Functional Medicine (aka Clinical Nutritional Medicine) FAQs

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine (also sometimes called Functional Diagnostic Medicine, Functional Integrative Medicine, Nutritional Medicine, or Advanced Clinical Nutrition…although some of these names are slight misnomers) is a logical, scientific way of looking at the different important functions of the body using specific diagnostic clinical lab testing.  It looks at the body in a different way than you may be used to.

Most doctors (MD’s) look for official diseases or conditions, while we evaluate function.  Once we are able to see exactly what’s going on inside you, we then use potent natural and alternative methods to improve and/or resolve any breakdown in that function…helping you get WELL.

Please understand that there are a great many practitioners out there claiming to do “Functional Medicine” because it has become a buzzword, and they’re looking to cash in.  Some may be MD’s, claiming do bio-identical hormones, or adrenal fatigue, and they might run a test or two.  Others may, or may not be licensed to order, or interpret diagnostic lab testing, and they may attempt to offset this by recommending their local clients to an internet-based lab testing site.  They may sound like they know what they’re talking about, but whether they are actually doctors or not, a weekend seminar does not replace the over 12 years of specialized schooling and experience the doctors at SA-FIH have earned.

Can you treat.... ?

Yes!  It doesn’t matter what your condition is, because we strive to treat the person with the condition, not the condition itself.  Whether you have Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, ANY kind of digestive disorder, chronic stress, hormone imbalance, or you just want to be proactive and prevent yourself from developing the conditions and ill-health states you see around you, you’ve come to the right place!

Am I a candidate for Dr. Sweeney's Functional Medicine program?

Since Dr. Lara Sweeney devotes considerable time and effort to each patient’s case, she cannot accept every case into the Functional Medicine program.  She will review your case and determine whether or not Functional Medicine is a good match for you.  If your case is not accepted into the full Functional Medicine program, other options will be explored…it’s not an “all-or-nothing” situation.

I see a chiropractor/family doctor/specialist now; what's the difference?

Out of more than 70,000 chiropractic physicians in the United States, Dr. Lara Sweeney is one of the approximately 1,000 that uses both neurological and biochemical approaches to uncover the cause of your problem.  In fact, Functional Medicine is ALL that Dr. Sweeney does. She has hundreds of hours of nutritional and Functional Medicine education, as well as several thousand hours of independent research.  She’s uniquely qualified to approach your health from multiple angles that most other practitioners are not able to consider.

Is lab testing required?

Yes. Since Functional Medicine looks at the body’s functions to identify root causes of health conditions, the only way to really tell for sure what’s going on is to run various types of testing.  Clinical lab testing is used uncover early signs of diabetes, adrenal burnout, liver problems, even dementia.  We can discover underlying issues such as parasites, immune system disturbances, yeast, candida, autoimmune disorders, and more.  Without lab testing, we’re shooting in the dark and hoping to hit a target we can’t see.

Working without lab testing would be like taking your car to the mechanic and asking if you need new spark plugs.  If the mechanic simply stood there with his arms folded, squinting at your car and said “um, yeah, sure”, you’d most likely turn around and leave.. However, if the mechanic opened the hood, pulled out the plugs, showed you all of the corrosion, and said “yes, they should be replaced”, you’d most likely have it taken care of right then…RIGHT?

Can I have my other doctor/specialist (who is in my insurance network) order these tests?

All lab work must be ordered through Dr. Sweeney.  It has been our experience that most conventional doctors simply don’t understand the need for the depth of information we’re looking for when we order comprehensive testing, and they will only order the minimum testing acceptable. This gives us a very incomplete picture with few answers. Unfortunately, even seemingly open-minded doctors who promise to order all the necessary tests hardly ever follow through, and we end up with incomplete test panels, which means we have to re-order the entire panel anyway.

Will my health insurance cover this type of care?

The short answer is most likely not.  Although some of the labs we work with are contracted with a few of the major healthcare carriers, the majority of Functional Medicine will be “out of pocket” for the patient.  For the most part, the insurance industry is designed to work in an acute or immediate setting, dealing with injuries and disease.  Due to the nature of our work, we fall outside of their model, and are considered as “elective care” or “preventative care”, thus not usually covered.  For more info on this topic, please visit our Functional Medicine Insurance page.

How long will it take before I feel better?

Each case is highly unique.  Many of our patients have advanced chronic conditions that require a great deal of intervention, as well as time and patience.  The average length of time from start to finish for these situations is roughly 18 to 24 months.  That said, many factors can influence this, for better or worse – lifestyle, physical activity, commitment to the program, consistency of care, stress, history of physical trauma, environment, genetics, and even general mindset and attitude.

