How Functional Medicine is 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 individuals 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 evidence based 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.
Functional medicine is a patient centered approach
Conventional medicine usually focuses on diagnosing the name of each disease. On the surface, observed symptoms are only the end result of long timed interaction between various physiologic imbalances. Functional medicine focuses on addressing the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.
It is an evolution in the practice of medicine for chronic illness cares. It addresses the health-care needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional medicine recognizes the role of genetic influences on disease
Almost every health problem comes from 2 main factors - Genetics and the Environment (which includes factors like nutrition, pollution, work environments etc). It is true that a genetic problem might be the beginning of a disease but if we can identify that weak-point and control the influences from the surrounding environment to support the expression of genes in a desirable way, we can control, retard or prevent the occurrence of those symptoms and diseases.