Sick Care Versus Get Well Care

How to move from being sick, requires well care.

If you or someone you love have one of the many chronic health problems that people suffer from such as, heart disease, fibromyalgia, ulcers, chronic fatigue, and autoimmune disease—you will likely be given a drug to manage your symptoms and not much else. The key to successfully treating these conditions, however, is addressing their underlying cause and concurrently follow the treatment by medical providers. This is the promise of Chinese medicine (acupuncture and herbal medicine) and functional medicine- treat the underline elements. Providers like myself and medical providers need to work together, I do it here every day at our office.

Most patients are told that the causes of their condition are unknown and simply prescribed drugs to manage the symptoms. But is it really true that we don’t know what causes chronic illness? Certainly, there are particulars related to each specific illness that we don’t yet understand. But I would argue that we do, in fact, have a solid grasp on the most important factors that contribute to virtually all chronic diseases. Hence, it’s within our body’s innate ability and power to prevent, stop the progress, and in some cases reverse many of these conditions.

Presently in the midst of the most serious epidemic of chronic disease, we have ever faced. 50% of US adults are facing one or more chronic health conditions, and 25% have two or more. (1) 7 of the top 10 causes of death in 2010 were chronic diseases, and two of them—heart disease and cancer—together accounted for almost half of all deaths. (2)

The Functional Medicine With Acupuncture Model

In conventional medicine, focus is on diseases and the symptoms; it works “from the outside in”. For example, you undergo a physical exam exam and your blood tests reveal that you have “high cholesterol”. The most likely outcome in this situation is that you’ll be prescribed a statin, and in some cases be told to exercise more and eat better. There is rarely any serious investigation into what “caused” the high cholesterol in the first place. Many times an assumption is made it is your diet.

In acupuncture functional medicine, however, we work “from the inside out”. We pay less attention to the symptoms, and  attention to the pathology that produces those symptoms. High cholesterol is a symptom, not a pathology. The underline problems that can lead to high cholesterol include a combination of the following imbalanced QI (acupuncture term for energy), poor thyroid function, intestinal permeability, disrupted gut microbiome, chronic viral or bacterial infections, insulin and leptin resistance, and nutrient imbalances—few.


Stefanie Bennett, L.Ac., Ph.D.

Stefanie Bennett, L.Ac., Ph.D.

 Whether you have one or more conditions I will focus on the underline causes with acupuncture and functional medicine. Of course, I will pursue MD’s approval and work as a team. I have found most medical providers to be receptive to my co-management, especially since I have an extensive medical clinical background.

As you can see, this is a fundamentally different approach than what is typically done in the conventional setting.

Unfortunately, the acupuncture and functional medicine approaches are not completely embraced within the conventional health care model. But I believe that is changing. The prestigious Cleveland Clinic just launched a Center for Functional Medicine.

If you’re struggling with a chronic health problem and are interested in learning more about how this approach can help you, click here to schedule a meeting with me.


Acupuncturist, Dr. Strefanie M. Bennett, LAc, PhD

Acupuncturist, Dr. Strefanie M. Bennett, LAc, PhD

About Acupuncturist Dr. Stefanie M. Bennett, LAc,  PhD – Holds both a master’s and doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine, plus two diplomats. She has completed additional training in functional medicine, herbal medicine, and applied clinical nutrition. She has been practicing in Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach for over 13 years. She can be reached at 714-962-5031 and new patients are welcome

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