What does this mean? How does it work?
"This is the medicine of the future"
wHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Functional Medicine is an approach that considers the patient as a whole. Instead of just treating a symptom, the doctor will look "upstream" and ask, "Why is this happening? What's the root cause? Can we make a change at the source of the problem?"
Image credit: IFM
As you can see in the example above, one condition (ex. Depression) can have many causes. And one cause (ex. Inflammation) can contribute to many conditions. This is a great visual example of why each patient must be cared for as an individual, and Functional Medicine is the best mechanism for that!
The Functional Medicine approach will use holistic and natural methods whenever possible, knowing that "prevention" is the key to avoiding the many chronic diseases currently plaguing our society. It is normal to use tools such as nutrition, meal plans, supplementation, lifestyle changes (sleep, stress, movement), holistic therapies and whatever means necessary to restore health.
Image credit: IFM
In the example above you can see how the signs and symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance can originate from a variety of causes.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
We blend a wide array of techniques from both conventional medicine and holistic health, utilizing the best of Western and Eastern expertise.
Dr. Zachary will determine if any Advanced Functional Labs are needed and order them, folding that new piece of information into the patient's history, intake, nutritional status, symptoms, current lab findings- all in order to make a thorough assessment that looks at the patient as a whole. Dr. Zachary is excellent at interpreting lab work and explaining it in a way that is easy to understand.
Jump down to "The Process" section to learn more about what to expect as a new patient or client. We've also posted an excellent video from when Dr. Zachary was interviewed that goes into more detail about how Functional Medicine works and the differences between conventional medicine, integrative medicine, naturopathy, and other alternative health medicine.
can i still see my doctors at kaiser or john muir?
Yes, and we encourage you to keep an amicable and open relationship with your Primary Care Physician.
Our office has respect for all forms of healthcare and all patients. We listen to our patients and typically are able to validate their symptoms with concrete lab findings.
In our office, we often co-manage with allopathic physicians that will refer patients to Body Love Cafe. We work with all patients but are particularly known for our expertise in Gut Health, Weight Loss and Heart Health.
Likewise, if we have a patient in need of medication management we will refer to one of our medical colleagues. Sometimes the labs we order might reveal a finding that requires additional medical investigation and we will make the referrals as needed. Dr. Zachary has uncovered many "health surprises" along the way and our office has "saved a life" more than a few times. Knowledge is power and many of the tests we utilize are the most modern that science has to offer.
"this is a different type of health care"
what to expect as
a new patient
report of findings
Here is an outline of each step in the process, but keep in mind each patient is unique. At Body Love Cafe the patient is the "boss" and we make modifications when possible to honor the likes and dislikes of each individual. Our main objective is a life of greater healing and joy for our patients.
Before the intake, our New Patients complete a very detailed history and intake form ONLINE. This is the only time so much "paperwork" will be asked of you, but it is very important that our doctors learn as much as they can about your history and what brought you to your current state of health.
The actual Functional Medicine & Nutrition Intake is 60-minutes long. This is a rarity today to have that much time in a world where doctor-patient interaction time is getting shorter.
During the intake, Dr. Zachary may ask if you are open to both Western and Eastern techniques so she can tailor the assessment to your individual preferences. She will discuss your symptoms and concerns with you and go over your health history. She will have specific questions based on what issues you are experiencing and she will also ask detailed digestive questions.
If there is anything "obvious" to start you on right away, Dr. Zachary will let you know and may make supplement, nutrient or herbal recommendations. An important part of the exam is assessing if any labs are needed - see the next section below.
Expect an After Visit email from our team sent to you and available in your Body Love Cafe health portal. Our Patient Advocate will make sure you have any nutrient schedules and lab requisites if needed. Please note that although you will have paid for your exam in advance (when you schedule), if labs or nutrients are needed that is an additional fee that is set by the outside vendors or lab companies and you will order it through them.
Special Notes & Tips to Maximize Benefits:
You are welcome to have your spouse/partner or a friend listen in if you desire, sometimes it helps to have an "extra pair of ears".
Please send in all lab work within the last 6 months or any significant lab work in the past.
If you know that you are going to want a certain type of advanced lab test, consider getting it done BEFORE your exam - just talk to our office and we can get it ordered for you or discuss other options. You can read more about the tests available HERE. If you are unsure if you need a certain test please ask the office or just wait until your exam. All outside labs charge fees to the patient so Dr. Zachary is very selective about only ordering necessary tests.
If Dr. Zachary has determined you need advanced lab testing she will advise you and discuss how to have it ordered elsewhere (if that is an option) or how to order it through Rupa Health or Body Love Cafe. While most Functional Medicine offices double or triple the cost of labs, our office passes on significant savings that we receive as a doctor to our patients.
If blood labs are required (ex. a comprehensive Thyroid Panel including 7-10 markers) we will typically order them through Boston Heart Labs or Lab Corp. If advanced Gut Health or Hormone Health testing is needed then you will be mailed a test kit to complete at home and mail directly to the lab (ex. stool, urine, breath, saliva or hair testing).
