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Functional, Integrative, and Lifestyle Medicine

Leading the Way Back to Holistic

There has been a lot of “buzz” in recent years in the medical field around the “biopsychosocial” approach. This is a fancy way of saying whole-person, which is also often referred to as “Holistic”. It is not a “new” concept, but it has been largely forgotten or ignored in the “Western/conventional/allopathic” medical arena for generations until recently.

Dr. Garner is a pioneer in leading the integration of the biopsychosocial approach into physical therapy practice, and she developed Medical Therapeutic Yoga (MTY) in the process. MTY is a natural way of integrating the pillars of lifestyle medicine into physical therapy practice, given that the practice of yoga is centuries old and has always integrated spiritual, physical, and energetic wellness. 

She has further expanded on these concepts to include all of the pillars of Lifestyle Medicine. She now teaches an Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine Certification designed for PTs, OTs, and ATCs and co-authored her newest textbook Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine in Physical Therapy: A Guide for primary care, health promotion, and disease prevention

Dr. Garner is on the forefront of using Functional and Lifestyle Medicine in physical therapy practice, which is treating the whole person and looking for root cause, instead of just treating symptoms. This can include working in a team setting to make sure appropriate labs, endocrine factors, and environmental influences are considered in disease and injury prevention and treatment. It also includes addressing nutrition, sleep, and stress management, not just exercise, as a means to whole health and wellness. 

Our Guiding Principle

The 5 Pillars of Integrative Health are:

  1. Diet and nutrition
  2. Mental/emotional/spiritual health
  3. Sleep and relaxation
  4. Physical activity 
  5. Social & environmental influences 
functional integrative lifestyle (FILM)

When Do You Need FILM?

Functional, Integrative, and Lifestyle Medicine (FILM) is an approach that can be used to treat and reverse the most common lifestyle conditions, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Endometriosis
  • Poor mental health
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

As Providers at Garner Pelvic Health in Greensboro, NC, we integrate the concepts of FILM into each and every visit. When you may require intervention that is outside of our scope (such as a prescription for bioidentical hormones etc.), we will refer you to other providers who follow a similar approach as often as possible.

Why So Many Names?

There is a lot of overlap between the different categories that fall into this realm, with subtle differences. Below is a short breakdown of Functional, Integrative, and Lifestyle Medicine terms in case you care to understand the differences. 

While they may use different techniques, providers who practice FILM should address all the same underlying concerns. These are where the “pillars” come in. 

Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine is a type of healthcare that focuses on finding and treating the root cause of disease. It uses tests to look for things like nutrient deficiencies, immune problems, and food intolerances and also considers things like stress, sleep, and lifestyle. This approach is useful for chronic and complex health problems, and the Institute of Functional Medicine in the US is a leader in this field.

Functional Medicine providers often live by the phrase “test, don’t guess,” and they rely heavily on special testing to help determine the root cause of illness. Unfortunately, these tests may or may not be covered by insurance companies who currently are focused on Allopathic or “Conventional” approaches that often do not provide the same results for individuals with complex health concerns. 

Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine is a way to improve health and well-being using different types of therapies, such as conventional medicine, nutrition, and natural treatments like acupuncture and herbal medicine. It can help prevent and treat health problems by looking at the root cause of the issue and addressing it with a variety of tools. This approach to healthcare started in the US and is popular in many countries around the world.

Natural medicine and integrative medicine are the same things, just under different titles based on what certifying board provides the credential or what prior education the person has completed. In the U.S., only licensed doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can be included in a degree program titled “Integrative Medicine”.

Lifestyle Medicine

Lifestyle Medicine is all about making healthy choices to prevent health problems. It involves things like eating healthy food, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, removing environmental endocrine disruptors, and managing stress in a positive way. This is an important foundation for good health and can help people take control of their own health and well-being.

Contact Us Today

Schedule your FREE phone consultation today with the board-certified therapists at Garner Pelvic Health if you have questions on how we integrate FILM into our practice and how it could help you!