Functional Medicine is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach to healthcare that looks beyond symptom resolution to identify why illness occurs and address those root causes to restore health.
How does functional medicine differ from conventional medicine?
The term and field of Functional Medicine refers to something completely different than what we have now come to know as conventional medicine or the standard model of care.
Traditionally a medical doctor uses drugs or hormones as therapeutic tools to deal with illness.
While conventional medicine does a great job at treating acute and emergency medical situations, functional medicine is better suited toward chronic illness such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, depression, diabetes, and obesity.
We need functional medicine
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 90% of our health is “socially determined” – meaning determined by what we eat, how we move, how we manage stress, our relationships and our environment. The WHO has also shown that only 10% of our health is determined by interactions with the medical system – that’s doctors, prescription drugs, procedures, hospitals.
Unfortunately our conventional medical system only looks at the 10%, and typically ignores the rest.
This is not working. As a population we are getting sicker, costs are going up.
In fact, 90% of health care costs today in the US are due to chronic lifestyle driven disease, according to the CDC.
Why functional medicine can benefit you?
While conventional medicine focuses on using medication to reduce symptoms, Functional Medicine empowers patients and practitioners to work together to resolve the complex underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness through diet and lifestyle change.
It’s a science-based.
Functional Medicine practitioners use solid scientific foundations to translate breakthroughs in scientific understanding into clinical practice in real-time. As a result, Functional Medicine practitioners are early adopters of innovative knowledge and practices.
Health is more than just the absence of disease
When you ask “what is functional medicine?” this principle is most likely to depict exactly what this approach is all about. Functional medicine depicts the idea that health is not just the absence of disease, but a state of overall wellness.
Functional medicine views everyone as being genetically and biochemically unique
Since functional medicine views us all as different, both genetically and biochemically. It gives way to a more personalized health care approach. This approach focuses on treating the individual, not the disease.
In short, functional medicine helps give the body what it needs to function at its highest level. It naturally supports the healing mechanisms that your body already has, rather than just focusing on attacking the disease.
Functional medicine fills in the gaps between what the healthcare industry traditionally provides and what many people need
In the conventional healthcare system we’re all used to, physicians often have to limit the length of appointments, which means spending less time with their patients. And while a very strong connection exists between diets and health, many medical professionals do not have adequate education in nutrition (specifically whole foods nutrition) to provide the kind of guidance and support that patients need. Functional medicine practitioners can spend more time with patients AND help them make the connection between what they eat and how it affects their health.
You can save on medical costs
Healthy lifestyle means less visits to the doctor. If you are overweight or obese, then you are subject to other diseases that can increase your medical expenses rather quickly. In contrast, if you engage in a healthy lifestyle, you’ll have a better chance warding off harmful diseases.
Functional Medicine patients are in control of their health
They are co-creators of health along with their clinicians. This is a mutually empowering relationship between patient and provider where both share responsibility for creating and implementing the healthcare plan to achieve desired well-being. A greater level of engagement can lead to more years of health, not just more years of life.
Your body can heal itself
Your body can heal itself and prevent nearly all of the diseases that supposedly ‘come with aging.’ It can do this if it has the nutrients it needs to function at its highest capacity. Basically, it is about giving your body what it needs to heal itself.
When you work with a functional medicine doctor, they encourage patients to really look at the big picture, and to not let the presence of disease get in the way of their health or their ability to focus on their bodies.