Functional Medicine is a way of practicing medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century by examining overlooked aspects of health like diet, genetics, and environment. It is a more patient-centered approach that addresses the whole person instead of just an isolated set of symptoms.
How does Functional Medicine work?
- Doctors provide patient-centered care. The more a doctor can know about the lives of their patients, from diet to family history to lifestyle, the more easily they can identify the source of problems in the body. Instead of just sending a patient to various specialists, practitioners of Functional Medicine develop a more personal relationships with their patients.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach is applied. Functional medicine practitioners look upstream to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Unique and optimal medical practices are prescribed. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine. Functional medicine creates a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.