By: Dr. Jonathan Tait – 4/13/17
Traditional approaches to healthcare in the United States have focused on the treatment of illnesses rather than the prevention of disease and the promotion of overall health and vitality.
A vast majority of healthcare spending nationwide goes to treating chronic diseases, largely because many corporations have a vested interest in treating people once they are already sick rather than stopping them from getting sick in the first place. I often refer to this as “artificial health.”
Regenerative medicine is a different approach that offers real treatments to heal the whole body, not just treat the symptoms. It proves an overall health approach that focuses on prevention and regeneration rather than waiting to get sick to get treatments.
Healing with the body, and without surgery
Interestingly, regenerative medicine focuses on a unique concept that most traditional treatments don’t consider: the healing power of one’s own body.
The human immune system is incredibly advanced, and so much can be accomplished just through channeling one’s own innate ability to repair wounds and battle illnesses from within.
New technology allows treatment centers to stimulate the body’s natural defenses and accelerate the healing process so that pain, injuries, and disease can be fought off naturally and forcefully.
Beyond typical health treatments
These factors set regenerative medicine apart from what most people consider to be “typical” health treatments for musculoskeletal and orthopedic conditions, which usually involve surgery and can be invasive and expensive.
Instead, regenerative medicine uses one’s own fat tissues, platelets, and stem cells to initiate the healing process, harvesting them and then re-injecting them into the body to spur the healing of diseased tissues or torn muscles.
This removes a lot of the need to conduct invasive surgeries that can take months to recover from and require thousands of dollars in medical fees.
Incorporating functional medicine
Regenerative medicine also utilizes a concept known as functional medicine, which aims to treat chronic conditions using a model other than the traditional drug therapy that most doctors will prescribe.
Functional medicine is based on five basic principles, starting with the fact that all human beings are genetically and biologically unique, which means that their treatments must be unique as well.
Why should we treat everyone the same way, using the same drug for the same condition, when each person’s body responds in different ways and is capable of different things?
Furthermore, functional medicine uses the latest advances in science and technology to come up with new and creative treatments that actually work and make a difference in patients’ lives.
Functional medicine is based on the idea that all human bodies are able to regulate their body systems and are capable of self-healing and thus tries to help figure out how to initiate healing from within rather than from external processes such as drugs or surgery.
Followers of functional medicine also try to dig deeper and understand what is causing a problem rather than just trying to treat its symptoms, and as a result, they support whole-body health and vitality that is only attainable if you treat problems from their source.
Focus on stem cells
A big part of regenerative medicine is about how stem cells can be used to initiate healing processes in various parts of the body.
The body has several dozen different types of cells, including muscle cells, brain cells, and blood cells, that are all different and have distinct structures and functions.
However, all cells in a person’s body originated from a single cell that was created shortly after the fertilization of the egg and the formation of the zygote that later developed into an embryo and then a human fetus. This original single cell — and numerous cells that multiplied from it through the process of cell division — was a stem cell, which is a type of cell that has not yet specialized into the distinct role that many cells in the body have.
Stem cells are a field of ongoing, emerging research that is vital to the process of healing and the field of regenerative medicine.
Because they are not specialized, they have the potential to replace almost any cell in the body that is failing, for whatever reason — which is why regenerative medicine uses stem cells to heal certain injuries or illnesses that may require replacement when the body’s own cells are not enough. This can help restore tissue and organ function that may not otherwise be possible.
Regenerative medicine teams are currently conducting more research to develop specific treatments that utilize stem cells in new and unique ways, which can be used to treat difficult conditions.
Instead of focusing on what can be referred to as “artificial health” which are treatments that respond to illness, regenerative and functional medicine are proactive. These approaches help prevent health conditions for a happier, healthier life.
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