What is Naturopathic/Functional Medicine? How is it Different?

Naturopathic and Functional Medicine are the future of healthcare – a beautiful evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses your health and wellness needs and those of the 21st century as a whole.

Instead of the traditional disease-centered focus of conventional practices, I take a more patient-centered approach; functional medicine addresses how you “function” as a whole – not just as an isolated set of symptoms.

I spend a lot of time with my patients listening to their story and histories, always looking at the interactions among lifestyle, environmental, and even genetic factors that can influence long-term health. Working together, I’m able to help support the unique expression of health and vitality for each of my patients.

Utilizing this truly holistic approach, I thoroughly evaluate your health status by assessing fundamental clinical imbalances and addressing modifiable lifestyle factors through careful history taking, physical examination, and laboratory testing.

I greatly appreciate the genuine concern and support Dr. Michelle has extended me as her patient. Her willingness to go above and beyond, and really connect with me and my situation, is both comforting and encouraging.

- Holly in Evansville, IN

Throughout the evaluation process, I will consider multiple factors, including:

  • Environmental Factors – This includes the air you breathe, the water you drink, the foods you eat, the movement you get, and toxic exposures or traumas you’ve experienced – all of these affect your health status.
  • Mind-Body Connections – This includes the psychological, spiritual, and social factors that profoundly influence your health status. Through this lens, I’m able to view you as a whole person – not just your physical symptoms.
  • Genetic Variability – We can’t argue that individual genes may make you more susceptible to certain illness or disease, but your DNA is not a static blueprint for your life! Emerging research shows that your genes can be influenced by everything in your environment, from the food you eat to the emotions you experience – it’s called “epigenetics”. Basically, we’re able to modify the way genes are activated and expressed. Wouldn’t it be nice to “turn up” the good genes, and “turn down” the bad ones? Well, you can!

During my assessment, I’ll be able to identify the areas of imbalance that have caused and/or triggered your current state of health. My thorough understanding of how your body functions, repairs, and maintains itself is essential in helping us heal your tissues from the inside out. When imbalanced, our body experiences certain dysfunctions that we commonly refer to as “symptoms”, such as:

  • Digestion & absorption – constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, heartburn, reflux
  • Hormone imbalances – PMS, PCOS, irregular menses, infertility, menopause, peri-menopause
  • Immune system function – autoimmune conditions, immune insufficiency, frequent colds or flus
  • Inflammation – joint pain, headaches
  • Psychological & spiritual equilibrium – mood imbalances, anxiety, depression, stress
  • Thyroid issues – hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s, Grave’s Disease
  • Toxicosis (toxin build-up) – fatigue, poor sleep, weight gain

Most of these imbalances can be addressed; some can be completely restored to optimum function, and others can be substantially improved.

Dr. Michelle brings to her practice the seamless integration of her training in both naturopathic and Chinese medicine. It is her ability to discern what will be most helpful for each individual that makes her an effective and attentive practitioner. I refer patients to Dr. Michelle regularly for her balanced and compassionate approach. She is an asset to our profession and the community.

Dr. Stephanie Kaplan in Portland, OR

Naturopathic Physician, Passiflora Health

What to expect while working together:

  • Patient-centered care. With this focus, I view health and wellness as empowered vitality; it’s above and beyond simply the absence of dis-ease.
    • You become a partner. As a patient, you become an active and empowered partner along your journey towards deep healing. This partnership allows you to be in charge of improving your own health and changing the outcome of dis-ease. I will not heal you, but I will teach you how to heal yourself!
  • A Holistic Approach. As stated before, most of these dysfunctions can be addressed; some can be completely restored to optimum function, and others can be substantially improved.
    • Prevention is paramount. Virtually every complex, chronic disease (e.g. High Blood Pressure, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Heart Disease, Obesity, Depression, Arthritis, Diabetes, Osteoporosis, COPD, Cancer, Stroke, etc.) stems from long-term functional imbalances that can be identified and effectively addressed. I’m a firm believer in “test don’t guess!”
    • Changing how your body systems function can have a major impact on your health. I thoroughly examine a wide array of available interventions and customize a treatment plan with the goal of making the biggest impact on underlying functionality.
    • I have a huge tool kit at my fingertips. Treatments may include combinations of individualized clinical nutrition plans, herbal medicine, targeted nutrient therapy, acupuncture, Aroma Acupoint Therapy™, detoxification protocols, bio-identical hormone therapy, and pharmaceuticals, when applicable. I will also likely include counseling on lifestyle, exercise, and stress-management techniques.
  • A Comprehensive Science-Based Approach. Unlike conventional approaches, I look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in your history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness.
    • Your unique genetic makeup is considered, along with both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect your overall function.

Although nearly 650 miles away, I contacted Dr. Michelle about my most recent case of swollen hemorrhoids, this one more severe than others. It was literally a real pain in the …!

Dr. Michelle prescribed an over-the-counter treatment that immediately relieved some of the annoying symptoms, and prescribed a medication that I purchased through her supplement supplier, ‘Fullscript’, which I received in just a couple of days. Within a week of communicating with Dr. Michelle, the condition was gone completely. Even better, as a result of her recommended lifestyle changes, the condition has not reappeared. Dr. Michelle showed exceptional attention to not only my existing condition, but to lifestyle changes that would minimize, if not completely eliminate the possibility of recurrence.

Charlie in Clayton, CA

Description of services:

  • Acupuncture
    • Acupuncture is an ancient form of effective, yet gentle energetic medicine. It is very useful for pain conditions, such as joint pain or headaches, but it’s also great for hormone balancing, mood stabilization, and stress management.
  • Aroma Acupoint Therapy™
    • Being a certified Aroma Acupoint Therapist, I utilize the highest quality Snow Lotus essential oils on specific acupuncture points to enhance your treatment experience and its overall effectiveness.
  • Bio-Identical Hormone Therapy
    • When indicated, bio-identical hormones, or hormones that are naturally recognized by your body, are used to help women transitioning through menopause or for those experiencing induced early menopause. Bio-identical hormone therapy may also be utilized during adrenal restoration programs.
  • Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis
    • One of my specialties is in Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, which is a way of interpreting lab results from a holistic and body-systems based approach. Instead of looking at individual lab values, I’m able to see how multiple bio-markers and body systems interact to create a more complete picture of the internal processes of your body.
  • Herbal/Botanical Medicine
    • Trained in both Western and Eastern herbal medicine, I’m able to prescribe and formulate custom tinctures, teas, and other blends to help address, not just your symptoms, but also your overall wellbeing.
  • Individualized Nutrition Plans
    • Healthy nutrition is the backbone to living a life full of vitality. After a thorough assessment, I will make specific nutritional recommendations that will include weekly planners and recipe guides.
  • Nutrient/Supplemental Therapy
    • Following a thorough assessment and Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis, I will make specific nutrient recommendations that may include nutritional or therapeutic supplementation. If appropriate, I may also include nutrient injections, such as B-12 and/or B-Complex injections.
  • Virtual Consulting
    • For clients and patients unable to travel to Vancouver, Washington, I offer phone and video consulting, which can be done from the convenience of your own home or office.

Dr. Michelle is a great listener, great communicator, and great at being nice, but firm. My back feels amazing! I’m really excited to go back to yoga – it’s a great body and life balancer for me.

- Bob in Portland, OR