What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine at its core utilizes a highly personalized approach, designed to address today’s healthcare challenges by defining, addressing and correcting the underlying cause of disease. The initial visit begins with a conversation about each client’s health history, current concerns, and personal goals. Specialized in-office tests are performed, while additional labs may be ordered to fully measure function rather than just disease. Taking this collective information, an individualized and holistic treatment plan is then designed to correct the source of the true problem versus a reactive series of solutions that will only treat the symptoms. Functional Medicine is a completely different paradigm and was developed to effectively address the underlying causes of disease and poor health, using a systems-oriented approach. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a client-centered approach, the refined protocols utilized in Functional Medicine target the actual source of the problem, instead of an isolated set of symptoms. Functional Medicine’s focus on improving function rather than managing dysfunction makes it the ideal choice for everyone from elite athletes to the chronically ill.
Why is Functional Medicine the healthcare of the future?
•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.
•The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
•Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.
•There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.
•Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
How is Functional Medicine Different?
Functional Medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:
•Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.
•An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
•Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
If you would like to learn more about how a personalized healthcare program can help fast track your health or to learn about how Functional Medicine may be able to help reverse your health problems, contact us at 949-424-3962.