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4701 Bancroft Avenue / Lincoln, NE

What Is Functional Medicine?

Gena is currently working on her certification in Functional Medicine through The Institute of Functional Medicine.

“Why functional medicine? Well to me, it is the way I have intuitively gone about providing care to my patients for the past 10 years. This certification just enhances my knowledge base or ‘tool kit’ with a more holistic set of tools. I will continue to help my patients in my own practical-life-approach kind of way.  To me, it just means good common sense medicine.” —Gena Foster, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC


Functional medicine practitioners promote wellness by focusing on the fundamental underlying factors that influence every patient’s experience of health and disease. 

The functional medicine practitioner carefully assesses clinical imbalances through careful history taking, physical examination, and laboratory testing and considers multiple factors, including the following:

  • Environmental inputs – The air you breathe and the water you drink, the particular diet you eat, the quality of the food available to you, your level of physical exercise, and toxic exposures or traumas you have experienced all affect your health.
  • Mind-body elements – Psychological, spiritual, and social factors all can have a profound influence on your health. Considering these areas helps the functional medicine practitioner see your health in the context of you as a whole person, not just your physical symptoms.
  • Genetic makeup – Although individual genes may make you more susceptible to some diseases, your DNA is not an unchanging blueprint for your life. Emerging research shows that your genes may be influenced by everything in your environment as well as your experiences, attitudes, and beliefs. That means it is possible to change the way genes are activated and expressed.  

Through assessment of these underlying causes and triggers of dysfunction, the functional medicine practitioner is able to understand how key processes are affected. These are the body’s processes that keep you alive. Some occur at the cellular level and involve how cells function, repair, and maintain themselves. All of these processes are influenced by both environmental factors and your genetic make-up; when they are disturbed or imbalanced, they lead to symptoms, which can lead to disease if effective interventions are not applied.

A Comprehensive Approach to Treatment

  • Most imbalances in functionality can be addressed, some can be completely restored to optimum function, and others can be substantially improved.
  • Prevention is paramount. Virtually every complex, chronic disease is preceded by long-term disturbances in functionality.
  • Changing how the systems function can have a major impact on the patient’s health. The functional medicine practitioner examines a wide array of available interventions and customizes a treatment plan including those with the most impact on underlying functionality.
  •  Functional medicine expands the clinician’s tool kit. Treatments may include combinations of drugs, botanical medicines, nutritional supplements, therapeutic diets, or detoxification programs.
  •  They may also include counseling on lifestyle, exercise, or stress-management techniques.

The Patient Becomes a Partner

As a patient, you become an active partner with your functional medicine practitioner. This allows you to really be in charge of improving your own health and changing the outcome of disease.