Society is experiencing a dramatic rise in the amount of people suffering from complex, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, ADHD, autism, and mental illness. It seems that healing the patient has been replaced with treating the patient.
This change in terminology (treatment vs healing) implies that the patient’s problems are permanent, but that the symptoms may be controlled with a life-time of ever increasing drugs.
People need an approach that embraces healing by addressing the root cause of their problems, rather than perpetually ‘trimming the leaves’ of their symptoms. Functional Medicine is that approach. (Southwest Functional Medicine)
Functional Medicine aims to optimize the functioning of your organs and tissues and to heal and help prevent diseases associated with aging. This may involve correcting an imbalance of natural substances within the body which may have come about as a result of illness, medication, or environmental or lifestyle factors. (Between the Bridges Healing Center, US)
Functional Medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual.
The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and Practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes. (The Institute for Functional Medicine, IMF)
Note: Be prepared to have your Functional Medicine Practitioner take an extensive medical history prior to your first visit so they have as complete an overall picture of your health as possible. You will likely need to set aside about an hour of time to complete this (online or in person, depending on your Practitioner.)
Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.
A diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause. For example, depression can be caused by many different factors, including inflammation. Likewise, a cause such as inflammation may lead to a number of different diagnoses, including depression.
The precise manifestation of each cause depends on the individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and only treatments that address the right cause will have lasting benefit beyond symptom suppression. (The Institute for Functional Medicine, IMF)
Functional Medicine is a personalized and integrative approach to healthcare which involves understanding the prevention, management, and root causes of complex chronic disease. The ultimate goal is to heal disease and promote a healthy life. A healthy life is not defined as simply an absence of disease, but rather a positive vitality filled with energy, joy, gratitude, and balance.
Functional medicine does not reject conventional medicine, instead it uses conventional medicine as a foundation on which to add new dimensions in the evaluation, management and prevention of chronic disease.
The foundational pillars of Functional Medicine are:
We believe you should have access to high-quality research to help you make informed health decisions. Below are four trusted databases you can use as tools to expand your healthcare knowledge.