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What is Functional Medicine (FM)?


To answer this question, it is first important to briefly look at the strengths and weakness of conventional "allopathic" medicine.

Merriam Webster defines allopathic as:


: relating to or being a system of medicine that aims to combat disease by using remedies (as drugs or surgery) which produce effects that are different from or incompatible with those of the disease being treated  

The keyword to note in the above definition is that allopathic medicine means to combat illness.


Allopathic medicine is unparalled when it comes to saving lives from acute illness or trauma. In this case, the "combative" approach may be the only thing that can help. But when it comes to chronic problems or preventative care, the weaknesses of allopathic medicine become glaringly apparent. When you go to see your medical doctor for a check up or a specific complaint, such as fatigue, your doctor examines you and usually  order's laboratory tests specifically to rule out pathology (i.e. illness) that can be associated with you complaint. If the lab values fall within the so-called normal range, you may be told that nothing is wrong.


Or perhaps you may be told that you do have a problem like hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) or high cholesterol , and that you will need to take medications for a lifetime to control these problems as they put you at higher risk for serious problems like a  heart attack or a stroke. While this is true, seldom are you taught that high blood pressure and cholesterol are not, in themselves, diseases, but are really often signs of an imbalance in biochemical processes occurring in your body. And even when because the numbers on conventional testing are "normal", this does not mean that you do not have a problem.


There is another way. Functional medicine,  is based on the idea that there is a broad spectrum between vibrant health and illness. Many people have symptoms of ill health but may not have a well definable illness. In functional medicine, the goal is to not combat the body by treating a specific illness, but work with it to bring chemical processes into a more harmonious balance. FM uses conventional, and novel, laboratory testing to help determine the biochemical imbalances or "glitches" that may lead to symptoms and sickness. FM can be looked at as detective work for the body.


Functional medicine in no way replaces allopathic medicine for treatment of any illness, but it may be useful as an adjunct to conventional treatment or to help bring the body into a more chemically balanced state so that pharmaceuticals, which often have dangerous or unwanted side effects, may be minimized.


What can functional medicine help me with?

Again, it is important to acknowledge that FM is not a treatment for any particular disease. However, even in cases where you have been diagnosed with a particular disease, FM can be a useful approach to control or minimize symptoms. Some problems that can commonly be helped with this approach include:




Autoimmune Disorders

  rheumatoid arthritis

  Chron's disease


  Ankylosing spondylitis


chronic sinusitis

perimenopausal symptoms


low energy

thyroid and adrenal problems

What Can FM Do For Me?

  1. Improve digestion
  2. Improve absorbtion and utilization of nutrients
  3. Address nutritional deficiencies
  4. Improve bowel elimination
  5. Help with hyperpermeability of intestinal lumen, ie. "Leaky Gut Syndrome"
  6. Improve balance of microflora, ie. bugs, in the gut.
  7. Reduce inflammation
  8. Improve blood sugar regulation
  9. Decrease oxidative stress and excess free radical activity
  10. Improve energy production and utilization in the body
  11. Improve body composition
  12. Improve liver function
  13. Eliminate heavy metals
  14. Improve kidney function
  15. Improve adaptability to stress
  16. Balance hormones
  17. Improve metabolism

How will you approach my problem?

First, we'll have you fill out a very extensive symptom questionairre which can help determine which systems of your body's physiology are under the greatest burden. Next, we'll request you medical records from your previous doctors to see what kind of testing has already been done and what the results were.

Based on the above, we may need to order additional conventional testing, such as comprehensive blood and urinalysis, and stool testing as well as more advanced functionally oriented tests to look for a number of confounding factors including:

Heavy metal toxicity

nutrient testing:

            amino acids

            essential fatty acids

            vitamins and minerals

antioxidant status

food allergy testing

intestinal mucosal barrier testing

sex hormone imbalance

total load on liver-liver detox testing


How will you treat any imbalances you find?


Treatment may include dietary and lifestyle modification and nutritional and herbal supplements that have good evidence to support their use in a particular problem. If we happen to find a problem that requires drug treatment, we will, of course, refer you to a medical doctor for this purpose.





Our Patients Speak!



“I was in excruciating neck pain and arm pain….the treatments Dr. Z provided soon helped bring my pain under control…I feel like I have the old me back.” 

Christine N., Real Estate Agent 


“Better posture…regained balance…increased strength…less tired and able to function with normality…..quality of life improved. 

             Linda F., Housewife 


“At first, my back was killing me as well as my driving foot. I would literally limp after getting out of the car to get in the house. Your chiropractic adjustments helped me recover almost immediately.” 


“I tore my right shoulder rotator cuff..You treated my shoulder with adjustments and the laser and it is better. The doctors at my work are astonished. I teasingly tell them all the time that the only true medicine is Chiropractic medicine. Thank you Dr. Zimmerman-you’re the best.                  Liz R., Manager 


“Chiropractic care eased my neck ache and lower back ache felt after my car accident...I would truly recommend chiropractic care for those who feel that they need to correct posture or those who suffer from back aches, headaches, neck aches, or to just better a lifestyle. I feel that your services are terrific.”-             Ricardo D., 


“Working with Dr. Zimmerman has showed me how much better I can feel without taking medication. This is the only treatment that I have had which has offered me immediate relief.”-Aaron G., Programmer


Dr. Zimmerman's complete approach to wellness is, I think, the way forward for modern medicine. He treated my symptoms and the causes simultaneously, this helped me to correct problems with my posture that were causing my discomfort."-

          Tim W, music producer


Your assistance in ridding myself of bone spurs on my heels worked like a miracle. I have had no pain ever since using your advice and techniques. I have now lost over 50 lbs. and continue to loose slowly. Today I can walk for 2-4 miles comfortably..I continue to tell my friends of your assistance and expertise and refer them to you for services whenever possible. I really do appreciate all you've done for me.-       Linda R., Teacher




The above are all true testimonials from patient’s of Zimmerman Chiropractic and available for viewing in our office. We have not included full last names to protect our patients’ privacy.