Functional Medicine looks at treating the body holistically, as one integrated system. By using a systems-oriented approach that engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership to identify the root causes of disease that need to be addressed to heal the body. It 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, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine 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, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
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.
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.
Functional medicine integrates conventional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “anti-aging” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest diagnostic testing and anti-aging treatment protocols; and prescribed combinations of drugs, nutraceutical supplements, IV therapies, Detoxification and repair programs, and stress management techniques.