with our patients to address the underlying cause of disease in order to promote optimum well-being from the ‘outside in’ as well as from the ‘inside out’.
The arena of Functional Medicine is becoming an increasingly effective and popular solution for patients who are dealing with a chronic disease, as well as for those who have a propensity to develop certain diseases due to family history. It is also a very effective way to learn how to age gracefully.
Functional Medicine focuses on 4 basic principles:
By taking a swab of DNA from one’s mouth we can look at the individual’s genetic tendencies, along with environmental and lifestyle factors that can have an influence on their overall health and chronic disease. This information is then used as a baseline to create a personalized treatment plan and a way to benchmark meaningful changes. Various influences called epigenetic factors that can impact the development and progression of some chronic diseases are also identified. We have seen that when our patients see in black and white the potential impact of certain exposures then they are more apt to make important changes. These changes can often impact gene expression improving overall health, vitality, and longevity. Seeing is believing! This leads people to aha moments that can help support behavioral change that is central to achieving success.
In addition to employing the most up-to-date genetic science testing we assess the status of how one’s bodily systems are working using different urine, blood, and stool testing. Recent studies show that one thing centenarians have in common is a healthy gut microbiome. Using a variety of functional medicine testing we can assess if there are food intolerances, disruptions in gut function, imbalances in the gut microbiome and then remediate issues, guiding each patient to their optimal state of function. Testing nutrient and hormone levels and looking for potential autoimmunity is also central to our assessment and treatment. At times when toxic exposures may be a factor, we can look at the environment in which someone lives for clues about their health challenges.
Our objective is for our practitioners to be able to pinpoint why certain symptoms are exhibited in an individual in the first place. Then guide people to the best path to health.
Functional Medicine incorporates lifestyle changes, mind-body techniques and natural remedies as much as possible to treat the manifestations of different diseases within each individual.
Active Approach to Healing
We have addressed the notion that Functional Medicine aims to optimize the functioning of the individual’s organs, cells and tissues and to help prevent diseases associated with aging and inflammation. We like the analogy of healing the body from the ‘inside out’ as opposed to simply treating the outward manifestations of the physical imbalance
While healing from the ‘inside out’ is central to Functional Medicine, we recognize that our patients often seek our help because they have pain. They may seek care to fix a painful knee, back, hip or shoulder. Treating a particular pain issue from the ‘outside in’ is a great start. We routinely assess the physical body thoroughly with a postural and gait assessment, as well as assessing strength, muscle balance and coordination.
We use tools to include diagnostic ultrasound to help make accurate diagnoses and then implement treatment starting with Osteopathic Manipulation, injections, and regenerative medicine. The goal of addressing and optimizing physical function is key to getting people moving so that they can have fun and live a full life. The secondary benefits include positively impacting blood flow and brain function and developing resilience in dealing with gravity. This process helps with injury prevention and accelerates recovery when injuries occur, or pain starts to take over one’s life. Plus, it’s important to move your DNA. In addition to the therapies offered in house we work closely with a myriad of local and regional physical therapists, Chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists, and trainers to ensure that our patients get to their very best level of function. We can coordinate your care and make sure you see the best provider and achieve the best outcome.
Re-Balance of Body Systems
It is clear that stress is the number one cause of chronic disease. The effects of stress impact all aspects of the human body, mind and spirit. But the body has a natural ability to balance and self-regulate all of its internal systems using a process called Homeostasis. As I explain in my book Outsmart Your Pain, Functional Medicine can help to provide insights about how to mitigate the effects of stress as well as correct the imbalance of substances within the cells of the body which may have become imbalanced as a result of illness, infections, medication, genetic, environmental or lifestyle factors. We encourage our patients to understand what stress looks like and what it feels like as well as how to effectively manage stress by learning to manage their nervous system using a variety of mind-body techniques.
The Goal: Optimizing Health and Wellness
Ultimately, Functional Medicine at the Barr Center focuses on optimizing an individual’s health, wellness, and vitality. Our unique ‘Outside in and Inside out’ Functional Medicine Model can be used to prevent, treat, or slow the progression of many autoimmune, painful and degenerative conditions throughout the body. To learn more about our comprehensive Functional Medicine program come in for a consultation and learn how to get the process started.
Can the Barr Center Help You with Pain Relief?
Call us at 757-578-2260 or email us at [email protected] to get started on Functional Medicine therapies that relieve your pain.
Additional Reading About Fucntional Medicine:
What is Functional Medicine
Introduction to Functional Medicine
Lifestyle Recommendations for Chronic Fatigue and Pain Syndromes
IFM – Functional Medicine Tree
Conditions we treat: Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, Back Pain, Hip Pain and Knee Pain. We sometimes combine Physical Therapy in our treatments.
Health Care Affiliations
Thrive Proactive Health
Innovative Physical Therapy
Restorative Physical Therapy
Virginia Beach Physical Therapy and Wellness
Reboot – Virginia Beach
Stability Crossfit Gym
Sentara – Norfolk General Hospital
Reach Out To Us About Medication-Free Treatment.
“Dr. Barr is trained in both Pain Management and Functional Medicine and gets to root cause of a disease. After running tests, she diagnosed me with Ehlers Danlos syndrome and Epsten Barr Virus. No other doctor ever mentioned these conditions to me, and one left me in declining health at age 30. Dr. Barr is treating me with herbs to kill the virus and restore my immune system. I could not be more lucky, grateful, and so blessed she walked into my life. Visiting Dr. Barr is worth it.”
Outsmart Your Pain!
by Lisa Barr, M.D.
The Essential Guide to Overcoming Pain and Transforming Your Life.
Learn how to kick the pain habit and master your pain from a pain management doctor.
International Best-Selling Author