Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with complementary medicine, creating a focus on prevention.
It is the clinical application of holistic thinking combined with rigorous scientific principles.
Nutrition, diet and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques, prescribed combinations of botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs and stress-management techniques are all tools of the functional medicine practitioner.
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This type of medicine is characterized by a personalized approach to each patient, since similar symptoms or dis-eases can derive from different causes.
The patient is approached as a whole being of integrated body, mind, and spirit.
The term “functional medicine” was first coined about 20 years ago in order to define the comprehensive, multi-specialty, integrative medicine of the future.
Functional medicine combines scientific research with innovative tools for accurate diagnosis and safe and efficient medical treatment of complex and chronic conditions.
The emphasis is to elucidate how different aspects of an individual’s life – the physical and emotional environment, general lifestyle, as well as genetic factors – can all lead to deviation from health and manifest in disease over time.
This is highly relevant today, since the vast majority of chronic conditions seen in clinical practice are attributable to these lifestyle and genetic factors.
This practice is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.
By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, it addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, this treatment supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Practitioners consider the complex interactions in a 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 the whole person.
They focus on diet, nutrition, and exposure to environmental toxins as they seek to balance the body to promote health and wellness. Since they treat the cause of symptoms within a whole body system, this medicine can often be used to treat serious autoimmune disorders.
This health care program does not revolve around specific sets of diseases and syndromes – it concerns itself with an extremely wide variety of health disturbances.
Although many of these “disturbances” seem to differ a lot in symptomatic appearance – including diverse conditions such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, mood and cognitive disorders, various autoimmune disorders, PMS, TMJ, chronic pelvic pain, interstitial cystitis, chronic low back pain, chemical and food sensitivities, allergies, asthma, and cancer – they all seem to share common courses of formation.
Functional Medicine, rather than targeting individual symptoms, focuses on the optimal functioning of the entire body and its organs.
It views the body as a complete system. It is different from traditional Western medicine because it looks for the root cause of symptoms in the body instead of dividing the body up into multiple systems.
It addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach in partnership with understanding the conditions and history in which the disease manifested.
Genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors all have a direct influence of long-term health and chronic health issues.
Functional medicine is a newer branch of medicine, and it represents a shift away from “a pill for every ill”. Instead, functional medicine emphasizes lifestyle changes, holistic approaches, and nutritional support for health. Individuals are often able to get off of medications or at least require less, but these types of interventions require more face-to-face.
This approach provides a method for re-balancing the body’s underlying physiological systems and addressing lifestyle issues that contribute to these illnesses.
When this is done your biology’s inherent healing forces are unleashed and chronic illness is resolved naturally and quickly often without the need for costly pharmaceutical medications or invasive surgeries.
In this way functional medicine offers a unique approach to understanding the terrain of chronic illness and provides a whole new way to address the epidemic of chronic disease we face in the 21st century.
The aim is to keep you from becoming a high-risk disease candidate in the first place.
The rule is simple: prevent disease states from developing now so there’s nothing to “treat” later.
But if you already happen to be riding the risk roller coaster (typical for people over 30), you can start reversing some or most of the acquired stress damage by enabling your body to heal itself.
This is very different from suppressing disease signs or symptoms with drugs, as is done with statins or thyroid medications to make lab measurements look better.
Functional medicine is very individualized and effective and has produced many happy, healthy and satisfied clients.
The patient is engaged in their own therapy and health outcome while under the supervision and care of an experienced and caring functional practitioner. As a result, this produces tremendous beneficial health outcomes.
The beauty of this type of treatment model is that the patient takes ownership of their health condition and takes pride in achieving their perfect health.
It’s a true mind and body experience with functional medicine.