Functional Medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of disease.
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach. This system of medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. It takes into account the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the whole body and allows the body to function optimally.
This style & model of medicine allows us to evolve away from the outdated acute-care models currently being practiced in much of the world and into a more powerful system of discovery and treatment of the chronic disease we are currently facing. By taking the latest in genetic science, systems biology, and understanding of how the environment and lifestyle factors influence the emergence and progression of disease we are better equipped to treat these diseases.
Functional Medicine also allows us to practice proactively, with predictability and with personalized plans that empowers patients to take an active role in their own health.
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:
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 are 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.
Reprinted and Adapted from The Institute for Functional Medicine: www.functionalmedicine.org