What Is Functional Medicine?

Restores Health by Identifying the Root Cause

Functional Medicine asks how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. It is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing factors to an individual’s illness.  

The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes. 

By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual. 


Benefits of Functional Medicine:

The Six Core Foundations

  • Gene-Environment Interaction

  • Upstream Signal Modulation

  • Multimodal Treatment Plans

  • Understanding the Patient

  • Systems Biology-Based Approach

  • Patient-Centered and Directed 



Gene-Environment Interaction

Functional Medicine is based on understanding the metabolic processes of each individual at the cellular level. By knowing how each person’s genes and environment interact to create their unique biochemical phenotype, it is possible to design targeted interventions that correct the specific issues that lead to destructive processes such as inflammation and oxidation, which are at the root of many diseases.  



Upstream Signal Modulation

Functional Medicine interventions seek to influence biochemical pathways “upstream”and prevent the overproduction of damaging end products, rather than blocking the effects of those end products. For example, instead of using drugs that block the last step in the production of inflammatory mediators (NSAIDs, etc.), Functional Medicine treatments seek to prevent the upregulation of those mediators in the first place.  



Multimodal Treatment Plans

The Functional Medicine approach uses a broad range of interventions to achieve optimal health with restorative and reparative therapies. These interventions are all tailored to address the antecedents, triggers, and mediators of disease or dysfunction in each individual patient.  


Below are just a few key approaches:


  • Stress

  • Movement

  • Sleep & Rest

  • Phytonutrient

  • Diet

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Pharmaceutical



Understanding the Patient in Context

Functional Medicine uses a structured process to uncover the significant life events of each patient’s history to gain a better understanding of who they are as an individual. IFM tools (the “Timeline” and the “Matrix” model) are integral to this process for the role they play in organizing clinical data and mediating clinical insights. This approach to the clinical encounter ensures that the patient is heard, engenders the therapeutic relationship, expands therapeutic options, and improves the collaboration between patient and clinician.  



Systems Biology-Based Approach

Functional Medicine uses systems biology to understand and identify how core imbalances in specific biological systems can manifest in other parts of the body. Rather than an organ systems-based approach, Functional Medicine addresses core physiological processes that cross anatomical boundaries including: assimilation of nutrients, cellular defense and repair, structural integrity, cellular communication and transport mechanisms, energy production, and biotransformation. The “Functional Medicine Matrix” is the clinician’s key tool for understanding these network effects and provides the basis for the design of effective multimodal treatment strategies. 



Patient-Centered and Directed

Functional Medicine practitioners work with the patient to find the most appropriate and acceptable treatment plan to correct, balance, and optimize the fundamental underlying issues in the realms of mind, body, and spirit. Beginning with a detailed and personalized history, the patient is welcomed into the process of exploring their story and the potential causes of their health issues. Patients and providers work together to determine the diagnostic process, set achievable health goals, and design an appropriate therapeutic approach. 



What a session looks like?

First Consultation:  

As a new patient, Dr. Sandy Ziya will review comprehensive health history including all organ systems, blood panels/recommendations, and neurological tests. She will ask questions to identify root patterns that present as symptoms such as pain, insomnia, GI distress, infertility, anxiety.  Western and Chinese pulses, blood pressure and body palpation will assist in diagnosis.  


After the Initial Evaluation and Information Gathering the Treatment will Begin which will Include Any of the Following: 

  • Acupuncture Needling 

  • Laser Therapy 

  • Infrared Lamp Therapy Stationary Cupping 

  • Moving Cupping 

  • Magnetic Cupping Moxa//Liquid or Burning Homeopathic Injection 

  • Gua Sha (Deep Tissue Tools) Ozone Injection** March 2019 Chinese Topicals  

  • Chinese Herbals Prescriptions Neutraceutical Prescriptions Diagnostic Orders 

  • Blood Panel Orders  

  • Lifestyle Coaching Exercise Coaching Nutrition Coaching Referrals  


Follow-Up One Hour Session Can Include the Below:

  • Acupuncture

  • Cupping

  • Laser Therapy

  • Heat therapy

  • Moxibustion or Injection Therapy