Depending on which test(s) are needed, results may take 1-3 weeks to return. For this reason, your Report of Findings visit is often scheduled 3 weeks after your exam so Dr. Zachary may fold the lab results into your overall assessment. (Sometimes an extra week is needed if the lab is delayed due to Covid-19 demand.)
During the weeks between your Intake and Report of Findings visits, Dr. Zachary will likely ask you to keep a food journal if diet is an issue (we typically use the Well World app), take any suggested supplementation if needed and follow any lifestyle recommendations made at the Intake visit.
If any issues arise between your Intake and ROF, please reach out to our office and let us know. The fastest and most economical way to get quick questions answered is to join one of our Group Visit Q&A sessions which are currently Tuesdays from 9-10 am and Thursdays from 5-6 pm. Email and calls are typically returned on Monday, Wednesday and Friday between 10am-6pm so if you have not heard back, please reach out again.
report of findings
The Report of Findings (ROF) is often an exciting and very revealing visit. The ROF visit is 60-minutes in length and it is highly recommended you have your spouse/partner or a friend listen in as this is going to be a lot of information and it helps to have an extra person listening or taking notes for you.
During the ROF visit, Dr. Zachary will list the priority order of issues to address from a functional medicine perspective. For example, if weight gain was an issue you presented during the intake and Dr. Zachary found out you had a strain of bacteria in your microbiome that increases caloric extraction from food and that you are Leptin-resistant, then she would share those findings and discuss methods to impact the weight gain at the root cause.
Dr. Zachary will share all the positive findings from your intake and labs and outline how she combined all of the available information to create that priority order of issues list. She will then make a care plan with recommendations that include supplementation (herbs, whole food nutrients, nutraceuticals, etc), diet (food, water, meal timing), lifestyle changes (sleep, stress, movement), mental/emotional recommendations (meditation, HRV, energy techniques, Eastern practices), bodywork if needed, referrals to outside providers or medical doctors if warranted. She may suggest you attend a free class or watch an educational video depending on the health issue you are dealing with (ex. our SIBO video for those suffering from bloating with a positive breath test).
At the end of the ROF, Dr. Zachary will advise when to return. This may be within a week for some situations, otherwise, follow-up is typically in a month to allow you time to implement the recommendations and track results.
At the end of the ROF visit, you may have a handout that outlines our Health Savings Plan (see below) which can result in significant savings on any needed herbs or supplementation. If this is of benefit for you, please discuss it with our Patient Advocate.
Did you know that most supplements and herbs in America are complete junk? It is sad, but true.
At Body Love Cafe we are very selective about the supplements we use, always searching for the best quality with results we can count on. Currently, we utilize around 700 different supplements from over 20 different manufacturers. We have access to hundreds of brands and don't carry any inventory so we are not tied to any specific product line. We are able to pass on a savings of 10% supplement discount to each patient or client and 20% to those that have the Health Savings Plan (HSP).
If we recommend supplements we will email you the list of items and how to order through your Body Love Cafe portal. You will order directly with those companies but we will make sure you receive your savings. Sometimes we may have to order specialty items for you if needed.
Almost everything that Dr. Zachary will recommend is designed to be for "short term" use and she expects this to change from visit-to-visit.
If you hate swallowing pills or you love liquid herbs or you love drinking shakes or you hate taking things more than 2x a day - please let us know. Dr. Zachary only wants to recommend things you will do and she will work to customize any supplementation to fit your lifestyle and your budget.
Although we have an incredible arsenal of highly potent herbs and effective nutrients, it is impossible to "swallow a magic pill" that restores your health while allowing you to keep eating Taco Bell daily. The best results come from patients that are willing to make the necessary lifestyle changes - and don't assume you know what that is, as they are different for each patient. Some patients need to eat more bacon, some need to eat more quinoa, some need to do intermittent fasting, some need soft liquid foods. Dr. Zachary often advises her patients that the closer they are able to follow her lifestyle prescription, the less money they will need to spend on supplementation or labs!
Most supplements will need to be purchased through one of the vendors we recommend due to the fact that the vast majority of quality products are only made available through a licensed practitioner and unable to be purchased directly to the consumer. In the rare situation that an item is available in a store or online and that is a better pricing option for the patient, Dr. Zachary will advise how to get said item.
We typically ask that our patients not use other products during the time that they are working with Body Love Cafe so we may closely monitor their supplement use and progress. However, if there is an item that you feel is of benefit to you, please let us know.
If patients need $150-$200+/month in supplements, we highly recommend taking advantage of our Health Savings Plan. This is a one-time fee that is paid which covers the cost of 4 follow-up visits and 20% off all herbs and supplements for 12 months. It can result in substantial savings and you will have the option to renew it for the following year if so desired. Ask our Patient Advocate for more details.
20% off all supplements, herbs for 12 months
Contact Body Love Cafe for full details
Dr. Zachary will outline your care plan at your ROF visit and make modifications as needed during follow-up visits based on your progress. She is always very mindful and respectful of costs as most of Functional Medicine is not covered by traditional medical insurance. There are some situations where we may be able to provide a superbill and have you submit it for possible reimbursement and many patients are able to use their HSA/FSA plans. Others keep receipts for tax purposes or utilize credit cards if needed. Functional Medicine tends to have an upfront cost at the start of care but may result in incredible savings from the restoration of health, productivity, mental health improvement or prevention of chronic lifestyle illnesses - all based on the functional and nutritional perspective.
