FM Explained

You may have heard the phrase “functional medicine”and wondered what it means. Who practices it? What kind of education do they have? Where does it fall between conventional and holistic medicine? Could it help me???

Functional Medicine (FM) is a systems based approach that considers the whole person – genetics, lifestyle, environment – and addresses the root causes of dis-ease, as opposed to managing symptoms. It engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership to help optimize health from within, not through manipulating symptoms with a variety of exogenous pharmaceuticals. FM better addresses the healthcare needs of patients in the 21st century and is an evolution of the practice of medicine from disease-centered to patient-centered. FM practitioners spend time reviewing patients histories and looking for interactions between genetics, environment and lifestyle. Care plans are created that are truly individualized and custom to each patients holistic health.

Why is FM needed?

Traditional or allopathic medical physicians are trained in the following way: identify and diagnose a collection of symptoms and prescribe the correlating pharmaceutical agent. This worked well during the advent of the antibiotic, when most people were dying of infectious diseases. It still works today for acute care issues like a broken bone or appendicitis. However, many patients deal with multi-faceted and complex, chronic diseases like cancer, autoimmune disease, diabetes, gut dysfunction and a “one drug fits all” approach simply isn’t effective. Conventional medicine also does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or environmental exposures to toxins that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in the modern Western world.

There’s also a tremendous gap between current research and its integration into the practice of allopathic medicine – as much as 50 (!) years. It’s not that your prescribing physician doesn’t want the best for you – it’s that they aren’t trained to assess the underlying components of complex health issues. They are simply continuing the “current best practices” for their discipline.

Who Practices FM?

Functional Medicine practitioners can be medical doctors (MD), doctors of chiropractic (DC), doctors of osteopathy (DO), doctors of naturopathy (ND) or nurse practitioners (NP) by training. They receive extensive postgraduate training on gut dysfunction and optimization, autoimmunity, endocrine disorders, metabolic syndromes and diagnostics. They consider internal (genetics, body, mind & spirit) as well as external (physical, environmental and social) factors that affect overall function. They utilize the latest in diagnostic lab tests to discover the root causes behind the symptoms and create care plans that thoughtfully consider all of those aspects.

When creating treatment plans, FM practitioners integrate botanical, herbal and pharmaceutical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, stress management, detoxification programs, lifestyle shifts and stress management techniques. The willing participation of FM patients is critical to success. FM is the opposite of the “pop a pill” approach to addressing illness and can include drastic changes to a patient’s modus operandi. The gifts of those changes can be drastic, too: increased vitality, energy, optimism and not just an elimination of symptoms but a dramatic shift in overall health.

FM at Absolute Wellness Center

With her background as a doctor of chiropractic, Dr. Doyle found Functional Medicine to be an intuitive way to heal the body from within. While the first two years of chiropractic school and medical school are virtually identical, chiropractic physicians are taught to view the body holistically and see the integration of the body’s systems, not the separation of them. She’s treated low back issues that stemmed from fallen (foot) arches and hand complaints that took origin in tight neck muscles – chiropractic at it’s core is holistic medicine.

As a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, she’s taken that approach to non-structural issues. She’s successfully helped patients manage and heal from autoimmune issues like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, gut issues like IBS, SIBO and dysbiosis and behavioral issues like ADD, executive function disorder and ASD in children. She’s help people discover food sensitivities, toxicities like mold and heavy metals and get to the root causes of skin, digestive and hormonal complaints.

Prior to your first visit, you will fill out a comprehensive medical history form and we will gather previous labwork that has been done. During your first 30 minute appointment, we’ll discuss your goals, history, nutrition and appropriate diagnostics that will be performed. During your second 30 minute appointment, we’ll discuss the results of your diagnostics and your care plan moving forward, including personalized nutrition and supplementation to help address imbalances.

Four weeks later we will follow up on symptom changes, nutritional status and assess goal progress, tweaking if necessary. Re-testing is usually performed at 3-6 month mark, case depending.

If you are ready to find the answers and heal, we are ready to work with you. Contact us here or make an appointment here.

FM Testimonials


I originally came to Dr. Susan Doyle for Chiropractic care, which was much needed as I am an avid runner and workout daily. She provides exceptional care and I always walk away feeling lighter and better adjusted. After forming a warm trusting relationship with Dr. Susan Doyle, I started discussing my stomach problems with her. I have struggled with GUT/digestive issues for way too many years now. I traveled internationally for 2 plus years and once back home, had filtered through multiple doctors to try and figure out what was wrong with my stomach – I FINALLY have come to some resolutions with Dr Doyle’s help. Thanks to Susan, I now understand what the issue is. She has in turn recommended wonderful products to help get my health under control. I LOVE chatting with her about nutrition, supplements, and healthy lifestyle tips. Susan is extremely knowledgeable and I trust her whole heartedly. I appreciate her respect for holistic health and am beyond grateful for having found Absolute Wellness. I cannot say enough good things as I finally have hope that I can be fully cured – if you have GI issues, trust me and make an appointment.

-D.G., April 2017

I highly recommend Susan Doyle at Absolute Wellness Center. She’s a functional med practitioner and has a variety of options that she offers..She did some tests on my daughter and was able to prescribe some vitamins/naturopathic remedies and helped me wean her off Rx meds. She has helped me and my family immensely… I could just go there every day and spend time with them.”

-C.D., June 2019

“Seeking treatment with Dr Doyle has be a very good experience. I have a long history of pain issues due to injuries. Dr Doyle works diligently to find a solution to each physical discomfort I present. She actually listens! Her knowledge of treatment with chiropractic modalities is vast, but also with alternative herbal and naturopathic options. I find that Dr Doyle does not retreat from finding a treatment for an ailment. If the first attempt does not work, she will adjust her mode to another form. It is obvious Dr Doyle keeps informed and delves deeply into her chosen profession.

-J.E., October 2018

From day one I could tell Dr. Doyle was passionate about what she does. I have been going regularly for two months now and my back pain is MUCH better. Not only has the pain improved but also my posture and headaches. I work as a nurse and Dr. Doyle has suggested ways to improve my work environment and has also helped guide me to nutritional supplements to aid in my overall health. She really focuses on the WHOLE body.

-L.S., March 2017