Functional & Integrative Medicine
Our practice believes passionately that there are many routes to healing. Our goal is to discover the root of any illness and heal the entire body. An integrative practitioner possesses a larger tool box than a conventional provider, and is cognizant of many treatment options beyond pharmaceutical approaches.
Unfortunately, the typical integrative medicine practitioner is a medical doctor or physician who has implemented complementary healing modalities alongside their conventional treatment regimes, and while this is great, they are often still restricted only to those therapies which are grounded in scientific evidence and they are not often herbalists. If they are recommending botanicals, it is typically in an allopathic style, relying on specific active ingredients and a single disease-single treatment approach. This narrows the possible range of information to only what has been studied and proven safe by extremely limited parameters, and even biases, which is a very limited number of herbs and applications.
Functional & integrative medicine is medicine by cause, not by symptom. A Functional medicine practitioner, physician and doctor don’t, in fact, treat disease, we treat your body’s ecosystem. We get rid of the bad stuff, put in the good stuff, and because your body is an intelligent system – it does the rest. Mark Hyman
Functional medicine goes beyond even complementary and alternative therapies or integrative medicine, which expands treatment options, to looking beyond the condition itself to the underlying cause of the body’s distress. A functional medicine practitioner or doctor doesn’t simply consider how to approach managing a particular condition, but rather, why did this person’s health condition escalate to the point of manifesting these symptoms in the first place?
Western medicine has served us well in dealing with acute care issues. Trauma management is at its best and saves lives daily. However, we have fallen short when it comes to meeting the needs of those suffering with chronic disease. Worse, conventional medicine completely fails with respect to the art and science of wellness and self-healing.
Just as women are increasingly seeking midwives for maternity care, because we recognize women as partners in their childbearing experience and because we recognize the delegate balance between trusting the body’s process and utilizing interventions with discretion, more and more are seeking functional medicine clinicians or doctors because this model is tailored to the individual.
The midwifery-model-of-care and functional medicine is of the same mindset.
Functional medicine emphasizes true healing and treating the person rather than the disease. It requires a partnership between the clinician and the client. Each invest in the outcome. Functional medicine is integrative in that it utilizes botanical medicine, nutritional principles, body work, and on occasion pharmaceuticals.
Our practice, serving most of Indiana including Indianapolis, Fishers & Carmel, has applied the functional medicine approach to infertility, diabetes, hypertension, anxiety, depression, obesity, thyroid conditions, cancer, autoimmune disease, PMS, menopause, rheumatoid arthritis, PCOS, chronic migraines, and chronic pain. Poor diets, a toxic environment, stress, sleep disorders, lack of exercise, and a plethora of lifestyle issues can hamper our health. The foundation must be secure if we are to achieve optimal health.
Botanical medicine, or phytomedicine, has intrigued Dr. Lane nearly as long as midwifery. Gaining expertise in such discipline has been much more difficult to obtain however, as there is currently no formal certification or license to practice herbal medicine in the United States.
“It is a mistake to view herbology only as a science studying the therapeutic properties of plants. More than this, the path of the herbalist is a cultivated attitude towards nature and all of creation.” – Michael Tierra
Dr. Lane and Miss Michael are both enrolled in the Herbal Medicine for Women program with Aviva Romm MD, at Integrative Medicine for Women and Children. This two-year study meets most of the academic requirements for professional membership within the American Herbal Guild (AHG), identifying members as registered herbalists.
Herbal medicine is the therapeutic use of plants for maintaining and restoring optimal health. Certainly there is a place for man’s pharmaceuticals, as the Lord did give man and woman the intelligence to create such tools for our use, but these scenarios are typically quite rare. Most conventional medications however, are brimming full of preservatives, dyes, sugar and many harmful chemicals that have the ability to create dependence, wreak havoc on our body’s own immune system, or even cause toxicity and damage to internal organs.
People often fail to consider that cold symptoms are actually a good response to a virus, and are the body’s way of fighting off internal invaders and cleansing the body. A fever for example, helps the body kill the virus and bacterias invading the body. Lowering that may only encourage further attack. The skin speaks volumes about a person’s health. Eczema is typically related to allergies for example, or food sensitivities, lack of essential fatty acids or other nutrients or even hormonal imbalances.
Our culture is prone to running to the medicine cabinet or physician for every sniffle and cough. It could be said that we’ve been trained to overreact and over-medicate these mild, though uncomfortable, symptoms. Our ancestors were well aware of a multitude of home remedies, including the use of herbs, particular foods, water, steam, rest, pressure, poultices, and so on. Caring for our bodies does not always have to be so complex. God created plants for our healing.
