There’s a better path to understanding and treating autoimmune disease

Why look beyond the conventional approach?

When our teenaged son was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease in 2014, we were told he’d be on medication every day for the rest of his life. Potential side effects from the drugs were equally serious as the illness itself. We found that to be unacceptable and, we hoped, unnecessary, if we could just dig deeper and find a better approach. Enter functional medicine.

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The problem with the typical approach

Conventional medicine alone seems to miss the mark

Conventional western medicine was developed to address the acute care needs of infectious disease and trauma. Yet these same methods are ill equipped for the deep inquiry required to address today’s global epidemic of chronic illness.* A more effective approach to chronic illness is emerging. In contrast to the conventional reliance on pharmaceutical drugs (CRx) to treat acute illness, the functional medicine (FxM) approach uses a systems-based analysis to diagnose and treat chronic illness. It focuses on healing the CAUSE (underlying triggers), versus the CRx model of focusing on treating the EFFECT (symptoms).**

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Healing causes versus treating symptoms

Seeking an understanding of the root causes at work in an individual’s system is the key to this progressive approach. It is a departure from conventional medicine in that it tests for underlying triggers like toxins, infections, stressors, and imbalances that can drive inflammation and immune system hyper-reactivity and misdirection. And then it goes a step further by identifying and treating those triggers in a highly individualized way: there is more inquiry and analysis in a functional medicine approach than is typical in a conventional acute-care interaction.

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What does this mean for you?

This means opportunity

Using a deeply investigative approach means that you’ll likely discover triggers for your illness that haven’t been addressed so far. And then, when they are identified and treated, you can expect an improved outcome.

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This means a new approach

The ever-growing body of certified functional medicine practitioners are important guides in this healing-based approach, as is one other key component: YOU. Finding the root cause of your illness requires your active participation. This is where the other key trend in today’s evolution of healthcare merges with this approach: the age of patient engagement has truly arrived. The days of passive interaction with an authoritative doctor are behind us, as are the days of seeking a silver bullet to resolve a simple infection. This is the age of inquiry. The age of recognizing that chronic illness involves complex, interactive systems. It’s time to learn what’s at play. And it’s time for you to ENGAGE in the dialogue.

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Learn how to improve quality of life

Join the Community

How can The Autoimmune Families Community help?

Get your "you" back

Pursuing a collaborative approach with functional medicine can help put you in the driver’s seat in navigating chronic illness, not just relegate you to the status of passenger. Like all solutions, it only works if you do it. So, ask yourself: am I ready to feel better?

Focus on family systems

Living with chronic illness impacts more than just an individual; it affects the family as a whole. Roles and identities shift, and processes like grieving and adapting to change deserve attention. Learn what you can do to give and get the support you need.

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The solution is education and support

This is a fresh approach to tackling autoimmunity. There are some key principles to learn. There is a lot of information out there that you can research – and a lot of time you can spend identifying and navigating what’s relevant and neutral. We are a community that can help you “cut to the chase” faster in:

  • Understanding what are the key areas of inquiry
  • Helping to inform your discussion with both your specialist and your functional medicine team
  • Supporting you as a whole person, whether you are a patient or a caregiver
  • Recognizing that autoimmunity is a family disease – not just in its origin, but in how serious, chronic illness affects the whole family
  • Providing a “family” to those among us who don’t find the support we need in our immediate community.

How we can help you make progress

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We're stronger together

We can share our experience with each other, and together deepen our knowledge and understanding of what works and what doesn’t, who and what helps and how, and support each other as a community.

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Find the right path for you

You have to navigate through making the decisions that will best support you. This can be challenging when experts contradict each other, and you have to decide whose voice to listen to, and where to put your trust. We can help you process it.

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Learn and build with us

Understand which topics resonate with you and your health situation, so you can form a better line of inquiry with your provider(s). Your specific needs can also help shape our conversation to better meet your needs and experience.

Join our community of members

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Autoimmune Support Socially

We’re in this journey together. We’ve learned important lessons, want to help accelerate your inquiry into causes, and support you and your family along the way.

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Autoimmune Expert insight

Learn key drivers of chronic illness and what you can do about them from leaders in the FxM field. We’ll help you cut through the promotions to synthesize what’s relevant for you.

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Resource Directory

Find services, providers, and mechanisms that support a “whole person” approach to AI wellness. Get discounts on select products and services; share resources you’ve found.

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Guided Conversations

Learn 5 principles of healing & lifestyle to aid your conversation with a trusted provider. It’s never been more important to learn what you can do to help advance your recovery.

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