A lot of people ask “What is Function Medicine?”
That is a great question. Basically, functional medicine seeks to restore optimal function to your body.
It is a cutting-edge approach to the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs in the 21st Century. Here is a side-by-side comparison for better clarity:
- shorter appointments dictated by insurance reimbursement
- primary focus is the management of disease
- population based
- uses ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ ranges for lab values
- longer appointments
- seeks the root cause for disease
- individual based
- uses ‘optimal’ ranges for lab values
Why is there a need for Functional Medicine?
We are experiencing a sharp increase in diabetes, heart disease, obesity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and mental illness. The traditional medical approach is acute care oriented as in appendicitis or broken bones. The acute care approach lacks the tools and methodology for properly identifying complex, chronic disease.
The traditional medicine approach leans heavily on ‘evidence based medicine’ which is founded on scientific research. This information is good but there is a huge gap between the way research is conducted and physicians practice due to the amount of time in between the emerging research and the infusion of this research into medical practice. In some cases it can take as long as 50 years.
Evidence based medicine is a good thing but we have to remember that medicine is truly an art. The scientific method should never completely eliminate the artistic component of medicine. The science forms the foundation and the tools for the art. Read this article for an example of this concept.
Medical education is focused on the acute care model so most physicians are not adequately trained to identify the root cause of complex, chronic disease. They are not appropriately trained in nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, sleep, and other issues and they do not know how these issues impact their patients and the risk for disease.
How is Functional Medicine different?
The focus in functional medicine is on understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Functional medicine physicians understand that health is much more than just the absence of disease.
Functional medicine considers how the entire body functions as a single organism. Disruption of any single component always affects something else. These changes cannot happen in isolation. Functional medicine considers the individual genetic makeup along with internal (mind, body, and spirit) & external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total body function.
Functional medicine is comprehensive and integrative. We incorporate traditional western medical practice with alternative or integrative medicine. A primary focus is on prevention through the ‘Healthy Trinity’ (exercise, nutrition, and the 3R’s). We use the lasted laboratory and diagnostic testing to help identify the underlying disruptions. We incorporate prescription medications, supplements, herbal medicines, therapeutic nutrition, detoxification, stress-management, and sleep optimization.
Learn more about functional medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine.
Contact us today if you are tired of the traditional medical approach and want a refreshing change to help you optimize your health.