Educating in herbal medicine and incorporating the use of herbs into clinical treatments is incredibly rewarding. Empowering families to participate in their health, to value their body, and to work to prevent illness is a core principle of herbal medicine. Our practice offers an Herb of the Month class, an Essential Oil of the Month class, and weekly DIY workshops to encourage our clients to learn and embrace medicines of the earth, to heal their families.
Herbal medicine is inherently a people’s medicine.
An excellent way to develop your confidence with herbs is to begin using them in simple health and minor first-aid situations.
“I like the attention that the midwives gave to my health, offering advice and encouragement to eat healthy, exercise, etc.” ~Akron Mother.
All herbs that are used during pregnancy should be considered wisely. Medicinal herbs should be limited to situations of necessity for a limited time period. The first trimester in particular should be guarded as a crucial time for the developing baby. The German Commission E Monographs, published by the American Botanical Council, is an excellent source for discovering which herbs are safe during pregnancy.
Our Approach to Herbal Medicine
Herbal medicine can be practiced along a wide continuum of approaches, from highly intuitive, earth-based, and folk practices to high scientific and even more aggressively interventive. Nowhere on this continuum is any approach mutually exclusive to another, or maybe even superior to another. However, they each have their own methods of influence and their own set of principles. These shape the way an herbalist extends their recommendations, and even how they identify themselves – “community herbalist,” “wise woman herbalist,” or “professional clinical herbalist.”
Our nurse-midwives identify with Western herbal medicine, which is in contrast to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Ayurveda, and other systems of herbal medicine that evolved as distinct cultural-medical practices. Western herbal medicine has foundations in both ancient and contemporary European and US traditional herbal and medical systems, beliefs, and practices, influenced even by the ancient Greek, north African and Middle Eastern medical practices, all of which also led to the eventual development of the modern allopathic medical system. In more recent centuries, western herbal medicine has been influenced by Native American herbal traditions, American folk herbalism, and the practices of the Physiomedicalists and Eclectics.
A Quick History Lesson
European herbalism ultimately branched into two main stems, folk herbalism and medical herbalism. Physicians and apothecaries practiced medical herbalism, as the profession of both medicine and pharmacy grew. European folk herbalism was more a blend of common knowledge, observation and experience over time, and even superstition. Both have offered their successes and failures.
While herbs don’t prevent massive deaths from major scourges or save lives in life-threatening traumas, they can help address most daily health complaints and crises relatively effectively. Midwives and local herbalists have passed down these traditions through the generations with mostly gentle and effective results. The medical profession on the other hand, arising from the barber-surgeon tradition, was more invasive, using mercury, arsenic and opium, which led to the demise of the client as often as recovery.
Heroic herbalism entered the scene in the late 1700s, which is still utilized today, primarily by New Age practitioners. These include the use of diaphoretics and purgatives to eliminate disease, which may have some validity, but the concern in our opinion, is that while this modality may offer some physical healing, because it stems from the belief that illness results from the effects of unclean living, the person is frequently to blame. Recommended treatments are generally physically depleting and lead to a constant battle of self-doubt, guilt, and restrictive living.
The Physiomedicalists and the Eclectics presented in the early 1800s, which utilizes a pattern of energy, based on constitutional types. Herbs are prescribed according to pulse, tongue and other physical diagnostic methods. These practitioners reached their pinnacle of popularity in the 1880s, but can still be found today. In fact, in England, the British School of Phytotherapy was still teaching as late as 1980. The Eclectic physicians specifically arose around 1820s and are credited for popularizing many herbs such as echinacea, goldenseal, black cohosh and kava. They also incorporated practices from other medical traditions, including allopathic medicine, homeopathy, and hydrotherapy.
Schulz et al. in Rational Phytotherapy stated, “Prior to 1800, when medicine entered the scientific age, traditional herbal medicine was the unquestioned foundation for all standard textbooks on pharmacology. It was not until the advent of modern chemistry and the development of modern pharmacotherapy and ‘medical science’ that phytotherapy was relegated to the status of an alternative modality. From the historical perspective, however, it is incorrect to classify phytotherapy as a special or alternative branch of medicine. When we consider that the history of classical herbal medicine spans more than 2500 years from antiquity to modern times, it is reasonable to assume that many of the medicinal herbs used during that period not only have specific actions but are also free of hazardous side effects. Otherwise they would not have been passed down so faithfully through so many epochs and cultures.”
Today botanical medicines are growing in popularity by leaps and bounds in large part because the healthcare consumer wants to be empowered in their healthcare decisions and outcomes. Herbs are readily available and cost-effective with overall effectiveness and infrequently reported adverse outcomes. Having an expert to assist you in optimizing your own research is where we can help.
Wise Woman Tradition
The Wise Woman tradition is ancient in that it honors the feminine traditions of herbal medicine and healing, which have stretched from ancient times across all histories and cultures. It is new in that it has had a thoroughly modern rebirth and popularity that has spread internationally, primarily in the U.S., Canada, and western European nations.
