What is it?
Functional Medicine 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.
Why do we need it?
- Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic disease.
- The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care.
- Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease.
- There is a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice.
- Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
How is Functional Medicine different?
Functional Medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease.
Hallmarks of Functional Medicine include:
- A patient-centered approach to care,
- An integrative, science-based healthcare methodology, and
- The integration of best medical practices.
To support this approach, Functional Medicine:
- Integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered "alternative” or "integrative” medicine,
- Creates a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise,
- Uses the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques, and
- Prescribe combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, and stress-management techniques.