Creating Optimal Health Through Functional Medicine


Last Tuesday night, I sat in a downtown Dallas Art’s District auditorium that was filled with people interested in food. There was no cooking demonstration. The special of the day was a free talk by Dr. Mark Hyman, chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine.

What is functional medicine? According to Dr. Hyman, “functional medicine is the future of conventional medicine–available now. It seeks to find and address the root causes of disease and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.”

Functional medicine is a way to become healthier in a more holistic way, mind-body-spirit. Dr. Hyman and other functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to “consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology and lifestyle that can lead to illness.”

Mega-pastor Rick Warren invited his entire church to join him on his quest to become healthier through functional medicine. The result was significant weight loss and lifestyle changes in his congregation.

Dr. Hyman is a volunteer with Partners in Health, which is working in Haiti and is also on the Board of Advisors of Memhet Oz’s HealthCorps, which tackles the obesity epidemic by “educating the student body” in American high schools about nutrition, fitness and mental resilience.

This talk generated thoughts about my diet. I thought I was pretty healthy and shopped the grocery store’s outer aisles, avoiding processed foods. After hearing his talk, I realized that processed foods have infiltrated our food system.

Here are some of the things I learned:

  1. Eat as close to the food source as possible
  2. Read food labels
  3. Avoid high-fructose corn syrup
  4. Exercise often
  5. De-stress – the Crow Museum has several free yoga classes
  6. Get sleep

I applaud the groups: Integrative Medicine Program at Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center at Dallas, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Institute for Functional Medicine, and the Dallas Yoga Center, who were responsible for organizing this talk. I look forward to hearing more fascinating mind-body-spirit talks.

If you’re curious to try a local class, check out these programs.

June Special Events at the Integrative Medicine Program/Cvetko Patient Education and Support Center are free, but require registration. Please call 214.820.2608 for more information or to register for these:


Healing Vibrations: Drum Circle
June 5 & 19; 11:30 AM-12:30 PM

Drumming and the use of pure rhythm are fun and therapeutic ways of releasing emotions and relating to other group members. Drumming can accelerate physical healing, boost the immune system, and produce feelings of well-being. Registration required.

Relaxation Made Easy
June 7 & 21; 10:00-11:30 AM

Learn how to include relaxation and meditation in your daily habits. Participate in guided imagery, muscle relaxation, and other techniques to help make your day less stressful. New attendees will receive a free relaxation CD (one per household). Registration required.

The Master Series – Feng Shui
June 19; 1:00-2:00 PM

Optimize positive energy in your home to enhance your healing process. Join us as Kathryn Voreis, MSN, RN, certified in Feng Shui, presents the basic philosophy of this ancient Chinese tradition. Registration required.

Writing for Wellness – Distress
June 26; 10:00-11:30 AM

Journaling may enhance the healing process through expression of thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Join us to learn how journaling can help you cope with life’s challenges. Registration required.


The Best Burgers!

June 28; 10:00-11:30 PM

Summer is here so bring on the burgers! Join us as we explore some not-so-typical burger creations that will satisfy cravings while keeping a rein on unwanted calories. Try new twists on this American classic. Registration required.

Farmer’s Market Fresh – Summer
June 11; 2:00-3:30 PM

Summer fruits and vegetables are bursting with color and flavor. It is easy to eat cool succulent produce all day during this time of year! Learn creative ideas for turning summer produce into masterpiece meals. Registration required.

To learn more about the Integrative Medicine Program at Baylor, visit: baylorhealth.com/integrativemedicine

About the author

Susan Hall
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Susan joined Baylor many years ago when Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas was the only Baylor facility in the area. When not at work, she’s outside – Big Bend National Park is her favorite with Glacier National Park a close second.

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Creating Optimal Health Through Functional Medicine