What is Functional Medicine?

How does Functional Medicine work and what does it do?

Functional Medicine is described by the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) as a “systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.” This medical approach is more scientifically-based and modernized. Functional Medicine provides room for the practitioner and patient to develop rapport; this thorough approach uncovers underlying problems that may have otherwise not been discovered without a thorough investigation into the patient’s background, environment and other factors that may ultimately contribute to illness. Attributing a more systematic approach in the medical industry may lead to a monumental change within the healthcare industry. Furthermore, it’s important to note that Functional Medicine relies heavily on the bond between the doctor and the patient -- an assortment of questions are asked to the patient. These questions allow the doctor to know more about the patient; therefore, the patient isn’t simply another number to the doctor. This particular approach to medicine as well as addressing all aspects of the patient’s life allows a deeper understanding of what could be occurring within the patient’s body. Various factors can negatively impact a person’s overall well-being. Without an in-depth analysis on the patient’s individualized personal history, nutrition intake, lifestyle, job, etc. Each patient is different and each diagnosis is different.

What are the benefits and how does Functional Medicine change our healthcare system?

Functional Medicine utilizes and exemplifies a more modernized approach in diagnosing and treating patients and the various diseases that may encompass them. It uses more effective tactics and replaces the outdated medicinal models used in the past.

Not only does Functional Medicine highlight the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, but it also utilizes a more current approach by implementing effective tactics (that aren’t outdated) in successfully diagnosing patients.

What are the 6 core principles of Functional Medicine?

The “6 core principles of Functional Medicine” are as follows:

1. Enhance the Health Span -- Functional Medicine stresses the importance of focusing on an individual’s health span, not just their life span.

2. Patient-Centered Approach -- Evidence portrays that a patient-centered approach is more beneficial than a disease-centered approach, due to the additional focus on the individual themselves and taking into consideration the various factors that could lead to diseases (their environment, habits, etc.).

3. Dynamic Balance -- Looking at the situation from all sides is vital--such as the mind, body and spirit.

4. Positive Vitality -- Appreciating one’s health and recognizing how lucky one is to be in good health as opposed to just viewing good health as an ‘absence of sickness’ is important.

5. Biochemical Individuality -- Each patient and their biochemistry is different based on their environment and genetics.

6. Interconnections -- The correlations between physiological factors occurring internally.

Is Functional Medicine for you?

It’s important for you, as the patient, to do extensive research on any procedure/health analysis in order to make sure that it’s the appropriate fit for you. Additionally, the right doctor for you is extremely vital. Everyone is different, and while some people may enjoy the process, it’s always possible that others may not like the level of personal questions. The Functional Medicine medical approach doesn’t hold back in terms of thoroughly trying to understand the patient through elaborate questions about his or her psyche, environment, lifestyle, and more. Only YOU know what’s right for YOU!