3X4’s new State of Functional Medicine series features interviews with a diverse range of active practitioners and established thought leaders to learn more about why they chose the field of functional medicine, what excites them most about their work, the most common misconceptions they hear from patients, and most importantly — how they see the field evolving in the years ahead as healthcare shifts to be more personalized, proactive, and preventative.
Functional medicine practitioners play a key role in helping patients understand who they are so they can improve their quality of life which is what we’re all about here at 3X4. Our goal with this new series is to celebrate the work these practitioners are doing and inspire others to explore the exciting field of functional medicine.
The following is an interview we have recently had with Theresa Fontenot, Owner of Renew Integrated Medical Spa.
Why did you decide to make functional medicine your focus?
TF: I was tired of patting my patients on the leg and saying “your lab is fine and there is nothing wrong” They felt horrible and I was not able to give them answers. I just could not see people in 5 minutes and treat them. With the current allopathic model all aspects of health cannot be addressed or treated.
Who have been your greatest mentors in your functional medicine journey?
TF: It started with a Metagenics rep who sent me to a conference where I was able to hear Dr Jeff Bland. That was it, I knew I found my tribe.
What excites you most about your day to day work?
TF: To see how much a patient can improve with education, supplementation (as minimal as possible) without the use of pharmaceuticals first line. I remember after seeing my first few patients I would hold my breath when I asked “How are you feeling?” They all had improvement, some more than others but I would say to myself “wow it really does work”.
What’s the most challenging part of your day to day work?
TF: It is often difficult to “change hats” from FM to aesthetics on some days. I try to keep FM days separate but they often bleed into each other.
By far having to do administrative activities through the day and answer practice operation questions from numerous employees during the day when trying to concentrate on clinical aspects of my job is very challenging.
What do patients most commonly get wrong about functional medicine?
TF: Do not understand the complexity and science behind such simple things as stress, nutrition, movement and rest.
What’s holding the field of functional medicine back?
TF: Traditional providers being afraid, unwilling, and lacking the ability to look outside the box of what pharma and their medical school taught them.
What has your experience been with genetic testing?
TF: It has been so helpful in allowing better and more precision and individualized medical care.
How do you see the practice of functional medicine evolving in the years ahead?
TF: The future of FM is rapidly evolving and it is wonderful to see certain things such as the importance of microbiome start to be discussed in traditional allopathic practices. In a small town like mine the issue is that I must spend a significant amount of time explaining what FM is. In larger cities patients are often already aware and seeking a FM approach. I do wear it as a badge of honor to be a pioneering educator for FM.
About Theresa Fontenot:
Theresa has practiced medicine for over 20 years and believes in Hope, Health and Healing from the inside out. She is the Founder and Owner of Renew Integrated Medical Spa. In addition to a complete aesthetic practice that includes the most technologically advanced procedures and products to enable you to age elegantly, Theresa also has a full-service Functional Medicine practice. Her passion is seeking out life-changing treatments and procedures and offering them to her patients in their own communities. Theresa and her staff want to educate their patients about how lifestyle and genetics can affect their health and beauty. Theresa is certified Health Practitioner through the American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners and a member of the Institute of Functional Medicine.