A GUIDE TO FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE
In functional medicine, the treating physician addresses the underlying causes of a patient’s conditions via a therapeutic, systems-oriented methodology.
By shifting from a disease-focused approach to a patient-centric one, functional medicine treats the whole person, not just their symptoms. In such a way, it supports each person’s expression of vitality and health.
WHY FUNCTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT IS SO IMPORTANT
Modern society is seeing a substantial increase in the frequency of chronic, complex diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and mental illness. The conventional medical system, which is practiced by most of today’s doctors, is focused on acute care, or the assessment and treatment of short-duration illness or trauma. For example, when a physician treats a patient with a broken leg or appendicitis, they apply prescribed, specific treatments such as surgery or drugs to treat the immediate symptom or problem.
However, the acute care focus of conventional medicine lacks the tools and methodology to treat and prevent chronic, complex conditions. In most instances, conventional treatments do not consider each person’s genetic makeup or factors like exposure to environmental toxins. In functional medicine, the doctor considers aspects of the modern lifestyle that directly affect patients’ chances of contracting a chronic disease.
HOW FUNCTIONAL MEDICINAL TREATMENT IS DIFFERENT
Practitioners of functional medicine must understand the causes, treatment, and prevention of chronic illnesses. Signs of the functional medicine approach include those listed below.
- CARE THAT’S FOCUSED ON THE PATIENT
As stated previously, functional medicine’s focus is on the patient, and doctors promote health as something to strive for beyond simply being free of disease. By listening to patients and learning their stories, doctors can bring the patient further into the process and customize treatments to address each person’s individual needs.
- A SCIENCE-BASED, INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO HEALTHCARE
Practitioners of functional medicine think outside the box, considering the intricate nature of interactions within a patient’s physiology, history, and lifestyle which may cause illness or disease. Each person’s unique genetic composition is carefully considered, along with internal (spirit, body, and mind) and external (social and physical) factors that affect their total function.
- INTEGRATION OF OTHER MEDICAL PRACTICES
In functional medicine, doctors integrate traditional medicinal practices with what are sometimes considered integrative or alternative medicine. Here, the doctor and patient focus on prevention via exercise, diet, and nutrition, as well as the use of lab testing and additional diagnostic methods. Finally, the doctor may use a mix of botanical and pharmaceutical medicines, supplements, diet therapy, detox programs, and stress management methods.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR FUNCTIONAL MEDICAL TREATMENT?
Anyone who has received conventional medical treatment with no results, or who is on medicines that have limited benefits and serious side effects, can possibly take advantage of the Functional Wellness approach. Patients with a lengthy list of diseases can benefit from the functional medicine approach. These conditions include those listed here, among others as determined by each physician.
PLANS CUSTOMIZED TO PATIENTS’ NEEDS
The ultimate goal of a Functional Wellness Doctor is to restore a patient’s bodily balance and normal function. A personalized care plan may include treatments such as:
Such plans are intended to help a patient reverse the imbalances that cause their conditions or to prevent these chronic conditions from ever happening. When a patient wants to stop or avoid a disease, a functional medicine practitioner can help.