Functional Medicine Clinic in South Elgin

Welcome to Olive Branch Wellness Center. We’re a naturopathy clinic serving Kane County and beyond. Our offices are in South Elgin, and they’re conveniently located for anyone in St. Charles, Geneva, and Bartlett who wants to focus on wellness in their lives.

Functional medicine is related to naturopathy. Both seek to find and address the root causes of challenges to wellness. They are also both areas of focus in the alternative medicine profession. It’s probably easiest to think of “functional medicine” as an umbrella term that includes a number of more specific focus areas.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the big ideas behind functional medicine. This discussion is meant as more of an overview — if you’d like some clarification or any kind of personal advice, please feel free to schedule an appointment with us. Here are the topics we’ll cover:

  • What Is Functional Medicine?
  • What Is Naturopathy?
  • What Is the Therapeutic Order?
  • Is Functional Medicine Real? Does It Work?
  • Is Functional Medicine the Same as Alternative Medicine?
  • What Techniques do Functional Doctors Use?
  • Is It Safe To Mix Conventional and Alternative Medicine?
  • Where Is Olive Branch Wellness Center?
  • What Can I Expect When I Come In?

What Is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is typically an additional diploma or specialty that people get after getting their MD degree from a conventional medical school. It’s for those who appreciate the potential value of alternative medical approaches, but still want to use conventional techniques.

Like many other places that focus on alternative medicine, a functional medical clinic would probably start you with non-invasive care. Most functional doctors prescribe prescription medication or suggest surgery only after other, gentler options are exhausted.

What Is Naturopathy?

Naturopathy is similar to functional medicine in many ways. It’s also our main focus here at Olive Branch Wellness Center.

Like functional clinics, the goal of our naturopathic wellness center is to improve your overall level of wellness by caring for you as a whole person. This is in contrast with conventional medicine, where the focus on symptoms and pathology can leave you feeling more like a statistic than a real human being.

Naturopathy is more than just natural techniques, such as herbal care, massage, or therapeutic exercise. It’s also about simple lifestyle changes and knowledge that give people the power to take control of their own wellness.

What Is the Therapeutic Order?

Naturopathy is guided by something we call the therapeutic order. This is a similar system to functional medicine, in that it starts by establishing the basis for wellness — usually by removing barriers. Here are the steps we follow when providing care:

  1. Removing barriers to vitality and establishing the determinants of wellness. Basically, we get to know our patients’ situations and try to figure out the root causes of any challenges they might have.
  2. Engaging the body’s natural power to be well. We believe that the body has a natural tendency towards wellness, and that specific stimuli often get things started on their own.
  3. Strengthening weakened systems. The body needs to be strong enough to use its natural ability to be well.
  4. Physical alignment. Sometimes, a misalignment in a physical system stands in the way of recovering strength.
  5. Natural relief. Discomfort is not always something to suppress without care — it can sometimes tell us about the root causes of barriers to wellness. However, sometimes feeling more comfortable is what you need to get started.

As you can see, we trust that the body has an innate ability to be well. Much of what we do as naturopaths involves empowering and assisting people — in mind, body, and spirit — to claim the highest level of vitality they can. We also apply advanced wellness techniques when the situation calls for it, but usually to facilitate or encourage natural processes.

Is Functional Medicine Real? Does It Work?

Functional medicine is very real, as is naturopathy. Both areas of focus fall into the general category of patient-focused care. We try to look at people as real human beings, in the context of their unique lives.

As for whether it works — that’s a tough question. The fact is that you don’t want any medical provider telling you that a certain type of care will definitely work. That is simply not ethical. Doctors don’t know the future, they simply make the best decisions possible with the knowledge and experience that they have.

We can’t promise any type of cure, but we can promise that you will be treated with respect and consideration here at Olive Branch Wellness Center. We will put our heads together to identify your unique wellness challenges and opportunities, then stay with you as you work towards the future you want.

Is Functional Medicine the Same as Alternative Medicine?

Functional medicine is an alternative focus in conventional medicine, but it’s more than that as well. Since there are so many terms in the alternative medicine world, let’s look at a brief list:

  • Holistic: Holistic medicine is a general term that most people use when they want to talk about keeping options open. It’s about considering the whole situation, including multiple wellness factors and courses of action for care.
  • Alternative: “Alternative” medicine is often used in conjunction with conventional medicine, not really as a one-or-the-other choice. It refers to care outside of the cut-and-dry symptom treatment or annual physicals you might be used to.
  • Conventional: Conventional medicine is what a typical general practitioner uses. There is often an emphasis on symptom relief and synthetic pharmaceuticals.
  • Functional: Functional medicine is a great example of the fusion of conventional and alternative approaches. Functional doctors attempt to address the root causes of problems.
  • Naturopathic: Naturopathy focuses on natural, gentle care and follows the naturopathic therapeutic order.
  • Homeopathic: Homeopathic medicine is a specific approach to helping with various wellness challenges.
  • Botanical/herbal: Botanical and herbal care uses unprocessed or gently processed plant components for various purposes.

There’s some overlap, of course. Functional doctors might use conventional techniques. Doctors of naturopathy might use herbal care, as we often do here at Olive Branch. At the end of the day, all of these approaches start with a desire to help people live well and be happy — it makes sense that there’s some sharing between the categories.

What Techniques Do Functional Doctors Use?

Functional doctors and care providers use a diverse set of techniques and approaches. Massage therapy, acupuncture, herbal care, chiropractic medicine, physical therapy — these are all potential options depending on the functional medicine clinic and the patient.

Your situation is unique, and functional doctors want to understand it fully. Once they do, they choose from a wide range of techniques. It’s a level of personalization that you might not be used to in a conventional medical setting, but (at least in our experience) people warm up to the approach almost immediately.

Is It Safe To Mix Conventional and Alternative Medicine?

As anyone who has any experience with medical complications or pharmaceutical interactions can attest, mixing medicines is not always a good idea. This is one of the reasons it is so important to use a reputable, experienced, and professional alternative care provider.

Most of what we do at Olive Branch Wellness Center is completely non-invasive. Beyond that, any option with any foreseeable risk is carefully weighed against the details of your unique situation. One of the core tenets of naturopathy is that we should do no harm, and that means knowing how our wellness plans fit with your conventional care.

So, short answer: It can be safe to mix conventional and alternative medicine. Just please ensure that you have professional, informed, ethical, and attentive care providers on both sides.

Where Is Olive Branch Wellness Center?

Olive Branch Wellness Center is at 465 Briargate Drive in South Elgin. That’s in a commercial area at the corner of Stearns/McDonald and Randall Road. We’re 15-20 minutes away from downtown St. Charles, Bartlett, and Geneva. Metra and bus connections are also convenient from nearly anywhere in Chicagoland — we’re about the same distance from both the Bartlett and Geneva Metra stations.

If you’re visiting from even further out, South Elgin is about half an hour away from O’Hare International Airport, or one hour from Midway. The biggest highways nearby are I-90 and 80/88.

There are plenty of ways to get here, but the best thing is that you don’t even have to make the trip. If you have mobility issues, if you’re far away, or if you’d just prefer a virtual connection, we offer the option for video appointments to all of our patients and corporate wellness plan clients.

What Can I Expect When I Come In?

When you make your first appointment, please come ready to share — we need to get to know you before we join you on your path to wellness. Your first session will be about an hour, but people usually say that the time flies by.

We will get to know your situation, talk about how you feel, and potentially start with some gentle, natural care. It all depends on you. Please contact us online or call us today at 224-769-9029. We’re looking forward to hearing from you soon!