whole body approaches

What Is Functional Medicine

The goal of functional health medicine is to determine why you are sick. Functional medicine believes an imbalance in your body can cause several conditions, or even suffering from a single condition can be the result of several biological imbalances. Functional Care

What Is Functional Medicine

Functional medicine believes an imbalance in your body can cause several conditions, or even suffering from a single condition can be the result of several biological imbalances.  

The Functional Medicine Approach 

Functional medicine does not strictly adhere to the practice of identifying a disease and only treating the symptoms of that disease. It takes a patient-centered approach and considers all aspects of the person to diagnose and treat them to restore balance in the body. As a biology-based practice, a functional medicine doctor applies methods founded in science and also takes environmental and lifestyle factors that contribute to disease into account. The doctor will gather a patient’s full history, including personal, family, social, and medical. They take all these factors into consideration along with any other triggers, such as nutrition, stress, allergens, hormonal changes, microbiome (the bacteria living in your gut), prescription and over-the-counter medications, and other lifestyle influences. Then, using a science-based approach, doctors will create a plan of care that is unique to the individual and addresses the issue at the direct cause.

There are six core foundations in functional medicine that are important to note: 

• Gene-environment interaction:

The understanding of how genetics and environment work together to shape a person and how diseases occur and affect them individually. By knowing this, a more personalized form of treatment can be designed to fix the “root” of the issue(s). 

• Upstream signal modulation- 

This is the attempt to influence biochemical pathways and prevent inflammatory mediators from occurring, to begin with. Typically, regular pharmaceutical drugs stop these mediators at the end. 

• Multimodal treatment plans

Using multiple methods, such as nutrition, exercise, stress management, functional health attempts to give each individual a plan of care that specifically addresses their issues. 

• Understanding the patient in context

By gathering the patient’s history, doctors can better understand why an illness has occurred in that person and give a more targeted treatment.  

• Systems biology

based approach- Using systems biology, rather than organ systems, to determine imbalances in the body and biological systems and how those imbalances present themselves as diseases or other ailments.   

• Patient-centered and directed

Functional health doctors actively work with the patient to create a plan of care and establish goals for the patient to establish optimum health and balance in the body. Doctors take patient’s opinions into account and it is more of a collaborative partnership than one might get with a traditional practitioner.  

Those who practice functional medicine believe that health is a continuum and is bound to change over the course of time. Anyone struggling with chronic pain may greatly benefit from seeing a doctor that treats in functional medicine, especially if traditional medical treatments have been unsuccessful in the past. 

Functional care has been developed as a response to traditional practices (i.e. identify problem(s) and prescribe medication). This leads to a situation where people are only managing symptoms and not addressing the underlying causes. The Institute for Functional Health Medicine (considered the leading educators in the field) has created the functional health medicine matrix, which is a tool that clinicians are trained to use in identifying the root issue and facilitating treatment. Composed of seven categories, under which a physician can classify where a patient's imbalances are originating from, doctors are given a better understanding of how to approach treatment. 

The seven categories are as follows: 

1. Assimilation: digestion, absorption, microbiota/GI, respiration 

This is the process of the body breaking down food that is consumed and the absorption of nutrients and conversion of energy from that food.  

2. Defense and repair: immune, inflammation, infection/microbiota

This is the way the immune system repairs tissue and fights to protect against foreign bodies such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. If this system is not functioning as it is supposed to then the body can become susceptible to a variety of ailments, like chronic inflammation. 

3. Energy: energy regulation, mitochondrial function 

Working all the way to the mitochondria in the cells, this system takes the energy that is produced from the nutrients the body intakes and powers the body. It has the ability to affect whether a person can achieve great athletic feats or is constantly run down and tired. 

4. Biotransformation and elimination: toxicity, detoxification 

The way the body creates and eliminates waste from chemical reactions that take place when the body is converting nutrients to energy. When not working properly, toxins can quickly build up in the body, or seemingly unrelated issues can easily disrupt this system. 

5. Transport: cardiovascular and lymphatic systems 

The interconnections of the body and how different functions of the body are transported throughout. Energy is transported through the body to make it work optimally and when transportation is interrupted then systems start to break down. 