We realize that this average length of time is quite long.  Thus, we divide the long-term care plans into support programs that are usually designed for 8-, 12- and 16-week increments, with reassessment of abnormal test results at the end of each period.  It’s important to follow these programs faithfully to the end; not completing a program can hold back progress, and invite further problems or the recurrence of past issues.

I don't live near San Antonio - can you still help me?

Absolutely.  Many of our patients come from outside the San Antonio area, and many don’t even live in Texas.  In fact, several of our patients receive help internationally.  In order to become a patient of record with our clinic, you must make at least one trip to San Antonio, so that we can evaluate you in person, and establish a doctor-patient relationship.  This also makes testing much easier and less costly.

We understand that a trip to Texas may simply be out of the question.  Not all hope is lost!  We work with people in other states and indeed other countries.  Since we’re not licensed outside of Texas, our role becomes more of a consultant, rather than a doctor; but rest assured, you receive the same quality of care as any of our patients!  The information you receive, the doctor’s time and attention, and the recommended care plans prescribed are basically identical to that of any in-person patient.

I'm ready! How do I become a patient?

After you have read through our Functional Integrative Medicine pages, and have gathered an understanding of our program, simply click here and complete the form, or call our office at (210) 340-2150.  Our office staff will gather basic contact and billing information, and help you plan the best time for your initial visit.  As we do enforce cancellation and “no-show” policies, we do require that you keep a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or Discover) on file with us, so we will also gather this information in order to secure your appointment.

We will then send you a “Welcome” email, containing information about your upcoming visit, and instructions on how to obtain and complete our Functional Medicine Intake packet.  Once your receive your intake forms, please print, and complete the packet, and return it to our office, in person, 2-weeks before your scheduled appointment.  The packet must be 100% completed (no blank questions, and please avoid answering “I don’t know”) .  Our doctors will thoroughly review your intake forms, determine a preliminary list of possible problems along with necessary testing, and present it to you during your Initial Consultation.

We Offer the Following Services

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as Chiropractors or Chiropractic Physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to healthcare, which includes patient examination, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractic Doctors have broad diagnostic skills, and are trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative strategies; as well as nutritional and lifestyle counseling and support.

Here is a brief overview of the array of specialized services offered by our clinic. Please take some time, and explore what we have to offer.

Chiropractic Manipulation San Antonio
Functional Integrative Medicine San Antonio
Acupuncture Services San Antonio
Massage Therapy San Antonio

Schedule an Appointment Online

or call (210) 340-2150 to make an appointment

Meet Our Team
Dr. Lara Sweeney, DC
Dr. J. Lara Sweeney, DC IFMCP

Dr. Lara Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC
Dr. Jay Sweeney, DC DABCA

Dr. Jay Sweeney has an impressive array of training, education, and certification. More ...

Michelle Anderson
Michelle Anderson, LMT

Michelle has over 19 years massage & soft-tissue experience & is versed in a wide range of techniques More ...

Amanda Hughes
Amanda Hughes

Amanda is our "Go-to" person for all things "food"; whatever you might need from the world of diet and nutrition, she is eager to help.

Contact Us

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is ready to help you! If you should call our office outside of our regular business hours or otherwise get our voicemail, please leave a message, and we will get back with you as soon as appropriate.

Please Call our office:

(210) 340-2150

Our office hours are:

Monday through Thursday
9:00am – 1:00pm and 3:00pm – 5:30pm

9:00am – 1:00pm

Weekends & Holidays

We Accept:


Proudly serving San Antonio and all of our South Texas neighbors:

Alamo Heights, Bandera, Blanco, Boerne, Buda, Bulverde, Canyon Lake, Castle Hills, Cibolo, Converse, Fair Oaks Ranch, Garden Ridge, Grey Forrest, Helotes, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Hondo, Indian Hills, Kerrville, Kirby, Kyle, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Lockhart, New Braunfels, Olmos Park, Pleasanton, San Marcos, Schertz, Seguin, Selma, Shavano Park, Stone Oak, Terrell Hills, Universal City,

Our Address

1931 NW Military Hwy.
Suite 204
Castle Hills, TX 78213

Our building “The Pavilions at Castle Hills”, is located at the corner of NW Military Hwy. and Sunflower in Castle Hills. It’s a two-story brown brick building; “First Serve Tennis”, “Bicycle Heaven”, and “Hearing Aid Labs” occupy the front. Our office is located on the second floor, on the back side of the building. Plenty of parking is available in both the front and rear lots. There are stairways located at either end of the building; and for your convenience, there is an elevator located on the back side of the building, at the end of the south tunnel.