Functional Medicine looks beyond symptoms and address root causes.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is the entry card to a new medicine: the medicine of the 21st century. Functional Medicine is the future of conventional medicine–available now. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.
Disease is not hard wired into our genes. It is the interaction with our environment that triggers imbalance and disease. With addressing underlying imbalances we can add years to our life and health span.
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It 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.
The Philosophy of Functional Medicine
We are now entering a new era in mainstream medicine that focuses on healthy aging rather than simply the treatment of aging symptoms. One of the most important preventive therapies in this new paradigm of care is Functional Medicine. The core and essential key of initiating truly proactive and preventative medicine is achieved by balancing all of the body’s systems. Like an orchestrated network the human body functions as interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously and without effect on each other.
Functional medicine focuses on improving physiological function as a primary means of improving health. The Institute for Functional Medicine defines this approach as personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes, instead of symptoms.
Functional medicine provides health care management within the following framework:
“Diet, nutrition, and exposure to environmental toxins play central roles in functional medicine because they may predispose to illness, provoke symptoms, and modulate the activity of biochemical mediators through a complex and diverse set of mechanisms.”
Functional medicine is an integrative approach to medicine because it incorporates an analysis of how all components of the human body interact functionally with each other and the environment.
Functional medicine proposes that the entire “patient story” needs to be heard and understood in context in order to truly help the patient.
Functional medicine is personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms for disease. It is a science-based field of health care that is grounded in the following principles:
Bio-individuality - meaning there is no one perfect way of approaching health that works for everybody. Each person has very specific needs for his or her own health according to age, constitution, gender, size, lifestyle and ancestry
Patient-centered medicine emphasizes “patient care” rather than “disease care”.
Like an orchestrated network the human body functions as interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously and without effect on each other.
Health is optimal vitality – not merely the absence of disease.
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