What is Functional Medicine?Functional Medicine is a broad category of medicine that engages both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership that seeks to determine and address underlying causes of disease using a systems-oriented approach. Through this partnership and patient-centered care, the patient is empowered to take ownership for their own healing.
Core Principles of Functional Medicine(From the Institute for Functional Medicine)
- Understand the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness.
- Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than disease-centered approach for treatment.
- Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external factors in a patient’s mind, body, and spirit
- Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors
- Identification of health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease, emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology.
- Promotion of an “organ reserve” as the means to enhance health span, not just the life span, of each patient.
Functional Medicine is a progressive approach to the practice of medicine that aims to deliver true health care, rather than masking symptoms and creating “artificial health” with a disease-centered focus of practice reliant upon “a pill for every ill”.
Treatments are rooted in sustainable lifestyle interventions:
- Nutrition counseling
- Exercise programming
- Stress reduction
- Sleep quality improvement
- Strengthening of positive, supportive social networks.
The focus of treatment is shifted away from the disease that brings a patient into the health care system, and instead focuses on the patient as a whole person rather than a list of isolated symptoms. The genetic, environmental, lifestyle and psycho-social factors that can predispose one to disease can be identified, and in time more effectively and completely treated.
Epidemiological studies have shown time and time again that when these five factors are optimized longevity is dramatically increased while the incidence of chronic, debilitating medical conditions are dramatically decreased.