Practical Healing team talking


Sarah Cawley, PA-C, IFMCP Co-Founder of Practical Healing


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Functional Medicine Requires The Creativity and Willingness to Walk A Different Path

If you are familiar with the field of medicine in general, you likely know that forging a new path in this field is difficult work. Although it’s been more than 20 years since our certifying institution,  the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), was founded, it has taken some time to clear the weeds and pave the way for our current practice. The community is still learning what functional medicine is and how we can provide a different strategy for common medical problems. When introducing the type of health practitioner I am, the first question I often receive is “What is functional medicine?” Many people ask “Is it integrative? Is it complimentary? Is it Lifestyle Medicine?” The short answer is Functional Medicine is all these things and more.

At its core, Functional Medicine is really a style of health practice that honors the entire person. Not just the lab values, symptoms, or medical history, but truly a person’s entire state of being: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. By incorporating the best of what traditional medicine offers and combining it with evidence-based nutrition and lifestyle strategies, emotional and spiritual wellness, and topping it off with personalized visits with a dedicated practitioner, we find a proactive recipe for lifelong healing. 

This requires creativity and the willingness to walk a different path in our careers as practitioners, and we passionately believe that this is the right way to care for our patients, and ourselves.


At Practical Healing, we address many common complaints: fatigue, stomach issues, hormone imbalances—as well as disease states related to things such as autoimmune disease and metabolic health. Our goal is to create the space for and empower our patients with the tools they need to heal, acting as a guide to facilitate discovery, education, and change.

Beyond the healing process, our practice has been moving towards a different way of addressing preventative care. Medicine 3.0 as coined by Dr. Peter Attia, is a way of caring for patients that finds the intersection between the latest scientific evidence and the best of what the field of medicine has to offer, forging new, proactive strategies to help patients optimize their health and function—functional medicine. The focus is on risk reduction of various chronic and life-limiting diseases by utilizing ultra-proactive measures and stringent, evidence-based strategies. The ability to utilize the latest research and apply it to individual patients is key, but unfortunately so is the ability to step outside the insurance-based healthcare system.


Medical providers have to “prove” dysfunction before tests will be covered, and this type of care requires patients and providers to seek out self-pay options. For example, to gather this critical information in our current healthcare system, “Medicine 2.0”, you have to wait until a blood marker called hemoglobin A1c, a marker of the average glucose level over the past 120 days, begins to elevate before your practitioner will react— recommending either lifestyle changes or medication. 

However, we know that the physiology that causes this dysfunction begins years before that blood marker reflects a change. For many patients, labs will appear “normal” despite underlying pathology that the lab measurements just haven’t caught up to yet. By utilizing tools such as continuous glucose monitoring, oral glucose tolerance testing, and measuring insulin levels, we can identify and address insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation years before that pathology is reflected through routinely obtained lab values. The goal is to prevent chronic disease.

At Practical Healing, our goal is to help our patients live longer, healthier lives. In moving from a  reactive, sick care model, to a proactive healthcare model, we aim to help our patients discover a quality of life that allows them to enjoy what they were purposed to do! 

Interested in taking the road less traveled with us? We would love to travel with you.

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