What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine focuses on treating the underlying or root cause of chronic disease within an individual patient, taking into account the whole person including their environment, genetics and lifestyle factors. It is a shift from the traditional disease-centered approach to healthcare, and instead focuses on rebalancing the patient’s own physiologic systems to cure or mitigate disease.
How Does Functional Medicine Work?
Functional nutrition seeks to promote healing through the body’s natural systems for cellular repair and restoration. It uses combinations of lifestyle adjustments, exercise, stress management, supplements and pharmaceuticals to nudge the body’s physiology back on a restorative path toward optimal health.
Your practitioner will need to know a lot about you in order to treat you. Functional medicine endeavors to treat the whole person and not just the pain, disease, or symptoms. Persons seeking treatment via functional medicine can expect:
- To discuss at length their life, lifestyle, pain or discomforts, disabilities, addictions, home and work environments, relationships, diets, levels of activity, stressors, etc. with their practitioner.
- To undergo a detailed examination by your practitioner in order to determine whether any part of your disease manifests in outward physical symptoms. These can be clues to what is going on inside.
- To be asked to provide samples of bodily fluids, or genetic samples, as these can provide information that may be used to determine the degree to which genetics may play a role in your health.
- To be asked to submit to X-Rays or MRI’s in order to further determine what is going on with bones, joints and certain tissues inside of you.
Treat the Underlying Causes
Rather than focusing solely on alleviating the symptoms of chronic disease, functional medicine seeks to treat the underlying causes of the disease (see table below), thereby giving the body’s own healing properties a chance to address the root causes.
|Any Chronic Disease…||Can Consist of Combinations of These Underlying Causes…|
Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances
Toxic chemical exposure
Toxic emotions (causing stress)
6 Core Principles of Functional Medicine
- An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
- Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment;
- Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit;
- Interconnections of internal physiological factors;
- Identification of health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease, and emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
- Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.