Functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis can be one of many that contribute to a person's illness. The functional medicine model of care offers a patient-centered approach to the management of chronic diseases. It seeks to answer the question: “Why are you sick? so you can receive personalized and effective attention for your needs.
Functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a disease. Functional medicine clinics take a holistic approach to understanding who you are, knowing that each person is unique and should have a medical plan that fits your needs. You may not be familiar with functional medicine. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that we believe better addresses the health care needs of the 21st century.
He sees each person as unique and involves both the patient and the professional in a therapeutic partnership. It focuses on what type of person has a disease, rather than what type of illness the person has. Functional medicine shifts the traditional disease-centered approach of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach. It takes into account the whole person, not just the symptoms.
Conventional medicine primarily recognizes the symptoms you experience and uses the same symptoms to identify a disease and develop a treatment plan. Sir William Osler, one of the first chief physicians at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, once said that “the good doctor treats the disease; the great doctor treats the patient who has the disease. It also includes botanicals, supplements, therapeutic diets, exercise plans, functional neurorehabilitation, detoxification programs, stress management techniques and much more. When he wasn't receiving answers to his own health problems through a conventional medical model, he first took the path of functional medicine as a patient before becoming a practitioner.
Functional medicine professionals know that every symptom or differential diagnosis can be a contributing factor to a person's illness. By understanding those relationships, functional medicine professionals can have a deeper understanding of the body. And, ignoring any healing modality, even if it is ancient Chinese medicine, is not completely treating the patient. Instead of determining which medication will cure a disease, functional medicine clinics have doctors who figure out why you have an ailment in the first place and restore what no longer works.
Functional medicine helps the patient achieve true primary prevention of the disease (before the disease is present) rather than just early detection (the disease process has already begun). Most functional imbalances can be addressed, some improve substantially (treated) and others fully return to optimal function (heal). Functional medicine clinics use scientific principles, advanced diagnostic tests and treatments to restore balance in the patient's physiological processes. There's tons and tons of research to support functional medicine, but if you don't look for it, of course, you don't know it's there.
With this in mind, functional medicine clinics take a personalized approach, treating the patient rather than the disease. I have been using functional medicine approaches since my days as a chiropractor, while using the Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory.