What is Functional Medicine?
When someone becomes sick, they rarely do so in a way that completely matches the textbooks. That’s why, rather than trying to find the proper label for a specific health condition and isolating a specific part of your body, Functional Medicine identifies what can often be a complex mix of causes.
Functional Medicine sees you, the patient, as a whole person, with a unique history, a unique set of circumstances, and a unique set of genes that interact to create your health or the experience of disease. Yes, genes.
Did you know that your genes may make you susceptible to certain conditions? As a result, the decisions you make about food, exercise, and work can cause or worsen symptoms.
With Functional Medicine, physicians look at the whole picture to devise a plan with tailored interventions that restore physiological, psychological and structural balance:
• Combines advanced laboratory testing, the latest research findings, and common-sense listening, working in partnership with the patient
• Uses environmental, diet and lifestyle analyses to help reverse resistant conditions like chronic fatigue, arthritis, body aches, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and more
• Guides patients to healthier lifestyle and dietary habits, combined with nutrients targeted to specific functional needs
• Incorporates comprehensive natural tools that include botanical medicines, detoxification protocols, stress-management and more, with no drug toxicity
By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a client-centered approach, Functional Medicine targets the actual source of the problem, instead of an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional Medicine Changes the Way We do Medicine
Functional Medicine incorporates the latest in genetic science, systems biology, and understanding of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the emergence and progression of disease. It enables physicians and other health professionals to practice proactive, predictive, personalized medicine and empowers patients to take an active role in their own health.
Why Functional Medicine?
Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. However, the system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, and the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care (such as a heart attack or a broken leg). Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments (drugs or surgery) that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom, not the root cause.
In most cases, the model does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual and does not allow time for exploring the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society; critical environmental factors such as stress, diet, and exposure to toxins. The truth is, most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease, nor to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients. Functional Medicine takes a different approach, with methodology and tools that are specifically designed to prevent and treat chronic diseases, by diagnosing the root cause(s).