6. Communication: endocrine, neurotransmitters, immune messengers 

The way the endocrine system, such as the thyroid, male and female hormones, pancreas, etc., interacts with the nervous system. 

7. Structural integrity: subcellular membranes to musculoskeletal integrity 

These are the different parts that hold the body together, including muscle, veins, tissue, cells. So the breakdown in the integrity of the cardiovascular system can lead to things like heart disease. 

Under the functional care model, patients are given an individualized plan that specifically targets the cause of their illnesses. Clinicians will get to know the patient as a person and take their input into consideration, creating a better sense of trust for patients. If someone has not been satisfied with a traditional general practitioner, then it may be time to consider a doctor who specializes in functional medicine and can provide a higher level of service.  

Functional Medicine Treatments 

Shakthi Health and Wellness Center offers several functional medicine approaches to treatment. Dr. Jyothi Rao understands the critical role functional medicine plays in maintaining wellness for each individual as well as the larger community. Our practice offers services that can be incorporated in your daily wellness regimenPatients will have access to nutrition recommendations and advice when training for physical activity. She can evaluate your eating habits and determine ideal ways to incorporate plant-based food to improve gut health. Shakthi Health and Wellness Center also offers diagnostic testing to evaluate inflammation levels, hormone balances, and recommendations to reduce stress.

Other Approaches 

Dr. Jyothi Rao offers other approaches to wellness & Functional Care for enhanced vitality for her patients. Patients will have access to nutrition recommendations and advice when training for physical activity. She can evaluate your eating habits and determine ideal ways to incorporate plant-based food to improve gut health. Shakthi Health and Wellness Center offers: 

  • Dietary Modification Programs 
  • Lymphatic Enhancement Technology (LET) 
  • Acupuncture 
  • Nitric Oxide Testing 
  • Infrared Sauna Therapy 
  • IV Infusion Therapy 

Get Started 

If you are interested in learning why functional medicine is important, or would like more information about improving your health and wellness, CALL Shakthi Health and Wellness Center today! You can speak to one of our dedicated staff members who will set up your consultation with Dr. Jyothi Rao. Dr. Rao is a deeply experienced specialist who will effectively evaluate your symptoms and optimize your body’s vitality. Call (301) 703-5067 and speak to our concierge staff to schedule your appointment today! 

Get in touch

(301) 703-5067


2702 Back Acre Circle Suite 190c Mt. Airy, MD 21771


Testimonials
Above And Beyond

I came to see Dr. Rao with symptoms of chronic fatigue, abdominal pains, depression, and weight gain. I had seen a couple other doctors and they had found that I had very high inflammation levels and over 15 food allergies/sensitivities. They wanted me to just take prescription drugs, but I wanted more than a quick fix. I wanted my health and my life back!

Anna Smoot

A Breath of Fresh Air

At Shakthi, you are met with a breath of fresh air, literally. A swoosh of good smells, ginger tea, a change in the energy that lifts you up before you even begin the treatment you came for. The choices are infinite, the staff warm and welcoming, rest assured you are in good hands.

Genie Herrin

Shakthi Blogs
Follow us
Contact Us

(301) 703-5067


2702 Back Acre Circle Suite 190c Mt. Airy, MD 21771


Meet Our Team

Integrative Medicine Providers

Our Providers

Our practice believes enhancing your vitality is possible through holistic lifestyle changes. Integrative medicine focuses on the relationship between your mind, body, and soul. We are mindful of this significant union when supporting your path to whole body wellness. 

Our team is composed of skilled medical professionals who are highly knowledgeable in the practice of holistic integrative therapies. We believe patients shouldn’t have to settle for “quick fixes” for their health.  

Our patients are provided with healing-oriented therapies, combining complementary and conventional medicine to promote whole body wellness.   

Our Center believes in the infinite possibilities of health through finite change to one’s lifestyle. We use diagnostic tests to identify deficiencies and develop treatment plans that puts patients back on the path to health and vitality restoring stability and balance.

We believe patients shouldn’t settle. Our practice is not a revolving door. We listen, and most importantly, we hear you. When it comes to your health and well-being, don’t you want to be heard.