Functional medicine is the epitome of science and holistic health coming together. By utilizing lab work and panels, your practitioner can see where your issues stem from and what’s going on inside you that is causing physical issues. Better yet, lab panels can help you avoid ever facing health issues, since they give insight into your internal makeup and well-being, you can gain knowledge about how to live a healthier, more holistic life.
Emily Burger is a practitioner of functional medicine who uses her knowledge of science and medicine to treat her patients at the root cause as well as inspire them to live healthy lives for years to come. Learn more about Emily and her work here:
About Emily and her work:
I am a board-certified physician assistant. I specialized in Cardiology for two years and then switched to Dermatology, and I am coming up on 10 years in medical, cosmetic, and surgical Dermatology this May. I am also a functional medicine health consultant and run my virtual consulting practice. I started Holistic Healing, LLC in January 2022. With consulting, I can utilize a functional medicine approach to help people get to the root cause of their dis-ease. It is perfect for those who prefer a more holistic, natural approach to their health and wellness.
I have known since I was very young that I wanted to go into the medical field. My mom is a retired ICU nurse, and my dad is a respiratory therapist. I grew up admiring their compassion and selflessness toward those they cared for. I just knew I had to go into medicine to help people just like they did!
As a Dermatology PA, I get to help people of all ages with many different ailments. I see and treat atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, vitiligo, lupus, warts, acne, and rosacea, to name a few, and I also screen patients for skin cancer. I have diagnosed and treated thousands of skin cancers at this point in my career, and that is a pretty amazing feeling, especially when I catch an aggressive tumor early and it saves a life. I love meeting new people daily through my clinical work and getting to know their stories.
I am very much about connection, so it’s an excellent opportunity to meet new faces and connect with others daily. As a functional medicine health consultant, I love that I am doing more than just temporarily fixing a problem or putting a band-aid on symptoms. It is an entirely different approach and more of looking at the body as a whole system, which is so important! I feel that western medicine has become a vicious cycle of “diagnose, prescribe, diagnose, prescribe,” and what happens is people end up on numerous medications with no real exit strategy and no real answer as to what is causing their symptoms in the first place. I love that through functional medicine testing, I can be like a detective looking upstream to discover where the problem begins!
Emily explains functional medicine:
When working with a functional medicine practitioner, an emphasis is placed on a whole body and holistic approach to medicine. The lab panels are looking deeper than what is on the surface. I always explain it to my clients like this: functional medicine lab panels look at all the cycles in our bodies. They look at our microbiome, toxin exposure, detoxification pathways, mitochondria, neurotransmitters, etc. These test results are like the gauges in our cars. Little lights are turning on and alerting us that something is going wrong in the body, and then we can work to correct the problem before it turns into a full-blown disease or disorder. Lab panels that are run when you see a regular doctor are looking for a disease or disorder that is already present, and then you get prescribed medications to treat the disease. Functional medicine is more about teaching you how to be healthy and prevent, whereas western medicine is more focused on diagnosing and symptom management.
With my virtual practice, once a client is ready to work 1:1, I order comprehensive panels, and the lab I use delivers everything straight to their door. It is then on the client to collect the samples at home and ship them back to the lab. It typically takes about two weeks to get those results in, and then once they are in, I start working on a bio-individualized treatment plan, and we schedule all of our virtual appointments. These appointments are not just 15 minutes of looking at a doctor’s back. They are typically 1-hour long, face-to-face appointments to make sure clients leave feeling seen and heard. I offer my clients weekly check-ins while they are in my program as well. It is honestly like having private access to a healthcare practitioner while you are working to reach all of your health and wellness goals!
Everyone can benefit from functional medicine testing. No matter what you are struggling with, there is so much to gain. Even for those who are healthy and not struggling with any symptoms, there is so much power in knowing and understanding your body.
Again, functional medicine lab panels look beyond the surface and go deeper in evaluating every system in the body. This helps people identify and reverse problems that lead to things like autoimmune disorders, inflammation, and metabolic disease. This is the key to overall healing and long-term wellness.
What it’s like for the patient:
I learn the most about my clients when I can analyze their GI map, stool analysis, and organic acid panel. These two panels give me everything I need to help clients know what to focus on with their nutrition and supplements. I love helping clients learn how to balance their blood sugar, sync their circadian rhythms, and regulate their nervous systems. These are the fundamental pillars of good health.
It is like nothing you have ever experienced going to a doctor’s office. It is so personalized, and it is having someone passionate about getting to the root cause of your symptoms, not just managing symptoms and leaving you feeling confused and without answers.
I simply ask clients who are interested but skeptical, “has what you’ve done in the past helped you?” This answer is almost always no. I say, “well then, it is time to try a new approach.” They always agree, and we move forward.
Emily’s health and wellness tips:
I am very passionate about ditching the toxins in your personal care products and household cleaning products. It doesn’t have to happen all at once, but when you start switching to non-toxic products and ditch the air fresheners, the dryer sheets, the wall plug-ins and candles, and the bleach…you will be amazed at how much better you feel. All these things have hormone disruptors, and when we are exposed to these products daily, putting them on our skin and breathing them in, the effects are detrimental.
I love listening to Doctor’s Farmacy by Dr. Mark Hyman and The Genius Life by Max Lugavere. They always have amazing guest speakers who are experts in their fields, and they give a lot of holistic tips. I love On Purpose with Jay Shetty for mindset Mel Robbins on the Mel Robbins podcast. I love the book Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin and The New Rules of Aging Well by Frank Lipman.
Contrary to popular western medicine, functional medicine addresses the root cause of current or potential issues and gives you the tools to address them. Whether that be treatment to reverse health problems or prevention to avoid them in the first place.
Check out Emily Burger’s website and connect with her on Instagram to learn more about her and her work:
To learn more about holistic healing, including expert perspectives and personal stories from those who have experienced such treatments, follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be a part of our community. We share personal stories and expert advice on all different modalities of holistic healing and overall health and well-being.
If you have a story, you’d like to share or an area of expertise in holistic health, email us at email@example.com for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media!