What is Functional Medicine?

Short Answer: Functional Medicine is an approach of looking at your symptoms and asking why do you have them? Where are they coming from? Specifically, what is the root cause, since any symptom can come from many causes? Functional medicine approaches the body as a system of interconnected processes, so we ask, what process is not working optimally and why? Then we direct our healing to those systems that are out of balance.

Deeper Answer: Functional Medicine, I believe will soon be the way care is delivered because it effectively addresses the health and wellness needs of our times.

Conventional medicine operates at its best in acute care: accidents, heart attacks, strokes, infections. And does it very effectively. However, most people have chronic issues such as heartburn, constipation, thyroid issues, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, to name a few common conditions. 

What is more typical is they just are not feeling their best and don’t know why. They don't have a "diagnosis" of a condition but feel off: tired, not sleeping well, more irritable than normal, crave certain foods, or eat mostly processed foods, or they just have much energy to do the things they want to.

Conventional medicine approaches sickness as a set of symptoms that get put in buckets, each bucket gets labeled a disease or condition which are typically addressed by finding a drug that minimizes the symptoms or their impact, so overall you feel better. 

But the condition is never fully resolved and so no plan is made to “end” the use of medications, and more often than not, the side effects can be just as bad as the condition it is supposed to improve.

5 Principles of Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine asks two questions: "What does this person have that they need less of and what do they need more of?" Functional Medicine has 5 Principles of approaching a person: 

5 Principles of Functional Medicine

  • Treat the individual, not the disease. Every one of us is unique with our biochemistry, genetics, and environment.
  • Functional Medicine is based on science and believes we are inherently an interrelated complex system of connections and are more than the demarcation of nerves, muscles, and organs.
  • Our body has the capacity to self-regulate and dynamically balance itself. Functional Medicine supports and focuses interventions at this level rather than just address the symptoms of the disease.
  • Our bodies have the innate ability to heal itself and to prevent disease.
  • Health is not defined by a lack of disease but by living life to the fullest, fully optimized

Functional Medicine offers an approach whose goal is to regain any lost health and to optimize how well the person lives their life. 

You can read the Institute of Functional Medicine’s definition here

Are services covered by insurance?

Ruckus Wellness is a cash-based clinical consulting practice. This means that Ruckus Wellness operates as an out-of-network provider and services are not covered. 

Often people will use their Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for services but it is always strongly recommended finding out what services are covered by your insurance, how you may use your HSA card, and how reimbursement works, you will need to contact your insurance provider.

Why cash only?

Ruckus Wellness is a cash-based clinical consulting practice. This means that Ruckus Wellness operates as an out-of-network provider.

The intent or goal of my approach to health and well-being is that you live your best and be your best and when you are not, then you quickly return to an optimal state. 

In my years of practice, the best way I know to help you achieve this optimal state of living and being your best is through the lens of Functional Medicine. This means spending the time to get to know you and to get to the root cause of any imbalances and guiding you through the steps to not only regain and maintain that balance. 

Not only does this take time but it takes being in a relationship where change can occur. The 25-35 patients a day a typical insurance-based provider must see, in my opinion, in no way allows this important relationship to happen.

It is my opinion that for all intent and purpose, insurance companies are not focused on prevention or wellness. Functional medicine works on getting to the underlying cause and uses nutrition and lifestyle changes as the foundation of treatment and teaches you how to stay well.

My organization, Ruckus Wellness highly values relationships and believes that healing cannot occur outside of a relationship. This takes time, connection, curiosity, and persistence to find the root cause and correct it through lifestyle changes and if needed, medication, and the use of other healers. 

The Institute of Functional Medicine states it better. Read more here.

How does lab testing work? 

If labs are recommended, where are they drawn? Will insurance cover them?

Labs come in two “flavors”: 

  • Blood testing 
  • Functional testing 

Blood testing is likely what you are most familiar with where someone takes blood and sends it off to the lab to analyze. Functional testing is used when information is needed that usually can’t be provided for or easily accessed from conventional methods. 

Ruckus Wellness does not currently have blood drawing capabilities and utilizes two options depending on your location. You can go to a clinic (yours or a referral), a testing center near you (Quest, LabCorp, or AnyLabNow type facilities), or we can arrange for a mobile phlebotomist. 

If functional labs are recommended then kits are either given to you or ordered and sent to your house where you will complete the test at home. 

Costs of labs:

Conventional labs are usually covered by insurance but you must check with your insurance company to confirm coverage and costs. Functional medicine specialty labs are usually not covered; again, contact your insurance for accurate coverage information.

Expect to invest around $200-$500 or more for testing with your initial visit.

What if I have to cancel or reschedule my appointment?

If you need to reschedule or cancel that is fine. Ruckus Wellness asks, however, that you give us three full business days advance notice. Failure to do so will incur a penalty, depending on services engaged. This could be the full cost of the appointment, a charge against the total number of in-person appointments allowed in a package if applicable, or other costs and/or penalties, based on the type of services you are engaged in. This fee, penalty, and policy are non-negotiable.


Please understand, you are under no obligation to purchase nutritional supplements from Ruckus Wellness.

As a service to you, Ruckus Wellness can connect you to websites where recommended supplements, vitamins, herbs, and such, can be purchased where brand names are sold that I have confidence in their quality and effectiveness. 

While these supplements may come at a higher cost than those found on the shelves of pharmacies or other health food stores, or online, the cost value must also include assurance of their purity, quality, bioavailability (the ability to be properly absorbed and utilized by the body), and effectiveness. The same assurances cannot be made when supplements are purchased from the general marketplace, given the lack of stringent testing requirements for dietary supplements which can result in inconsistent unpredictable quality. I am also concerned about the inability to know the details regarding different shipping and storage methods used by stores and pharmacies since temperature, humidity, and other handling details can affect the potency of the supplements. 

What is your privacy and other policies?

All email and medical record-keeping is through a HIPPA compliant email service and/or through an Electronic Medical Records.

After you have chosen to engage with Ruckus Wellness, one of the first things you will be asked to sign, is a Privacy Policy as well as document acknowledging Ruckus Wellness’ Policies, Procedures, Consultation Disclaimer, and Consent for Consultation of consulting care with Ruckus Wellness.

Ruckus Wellness does not share your email or other private information with other service providers without your consent.

Ready to find out more?

Drop us a line to get started on discovering your clinical imbalances.