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Functional Medicine

by Dr. Jon Thomas, DC, PSc.D, Board Certified Chiropractic Physician.

Dr. Jeffrey Bland and Susan Bland
“What’s above ground is easier to see and, in many ways, easier to treat. But unless you dig down and uproot the weed, you’ll never contain it; you’ll only stunt its growth.” Jeffrey Bland, PhD, Founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine, as quoted in  Experience Life Magazine
One of the reasons so many people are suffering with poor health these days is that we have not been educated on the definition of true health.  When people understand what health really is, they can actually create their own wellness philosophy and determine which lifestyle approaches are best for them.
What is health?
One core definition of health is “a state of normal function.” If you wish to improve your health, you must first find out what it is that causes you to function optimally. People are more interested than ever before in biking, swimming, running, doing yoga, lifting weights, taking supplements, and proper diet. Most people have begun to realize that they must play an active role in their own health if they want to keep it or get it back. Some of the most common health objectives include:
  • Enhancing overall well-being
  • Overcoming and preventing illness
  • Improving energy level and appearance
  • Increasing the length and quality of life
Courtesy of Wikimedia
However, none of these goals cause the human body to function. To find what really causes you to function nominally, you must first determine what is abnormal in your anatomy.
The Central Nervous System (CNS) is composed of the brain, spinal cord, and spinal nerves. The CNS controls all functions and healing in the human body. To have normal function - a requirement for good health - the CNS must work without damage or interference.
There is a continuous flow of information from the brain to the rest of the body and from the organs back to the brain. When the head is in an abnormal position or there’s a misalignment of individual vertebrae, it will interfere with the flow of information to and from the brain. This interference keeps the organs from functioning normally.
A healthy spine is one of the keys to having a healthy life. It’s also a very important part of Functional Medicine.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is an approach to health which addresses the whole person, not just whatever symptoms may be bothering someone at any given time.  At Vibrant Life Health Center, we spend time with our patients listening to them and assessing the numerous factors that are influencing their long-term health. We believe that working in close partnership with our patients will help them to achieve their fitness and health goals.
The Institute of Functional Medicine, which was established in the 1990s, asserts that:
  • Functional Medicine offers a powerful new system model for the assessment, treatment, and prevention of chronic disease. It is replacing the outdated and acute-care models from the 20th century.
  • Functional Medicine utilizes the latest in genetic science, systems biology, and understanding of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the progression of disease.
  • Functional Medicine is enabling physicians and other health professionals to practice personalized medicine. It empowers patients to take an active role in their own health.
Why Functional Medicine?
Most physicians are oriented toward the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that needs to be treated immediately. This is referred to as “acute care” and it includes everything from heart attacks to broken bones. Physicians apply specific treatments, such as drugs or surgery, that aim to treat the immediate problem.

However, the acute-care approach to medicine is ill equipped to address chronic disease. Acute care does not normally take into account factors like stress, diet, and exposure to toxins. Many physicians have no training to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic diseases. They don’t apply strategies like nutrition, diet, and exercise to treat and prevent illnesses.
Essential Components of Functional Medicine
  • Get the patient’s complete story
  • Identify and address the patient’s lifestyle factors as well as any undesirable environmental factors
  • Address any clinical imbalance the patient may have
  • Establish a working partnership between practitioner and patient.
What is Biofeedback Technology and how does it help patients?
Biofeedback is one of the many tools we use at Vibrant Life Health Center to help patients achieve their health and fitness goals. It ties right in with Functional Medicine. Mayo Clinic has a good definition of biofeedback on their website.
“Biofeedback is a technique you can use to learn to control your body's functions, such as your heart rate. With biofeedback, you're connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information (feedback) about your body (bio). This feedback helps you focus on making subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles, to achieve the results you want, such as reducing pain. In essence, biofeedback gives you the power to use your thoughts to control your body, often to improve a health condition or physical performance.” Mayo Clinic
Relaxing sounds like it should be easy, but for a lot of people it’s not. At Vibrant Life, we use biofeedback to help patients train themselves on how to relax. We also use biofeedback to help patients modify their behavior in situations that may cause stress and anxiety.
In this article, I have discussed Functional Medicine, which addresses all the needs of the patient as opposed to simply treating symptoms and conditions. I’ve also discussed biofeedback technology, one of the tools we use to help patients achieve their health and fitness goals.
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At Vibrant Life, we address all of the key elements to add vibrance and vitality to your life. This includes nutrition, chiropractic care, and fitness. If you need to consult with a chiropractor about your neck, back, or any other health concern, please contact our office to set up an appointment.
Dr. Jon Thomas is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician. His practice, The Vibrant Life Health Center, is located in the Mandarin section of Jacksonville. His interest in health and fitness started early, and his athletic pursuits have included BMX racing, Professional Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Baseball, Weight Lifting, and Martial Arts. After studying and learning from some of the top health experts throughout the world, Dr. Thomas dedicated his life to helping people of all ages to transform their lives. The objective for each patient is to initiate the body’s healing and to work progressively toward a body that functions optimally. Dr. Thomas is seen regularly on TV on First Coast Living, where he discusses the transformations of his patients. He also speaks at events throughout the community and writes informative articles to improve the health of residents throughout Jacksonville.


  1. The trick to being healthy is staying healthy. Traditional medicine only treats the symptoms. Chiropractic keeps the entire body tuned up to maintain peak performance.

  2. I like the idea of going to a doctor who tries to get the whole picture. It makes a lot of sense.