It’s always refreshing when you meet Alaskans who truly love their job. Chris Anne Bennett and her team at Alaska Functional Medicine + Spa have good reason to feel satisfaction from their work. They’re changing lives every day.

As a nurse practitioner, Bennett says the first thing she asks her patients is what their goal is. It is her absolute passion to find the source of her patient’s health issues and it’s her patient’s responsibility to let her know if changes and recommendations she makes are or are not working. If she can’t find a solution, she relies on a network of other doctors and specialists who have specific expertise and who she trusts to become a part of a complete care team.

“What I really want is for my patients to gain the tools to take control of their health, so they no longer need me,” says Bennett. “I’d much rather see a former patient at the park playing with their kids and feeling great, that’s the ultimate definition of success.”

Bennett was destined to be in this dream job from a very young age. She decided she wanted to be a nurse as a young child. She grew up eating organic foods and had a grandfather who was a health nut before that was even a thing. Bennett was born in Alaska but moved away as a toddler. She was raised in Colorado and also spent time in the upper Midwest. She got her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota and started working with two doctors who became her mentors. They opened a whole new world for her as a nurse practitioner. They taught her to discover and treat the source of a health problem, rather than treating symptoms. 

So, What Is Functional Medicine?

There are several different names for the approach that Bennett takes to medicine, and they’ve changed over the years. It’s been called integrative, holistic, alternative, or functional. In practicing functional medicine, Bennett builds a therapeutic partnership with her patient, where the body is viewed as an integrated system. She looks at the whole body, then looks at a variety of approaches to address the underlying causes of current symptoms. Treatment modalities may include using IV nutrient therapy, supplements, stress management, detoxification, lifestyle changes, and bioidentical hormone therapy. Each treatment plan takes into account the uniqueness of the individual. She sees many patients who have digestive disorders, chronic infections, autoimmune symptoms and hypothyroidism.

Bennett is also an amazing cook who has a knack for making healthy meals that you would never guess were free of common allergens. Bennett’s love for cooking just goes right along with her desire to solve health problems. 

“I like the process of helping people, and the challenge of figuring out how to cook gluten-free, allergy-friendly, in ways that haven’t been done traditionally.”

Alaska Functional Medicine + Spa was founded in 2010 and has an incredible team of medical and spa staff members. Licensed Master Esthetician, Kristen Russell is trained in medical aesthetics, Eminence Organic skincare and she is certified in holistic skincare. She offers everything from custom facials to CoolSculpting for fat loss, dermaplaning, laser hair removal, intense pulsed light therapy (IPL), waxing, Ultherapy, radio frequency cellulite treatments, and micro-needling treatments that use PRP or stem cells to create true regeneration, naturally.

“Kristen is a huge asset to our clinic,” says Bennett. “She isn’t just someone working on your skin, she’s someone that patients can really open up to and seek advice from. And Kristen really lives what she teaches – she’s a wellness specialist and teaches yoga.”

Alaska Functional Medicine + Spa clients include men and women of all ages. Stop in to browse their extensive line of high-quality oral supplements and organic skincare! You’ll find them at 11260 Old Seward Highway, Suite 104, on social media @akfunctionalmedspa, or online at Call them at (907) 375-9395. 

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Kathy Day is a Content Creator for Live Breathe Alaska. She moved to Alaska from Colorado after college and is now braving her 36th winter. In addition to owning her own public relations agency for the last 20+ years, Kathy enjoys kayaking, women’s softball, swimming, giving Segway tours, and fishing on the Kenai River. She and her husband, Eric, are always planning their next Alaska cabin adventure. Kathy’s passions include mentoring other women business owners, caring for elders, hiking with her Chocolate Lab Zoie and being a mom to two high school/college-age sons. Bio Photo Credit: Diana Maioriello


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