For several years now there has been a paradigm shift in medicine. More and more people are being dissatisfied with the status quo—they want better results. Taking pills for pain, for example, has caused an epidemic in our country and has resulted in too many unnecessary deaths. People are spending billions of dollars out of pocket for natural and herbal substances and turning to alternative medicines to enhance healing, recognizing that many pills designed for specific illnesses are not the answer for everyone with the same illness. In an effort to get some of those billions of dollars, some insurance companies are now including such alternative methods as chiropractic in their health coverage.
There is now a new branch of medicine—Functional Medicine (a form of holistic medicine). The best way to understand Functional Medicine is to compare it to Standard Medicine. In Standard Medicine, the doctor diagnoses the patient’s problem and finds a medication that minimizes or hides the symptoms. In Functional Medicine, the doctor diagnoses the patient’s problem and seeks the cause of the diagnosis. In other words: Why does the patient’s body have this problem? What is the cause of this diagnosis? Then the doctors seek to eliminate the cause(s).
For Example: When my blood pressure became unusually high, my doctor wanted me to take blood pressure medicine to lower it. There are many things that could cause a rise in blood pressure. To make a long story short, I asked questions and did a lot of thinking and researching. I had stopped drinking liquids when I was wheelchair bound for months after surgery—two surgeries in a row. (It’s much harder for women than men to empty one’s bladder when wheelchair bound!) In an experiment, I had my roommate (a health professional) take my blood pressure one morning. As expected, it was too high. I drank 64 ounces of water during that day. By evening my blood pressure was normal. My elevated blood pressure was due to dehydration—not enough water in my body so my kidneys were not functioning properly. This is an example of Functional Medicine. The high blood pressure pills would have added additional chemicals and side effects to my body without dealing with the cause. Since the cause would have remained the same, my diagnosis of hypertension would have also remained the same. By increasing my intake of water, the cause of my hypertension was eliminated. I no longer have hypertension. In general, this is how doctors of Functional Medicine work.
Finally, I’ve met a doctor of Functional Medicine who specializes in finding the causes of a person’s illness – WHY a person is ill. Until now (And I’ve lost count of how many doctors I’ve seen in my life—over a dozen in the past two years alone.) doctors I’ve seen and heard about only one (an internist who uses both traditional and holistic medicines) treated some of my symptoms of illnesses. None ever discovered the cause.
Dr. Julio M. Jimenez DC, owner of the Imagine Wellness Centre in San Antonio, Texas started out as a Doctor of Chiropractic. As he explained in one of his free dinner seminars, he returned to school to learn more about the workings of the body to be able to better help his patients actually heal from their illnesses instead of managing their illnesses by decreasing their symptoms. As his website states: “We are not a center with traditional protocols dictated by insurance and pharmaceutical companies.” For this reason, he does not participate with insurance companies.
NOTE: I recently had an appointment with a local internist for a yearly check-up. It was explained to me that I could not be given an EKG since I did not have prior approval from my insurance company – even though my family has a history of heart disease! The insurance company, not the doctor, would determine if I needed to have an EKG during my annual examination.
As most people know, my passion is PNI (psychoneuroimmunology—the study of the connection between the mind and the body). Dr. Jimenez describes his form of medicine on his website saying: “Holistic Medicine helps you maintain a higher quality of life because it deals with primary prevention and underlying causes of chronic disease rather than simply removing or masking symptoms once they arise. Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person-body, spirit, and emotions- in the quest for optimal health and wellness. It takes in account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.” This approach to medical treatment truly takes the entire patient into perspective—the mind and the body!
What is even more impressive is that Dr. Jimenez has an immense knowledge of how the human body works, including knowing about the intricate connections between the major systems of the body. He realizes that while everyone isn’t the same, the basic connections between the human body are the same. He has a systematic way of checking the basic systems of the body, looking to identify “flags,” as he calls them to detect possible breaks in normal functions. He uses detoxification, checks hormone levels, considers genetics, blood work, and nutrition. His nutritionist works with patients on their diets to determine what foods the patient can tolerate and what foods will cause potential or definite problems. A well-equipped classroom is designed to educate his patients, so that they understand the conditions of their bodies and what is necessary to eliminate in order to correct imbalances .
The high success rate that Dr. Jimenez enjoys is because he will only work with patients who are committed to making the necessary changes in their lives in order to improve and heal. He is not the right doctor for those who go to a doctor with the expectation of getting a prescription for pills that will take care of everything. And in this day an age, with the fax, video calls, phone, etc. , it doesn’t surprise me that Dr. Jimenez even has patients as far away as in other countries!
Dr. Jimenez verifies that my health condition is very complex, and I may have more than one autoimmune disease. However, after talking with me, getting my history, and looking at my blood work results, he has a very logical plan of action to help me. It may take a few months or even a year, but he believes, with his plan of action, that I will be able to improve the workings of my body—and possibly heal!