Midwives are at the heart of the Wise Women tradition, as they sought to live closer to the land, aware of the negative social, political, and ecological impacts of many of modern society’s practices, including medicine. Wise Women herbal traditions are also inspired by hippie and feminist philosophies. These women turn to herbs and midwifery as a way to reclaim their bodies and power, and as a way to reconnect with an earth-centered way of life.
It was Susun Weed, who in the mid 1980s, published and popularized the term, “Wise Woman,” specifically in reference to a “system” of herbal medicine, and who recorded its principles. This philosophy of practicing herbs is a way of life, a world-view. It is one we appreciate, and within it we find many truths, but the Wise Woman traditions, in our opinion, has components of idolatry. As a faith-based practice, it is our goal to be discerning, not only in critically analyzing the evidence but also in extending recommendations that are honoring to our Father. Our guidance comes from scripture,
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29
Also, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
Dr. Lane is the owner of the Red Raspberry Boutique, an extension of Believe Midwifery Services, LLC that serves all of Indiana including Fishers, Carmel, Lafayette & Indianapolis. She has developed a growing knowledge of how to integrate essential oils into every day life for optimizing health and utilizing oils as an integral component of any medical treatment plan.
Dr. Lane, CNM completed the CARE Intensive Workshops in the fall of 2010, including training in healing oils of the Bible, applied vitaflex, raindrop therapy, emotional release and the chemistry of essential oils. She has since written and spoke about essential oils for management of women’s health issues and for utilization during childbirth.
Does my health insurance cover Functional Medicine?
Our midwife nurses are primary care providers and credentialed with most all Indiana third party payers. They are not in-network with any companies however, nor does Believe Midwifery Services, LLC submit claims for insurance reimbursement. You may however, and we encourage you to request an in-network exception prior to seeking services. Clients have found success with maternity services and many primary care procedures.
Keep in mind however, that medical insurance is essentially sick insurance. It could be compared to life insurance or car insurance. You hope never to use it. It’s purpose is to assist you financially in the event of catastrophic events, like trauma or high dollar diagnostics and surgery. If it was in place to help you get healthy, it would better cover screenings, supplements, education, and even healthy food or a gym membership!
Chances are good that you’re expecting one thing from your insurance coverage, but are getting some very different. You’re likely hoping for vibrant health and a high quality of life! You want options for excellent clinicians and seek healthcare modalities that heal. However, what your actually getting is pharmaceutical band-aids, assembly line evaluations, and sympathetic pats on the shoulder until you are facing a traumatic scenario or life-threatening illness. Again, insurance coverage is not about healing, but about sickness.
Our model of care is heavy in education and offers hours upon hours of time with our clinicians, but it is low in high dollar diagnostics and prescriptions. Insurance companies do not value clinician time or education so reimbursement for these investments are low. Our priorities are different than your insurance company’s. This doesn’t mean that nurse-midwives are poorly covered, but rather, healing is not valued by your third party payer. They have a corporation to maintain and shareholders to protect. As well, the American Medical Association controls what diagnostics are covered by third party payers and functional medicine is not yet on their radar – nor is even prevention!
You may want to ask yourself, “How much value am I getting from the large medical insurance fee I am already paying? Am I getting healing? True prevention? Disease-reversal? How much has that fee gone up over the years? How much have I been paying out-of-pocket, above the fee? And how quickly have those out-of-pocket expenses been rising? How much higher will my out-of-pocket expenses for drugs likely go? Am I willing to pay for those drugs for the rest of my if, even as their costs continue to escalate? Am I willing to pay for additional drugs to quell the known and unknown side effects of drugs I’m already taking? Do any of these insurance and out-of-pocket costs look as if they will be shrinking any time soon? Is there anything on the horizon that makes it look like I’ll be getting more for my money than I am today, especially considering that greater and greater numbers of people without means to contribute are able to “benefit” from the system? Also, considering that medical costs are escalating faster than almost any other category in the economy. Most of all, how do I feel about my answers to the above questions? Has my quality of life improved or diminished since I was diagnosed and treated according to the book of AMA insurance codes?
If you want to break the unconscious patter of dependence and bondage to a so-called healthcare system that in reality performs sickness care that may even make you sicker, you’ll need to step out of the dark and take control of your health. This will require that you become your own wellness advocate and adopt a new lifestyle that follows the principles of functional medicine and enlightened self-care. You will have to make an investment in both self-reliance and money for prevention. After all, you are getting older and your health will grow increasingly important to you. Our clinicians are prepared to guide you towards wellness in a program specific to your individual needs and your not disease symptoms. Don’t simply ride the conveyor belt of age, but instead learn to optimize your health so you can live a vibrant life.