Ralph A Highshaw MD Explains The Five Pillars Of Functional Medicine

Ralph A Highshaw MD
4 min readMay 13, 2022

Like most people, you probably think of medicine as something used to treat illness and injury. However, there is another type of medicine known as functional medicine. Functional medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease rather than treating symptoms. Ralph A Highshaw MD, based in Tampa, Florida, will discuss the five pillars of functional medicine and explain why they are so important!

What Is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a branch of medicine that takes a holistic and individualized approach to treatment. Rather than focusing on disease symptoms, functional medicine practitioners aim to identify and address the underlying causes of illness.

This approach often involves looking at the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and emotional health. By taking a comprehensive approach to care, functional medicine practitioners can help patients achieve optimal health and well-being.

In addition, this approach often leads to more sustainable results than traditional symptom-based care. For these reasons, functional medicine is an important tool in pursuing optimal health.

What Are The Five Pillars Of Functional Medicine?

Ralph A Highshaw MD, says functional medicine recognizes that five key pillars contribute to optimal health and well-being.

Sleep and Rest

Most people know that getting a good night’s sleep is vital for their health, but they may not realize it. Sleep and rest are essential for the body to repair itself physically and mentally.

During sleep, the body produces hormones that help heal and repair cells. In addition, sleep helps consolidate memories and clear out toxins from the brain. Without adequate sleep, people are more likely to get sick, have accidents, and experience problems with their mental health.

In short, sleep and rest are crucial for optimal health. So next time you’re feeling run down, make sure to get some extra shut-eye. Your body will thank you for it.


The food we eat has a direct impact on our health. Nutrients in the food we consume are used by the body to build and repair cells, produce energy, and support vital functions.

Therefore, Ralph A Highshaw MD says it is essential to eat a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods. However, it is also important to remember that everyone’s nutritional needs are different.

What works for one person may not work for another. That’s why it’s so important to work with a functional medicine practitioner who can help you create an individualized nutrition plan that meets your specific needs.


Exercise has many benefits for our overall health. It can help to improve our cardiovascular health, strengthen our bones and muscles, and improve our mental well-being. Regular exercise can also help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes for many of us.

In addition, exercise can help us maintain a healthy weight and reduce our risk of obesity. Furthermore, movement and training are essential for brain health. They can help to improve cognitive function and protect against age-related memory decline.

Regular exercise can also increase levels of BDNF, a protein that helps support the growth and maintenance of neurons. For all these reasons, it is clear that movement and exercise are essential for healthy living.

Stress Resilience Building and Maintenance

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on our health. It can weaken our immune system, increase our risk of heart disease and stroke, and contribute to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to manage stress in our lives. Some effective stress-management techniques include exercise, meditation, and journaling.

In addition, Ralph A Highshaw MD says, spending time with friends and family, getting regular massages, and taking vacations can also help reduce stress levels. By finding ways to manage stress, we can protect our physical and mental health.

Cell turnover is the process by which our bodies lose cells and create new ones. That is why our bodies are constantly changing and growing. To function optimally, our bodies need to replace old cells with new ones efficiently. This process is known as cell regeneration.

We can do a few things to help our bodies regenerate cells effectively. First, we can make sure we’re getting enough sleep and rest. Second, we can eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of nutrient-rich foods. And third, we can exercise regularly to promote circulation and cellular turnover.

By taking care of our bodies, we can help them function at their best.


Our relationships and community play an essential role in our health and well-being. Social support can help to reduce stress, improve mental health, and increase life satisfaction.

In addition, strong social ties can positively impact our physical health. For example, people with strong social networks are less likely to experience high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

Furthermore, individuals who feel connected to their community are more likely to live longer and have a higher quality of life. Relationships and community are essential for a happy and healthy life.

Final Thoughts

Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that looks at the body rather than focusing on individual symptoms or diseases. This holistic perspective considers all of the factors that may be contributing to someone’s health issues, including sleep and rest, nutrition, movement, stress resilience, and relationships and community. By addressing all of these areas, functional medicine practitioners can help patients restore their health and improve their quality of life.



Ralph A Highshaw MD

Physician, Surgeon, & Scientist of 18 years in private practice. Located in Tampa, Florida.