When more frequent visits or accountability is needed, Dr. Zachary will often refer the patient to schedule a number of visits with our Health Coaches. The visits cost less than seeing Dr. Zachary each time, the accountability and individual attention to diet/sleep/stress/movement is excellent and the Health Coaches are able to review the patient's Intake/ROF notes and consult with Dr. Z as needed.
Another budget-friendly option for quick questions is to hop on to one of the Group Q&A visits that are held weekly and have an affordable fee of $30 per person.
Follow-up visits with Dr. Zachary will be needed to change supplementation protocols, reorder and analyze labs or address any new health issues as they arise.
If a patient has diagnosed medical conditions requiring medication, then co-management with the prescribing physician will occur. We may also refer you to another physician or counselor if additional services are warranted that are outside our scope of practice.
All clients outside of CA that receive Nutrition Coaching & Consultation are required to have a local Primary Care Physician.
We are very lucky at Body Love Cafe to a team of amazing practitioners employing a variety of techniques. During the ROF visit or at subsequent visits, Dr. Zachary may refer you for bodywork or physical therapy or acupuncture or allergy care or emotional healing that can be provided in-house if we have the available practitioner, or advise if an outside practitioner is needed.
The Functional Medicine approach recognizes that the patient needs to be evaluated and cared for as a whole person, which often means using more than one healing modality.
The American public has often valued a "go-go-go" attitude and a "get it done" work ethic. While this can be great for workplace productivity, many patients have sacrificed their health and well-being to meet these demands and may have spent decades popping pills for a "quick fix" to prop them up and keep them going.
Taking a pill to mask a symptom does not mean the issue is resolved, just as the absence of disease doesn't mean someone is actually healthy.
True health and joy come from a sound body and mind. This is more than just the elimination of symptoms or pain, it is the peace and organization that we see in a healthy and happy individual. This type of health transcends more than just the physical and improvements are often seen in the patient's family and work life, in their social activities, in their relationships, in their spiritual, emotional and financial life.
Understanding this may mean addressing your healing on multiple levels for a global transformation. It is a tall order, completely doable and really quite exciting.
At Body Love Cafe our ultimate goal is for the patient's well-being and we will always make the best recommendations for healing whether that be for services in or outside of our office and holistic or allopathic measures. Whatever works for the patient and does no harm is the right course of action. We have no "ego" as to whether it is method A or B or C, we just want to support the success of our patients and clients.
Tracking results is important to make sure improvement is occurring and to monitor progress. We typically do this with follow-up visits and reorder labs or perform a reval-exam if needed.
You will automatically be sent a CSQ (Current System Questionnaire) with each visit to be filled out electronically - this helps to track progress and goes in your chart - it only takes a few minute to complete!
It is human nature to quickly "forget" the symptoms that go away and focus on any new issues. It is helpful when facing a new complaint (such as a headache) to try to remember that the debilitating issue from the previous visit (for example, severe bloating & indigestion) is completely gone. This can be difficult to do on your own if you don't have a practitioner tracking your symptoms/progress and making recommendations based on your whole health.
Some patients are dealing with chronic illness and it can be challenging to notice an improvement when they are "in their illness" on a daily basis. It can be helpful to have a practitioner who can remind you that although you can't run a marathon yet, going for a 2-hour bike ride is a huge improvement over the sedentary lifestyle when you started and were unable to walk around the block. Sometimes you need someone to take the 5,000-foot view of your health goals and achievements.
Some patients feel better so quickly that they want to jump right back into their old lifestyle or take off running and need to be reminded that their body is still healing, to allow more time.
Sometimes patients get off track and a follow-up visit or a repeat lab or a detox protocol might be the motivation to get them back on the path to health before a complete derailment and having to "start over".
Healing is a unique proposition and rarely is it a linear event. Some Functional Medicine offices charge a very high amount up front ($3,500-$6,000+) and run what we refer to as a "shock and awe" campaign. They run excessive testing, share a lot of information in the first visit and then that's it - the patient might be initially impressed but then they are often tapped out financially and unable to return for follow-up care.
Although it is true that operating a Functional Medicine practice is costly and time-consuming, we endeavor to make it as affordable for our patients as possible so they can continue ongoing care. This means we are going to be a part of their life when they have a setback, when family drama occurs, when work stress or a house move challenges them, when they get food poisoning from traveling abroad or are grieving the loss of an elderly parent.
This is what we call being in the trenches with our patients.
It is so much fun and gratifying to celebrate the successes with our patients, but the true test of character comes during the challenging times and the truth is that life is messy. There is no magic pill or procedure that will protect someone from every possible harm or heartache that might come their way, but we are dedicated to being a part of that healing process for our patients. We are a soft place to land and a safe harbor from life's storms - there's a reason we are called Body Love Cafe.
It is the kind of health care we want for ourselves and the best kind of health care we can offer our patients.
You deserve no less than the best.