Minnesota Natural Medicine is a place where you can discover and apply the tools of integrative health and pursue a comprehensive approach to solving health care issues. We are a consultative medical office providing a combination of conventional and integrative approaches to health, aging and disease. We attempt to understand patient uniquenesses through careful history-taking, pertinent examinations, and detailed laboratory analysis as a foundation for examination of all options available for your healthcare.
We focus on the application of "upstream principles" that are all too often excluded from our medical care. These include the identification of our genetic strengths and weaknesses, biological functions, and nutritional needs that form a unique set of variables that are highly specific. If addressed appropriately, we feel that functional capacity can be optimized, disease activity curtailed, and true prevention practiced. There is nothing "experimental or investigational" about what we do. Necessary time and focus (things you rarely get in your local insurance company-managed care factory) are essential elements in what we do.
Integrative and Functional Medicine
Integrative medicine is simply the practice of conventional medicine with a much broader set of additional principles and practices. It makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. It does not stop with a drug or procedure. It also emphasizes the principle of "shared authority" and the relationship between practitioner and patient. Functional Medicine seeks to uncover the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach rather than a "what's the diagnosis" name game. It is the new frontier in the practice of medicine that is much more consistent with managing health in the 21st century. By shifting the conventional disease-centered focus of medical practice with ill-suited codes and insurance company directives to a more patient-centered approach, functional Medicine addresses the big picture, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
A case example might the individual with high blood pressure who, after the practitioner looks at the most recent set of practice guidelines, will prescribe a drug (with all the attendant side effects rarely discussed with the patient) and ask that they "follow up in 2 months". A functional medicine approach would first look at any and all known factors -- historical (stress), age-related, gentic, nutritional, inflammatory -- and address the underlying cause of this seeming;y "high blood pressure". Endothelial function -- the state of the arterial vessels actually causing the elevated presssure -- will actually be measured using an instrument that measures arterial elasticity. Then, the best and most integrative approach will be used to treat what the actual cause is: Stress? Poor nitric oxide generation (the substance that makes the small arteries dilate and flex)? Diet? Magnesium deficiency (rarely measured properly in conventional clinics)? The tools that might be used would NOT begin with a drug that will invariably cause side effects in the short or long term. These same principles are used in addressing any medical problem whether it is a headache, sore joints, insomnia, or mood disorder. One can see that this is NOT likely to occur in the standard 15 minute, cropped and coded visit at your local managed care clinic.
In 2014 we became an official site for the University of Minnesota Department of Family Practice Residency program in teaching the principles of functional and integrative medicine. For more information about our approaches see some of the discussion on our home page with helpful links.
Christopher M Foley MD is a board certified internist with 38 years of clinical practice. He was the first practicing integrative and functional medicine physician in Minnesota who pushed this different approach to patient care from within a major healthcare organization (HealthEast) before leaving to form Minnesota Natural Medicine in 2001. He reported the first case of Lyme disease in Minnesota in 1981 and has more experience in the management of this illness than any other physician in the Midwest. He is also a former clinical professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School and College of Pharmacy where he taught courses in the chemistry of botanical medicines and nutraceuticals.
Julie Tebben CNP is a certified nurse practitioner (CNP) with a focus on women's functional health and hormone therapy. She has been practicing functional medicine for 10 years and became a certified functional medicine practitioner with the Institute of Functional Medicine in 2016. Some areas of focus include hormone imbalances,gut dysfunction, chronic fatigue, autoimmune dysfunction, cancer risk reduction as well as nutritional and lifestyle counseling.
Jonathan Otten ND is a board certified naturpathic physician with a special interest in childhood health, vaccine alternatives, autism spectrum disorders, and individualized functional health options. He is a graduate of the Midwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and represents the future of the interface between 20th and 21st century healthcare.