About Doctor Morris
For patients with chronic disease, conventional medicine has evolved into an expensive and ineffective mess. Conventional medicine is extraordinary at classifying symptoms and naming diagnoses. The conventional ICD-9 diagnosis system had a whopping 11,000 diagnoses, and the new ICD-10 system has over 150,000 distinct diagnoses. Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing the tsunami of chronic disease, conventional medicine is essentially a “pill for an ill” system that matches diagnoses with drugs to mask the symptoms. In this way, if a patient has five different symptoms, they can get five diagnoses and five different drugs to “manage” their symptoms along with a myriad of interrelated side effects that are often hard to distinguish from the diseases themselves.
Here’s the problem: a diagnosis is just a name for symptoms. Conventional diagnoses say little to nothing about what caused an individual’s diseases, nothing about how different symptoms are related, and even less about how to address the underlying causes and prevent new symptoms.
For these reasons, conventional medicine simply does not work for the epidemic of chronic diseases including: diabetes, obesity, arthritis, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, autoimmune disease, anxiety/depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS/IBD and other gastrointestinal complaints and cancers. There are a growing number of what I call “medical refugees” who are simply not getting what they need and this is why conventional medicine has become “dysfunctional.”
The modern way of life is stressful, sedentary and rampant with toxic exposures and unnatural processed food. It’s no small wonder why we are getting hit with a tsunami of modern epidemics. A “functional” approach to medicine involves identifying the multiple root causes of an individual’s state of health or disease. These factors invariably include a combination of: genetics, diet, sleep, exercise habits, our microbiome, past and current infections, stressors, chemical exposures, injuries, oxidative stress, and inflammation.
The Functional approach involves gathering and mapping the various factors that lead to an individuals state of health and then personalizing a treatment plans to address their particular underlying causes. In this way, the functional approach helps patients avoid and reverse illness as they move toward optimal health. It sounds simple but this approach is actually revolutionary and giant leap forward from the conventional drug-based symptom suppression approach–which is really more about disease management than cure.
Fortunately, functional and conventional approaches to medicine are not entirely incompatible. In my practice, I integrate the best of conventional laboratory and imaging diagnostic methods with leading-edge nutritional, lifestyle, biochemical, and genetically-tuned interventions to create the best outcomes possible for my patients.
A functional medicine practitioner’s job to partner with you to develop a profound understanding of the timeline of your ATM’s (antecedents, triggers &mediators) underlying your symptoms, and also your goals & potentials. Health care providers have read a lot of medical books, but we don’t have a book on you. Your job as a functional or naturopathic patient patient is to organize and communicate your life story and then to apply yourself to whatever intervention program we develop together.
When symptom relief is indicated, I work to identify and treat the root cause of your ailments—not simply mask the symptoms. We often find that removing one or more offending diet or lifestyle factors can bring profound symptom relief. At other times, the short term use of nutritional supplements, herbs, hormones or even pharmaceutical drugs may be appropriate. Whatever the case, I will work with you to find the most gentle and effective therapies available while helping you to build a lifestyle that will support your optimal health naturally.
Today’s conventional drugs are surely a medical marvel. However, the theory behind drug use is often fundamentally flawed. Conventional medicine has become astonishingly dependent on deploying drugs to suppress symptoms, improve lab numbers and otherwise manage chronic diseases. What’s missing from the symptom-to-drug matching game is identifying and addressing the root causes of an individual’s disease. In this way, conventional approaches have become a “disease management” system—not a “health care” system. Those patients who don’t benefit from the drugs often end up as “medical refugees.” These refugees are tragically often told that nothing can be done, or worst, that their problems are in their heads.
In my experience, programs based in “passive therapies” (e.g. drugs, supplements, surgery, and even massage and chiropractic) do not work as well as those based in “active therapies” including optimizing sleep, improving diet, exercise, relaxation techniques, and cognitive therapies. The most successful patients in functional and naturopathic practices are those who take on an active role in promoting their own health. So if you are a motivated medical refugee or just someone that wants an effective alternative to the conventional disease-management system, I’m eager to meet you and get started.
Thyroid & Adrenal conditions; Gastrointestinal Concerns, Primary Care; Physical Medicine (including spinal manipulations); Specialty Diets; Toxicity Assessments & Detoxification Protocols; Nutritional Mood & Neurotransmitter Support; Counseling; Conventional Laboratory Diagnosis; Genetic Testing; Alternatives to Pharmaceutical Drugs.
I am currently employed full time by the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) where I serve as Associate Director for Medical Education and as a lead faculty for the IFM certification program. I currently consult with patients out of a humble office in my home in NW Seattle with friendly animals as my only attendants. Most of the patients I see are 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or 5th opinions on difficult cases. (We call them holistic patients because they have usually seen a “whole-list-of” symptoms and physicians before they get to us.)
In addition to my private practice, I have often been called upon to teach Nutrition, Genetics, Physiology, and Advanced Naturopathic Therapeutics at Bastyr University and other medical programs around the Puget Sound. I was previously the medical director of an integrated clinic in Redmond which focused on both physical medicine, manipulation and primary care. I have also helped to launch two new medical laboratories covering convention lab diagnosis, alternative testing, and cutting-edge genetic tests. I was also recently the Senior Research Fellow in Environmental Medicine for the Optimal Health & Prevention Research Foundation.
ND: Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University, 2002
BS: Environmental Science & Policy from Western Washington University, 1993
WA State Naturopathic Physician #NT00001144
National Provider Identifier (NPI) #1033319348
North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE) Certified, 2002.
Institute of Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner (IFMCP), 2014
Years in Practice: 14