What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that we think better addresses the healthcare needs of our patients. The healthcare profession is beginning to experience an exciting shift from traditional disease-centered medicine to a more patient-centered approach that looks at the whole person, not just an isolated constellation of symptoms. Functional medicine doctors spend time with their patients, listening to their stories and looking at the interactions between genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health. Practitioners of this type of medicine believe that chronic disease is almost always preceded by a lengthy period of declining health in one or more of the organ systems of the body.


Functional Medicine is grounded in the following principles:

  • Biochemical individuality based on genetic and environmental uniqueness
  • Patient-centered vs. disease-centered care
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors in a patient's body, mind and spirit
  • Web-like interconnections of physiological factors
  • Health as positive vitality not just the absence of disease
  • Promotion of organ reserve to enhance "health" span not just the life-span of a patient

Emphasis in the practice of Functional Medicine is placed on understanding and improving the functional core of a patient and working to restore balance to a dysfunctional system by strengthening the underlying physiological processes.

Why Do We Need Functional Medicine?

  • There is a sharp increase in people suffering from complex, chronic diseases: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, auto-immune disorders like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, fibromyalgia, MS, Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Most physicians practice acute-care medicine: colds, flu, broken limbs. Drugs and surgery are typically used to treat the immediate problem or symptom
  • The acute-care approach does not address the complex, chronic patient or help with preventative care. Acute-care does not take into account the biochemical individuality or the genetic makeup of a patient
  • Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying cause of complex, chronic diseases or to use powerful tools like nutrition, diet, targeted nutrients and exercise to both treat and prevent chronic illness

How is Functional Medicine Different?

Functional Medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention and treatment of disease. At RIIM, we are passionate about patient-centered care—working closely with each patient to develop a specific treatment plan that best addresses their individual needs. We are always looking to incorporate the best medical practices by blending traditional Western medicine with integrative medicine: using the latest lab testing and other diagnostic techniques, supplements, herbs, detoxification programs and in specific cases drug therapy. Functional medicine emphasizes interventions that "do the least harm" and help enhance the body's natural healing processes.

Functional Medicine doctors look to uncover the precursors to the signs and symptoms that will eventually manifest themselves in a disease state. In an effort to reverse or stop a disease process, the following elements must be taken into account to restore health:

  • Diet: type and quantity of food, its preparation, micronutrient make-up
  • Macronutrient intake: vitamins and minerals
  • Air and water quality
  • Proper sleep hygiene
  • Physical exercise
  • Toxin status
  • Psycho-social factors: family, work, stress

Functional Medicine modalities offered at the Raby institute include:

What Conditions Can be Treated with Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine treatmtents can support the following health concerns:
  • Allergies/food sensitivities
  • Autoimmune problems
  • Cancer care
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Children's health issues
  • Chronic asthma
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Eating disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders (Irritable Bowel Syndrome, chronic constipation, Crohn's disease, Ulcerative Colitis)
  • High cholesterol
  • Infertility
  • Menopause
  • Optimal aging and disease prevention
  • Post-surgical support
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Pregnancy and postpartum care
  • Rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases
  • Women's health
  • Weight loss

Functional Medicine is appropriate for anyone who wants to learn more about how nutrition and proper diet to can help them live fuller, healthier lives. Patients who are receiving medical treatments that affect their nutritional status, such as chemotherapy, can also benefit from nutritional counseling to support their healing.

When Should I Avoid Functional Medicine?

Almost anyone can benefit from using Functional Medicine.  It is gentle, safe and effective enough to support treatment of a wide variety of conditions and health concerns with minimal risk. There are, however, considerations to take into account when using Functional Medicine to complement convential treatment. Some Functional Medicine remedies utilizing herbs or supplements may interact with conventionally perscribed medicines. Your Functional Medicine practitioner will review your list of medications and nutritional supplements for any known interactions. Recommendations for new therapies will be made while taking your current medications into account.

How Can I Find Out More?

The Raby Institute has practitioners on staff trained in Functional Medicine.
To find out more about Functional Medicine or to schedule an appointment, contact the Raby Institute at 312-276-1212 or info@rabyintegrativemedicine.com

Functional Medicine Services

Functional Nutrition

Functional Nutrition focuses on a patient's individual biochemistry and metabolism and how those factors affect the ability to function optimally. This approach to health promotion and disease prevention asserts that making simple adjustments to diet and lifestyle based on a patient's individual biochemistry can have profound positive impact on maintaining or restoring health. Our practitioners have a strong understanding of the relationship between food and well-being. We will analyze your current diet, assess your goals and help you develop a dietary plan that specifically works for you. Improving your nutritional balance through healthy diet can help you increase energy, relieve symptoms, prevent illness and enhance your overall health.
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Functional Lab Testing

Functional Medicine practitioners identify the cause of many health conditions based on the results of science-based testing. Most often these tests are in conjunction with standard blood tests but are critical to identifying the core biochemical and metabolic imbalances that may be at the root of a disease process. Based on these test results, Dr. Chavez will develop a personalized treatment protocol designed to prevent, reverse or stop a disease and its symptoms. Such imbalances include:

  • Digestive, absorptive and microbiological imbalances
  • Detoxification and biotransformation imbalances
  • Deficiencies in mitochondrial function
  • Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances
  • Immune and inflammatory imbalances
  • Structural imbalances, from cellular membrane function to musculoskeletal systems
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Dietary Supplements 

Supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids and other food components that are used to support good health and address illness. The Raby Institute carries only GMP-certified (good manufacturing process) pharmaceutical grade dietary supplements and herbal remedies in our on-site pharmacy. Browse our product inventory online

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"Inspire me with love for my art and for thy creatures. In the sufferer let me see only the human being."
- Moses Maimonides, The Physician's Oath