What exactly is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is a “systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease,” according to the official Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). What does that mean, you ask? Basically, Functional Medicine is a far less outdated medical approach that essentially thoroughly analyses the patient in order to properly diagnose him or her. Additionally, Functional Medicine is a heavily mechanically-based function and many patients are unaware that they may have an improper mechanical pattern due to a mechanical function breakdown. This breakdown occurs when a patient has “under-recovered” functions of ligaments, tendons and joints; the patient may also have muscle physiology. This modernized, scientific and very thorough medical approach allows the practitioner and patient to build a strong core relationship as well as truly assess the underlying problems regarding the patient. Often times these root issues are hidden or disguised; therefore, attributing a more systematic approach in medicine can be revolutionary and monumental for the healthcare industry due to the potential discoveries that Functional Medicine may uncover.
Functional Medicine relies heavily on the relationship between the patient and the doctor -- the doctor asks the patient an assortment of questions that allow them to familiarize themselves with the patient. In such, the patient is much more of a “REAL PERSON,” and much less “just another number” to them. I’m a firm believer in taking a functional approach to medicine, addressing the factors that make up your life in order to analyze how they may be affecting your health and well-being. We take an in-depth look at how your unique personal history, job, lifestyle, nutrition or hormones may be leading to your chronic health problems, symptoms or condition. Just as no two people are the same, no two diagnoses are the same!
What are the benefits and how does Functional Medicine change our healthcare system?
The Functional Medicine Model was specifically designed in order to highlight the importance of the relationship between patients and practitioners in order to dive in and address the underlying symptoms/causes of the particular illness.
Functional Medicine utilizes and exemplifies a more modernized approach in diagnosing and treating patients and the various diseases that may encompass them. It uses more effective tactics and replaces the outdated medicinal models used in the past.
Additionally, physical medicine holds prevalence within the Functional Medicine realm. Separately from simply asking questions and communicating thoroughly with the patient, the Institute for Functional Medicine has now incorporated physical and occupational therapists into the Functional Medicine process. Physical Therapy Products states that these additions are extremely beneficial for the practice and the healthcare industry as a whole, as it’s gaining more and more experienced practitioners who withhold the skills and tools necessary for diagnosing patients, as well as transfiguring the world of modern medicine.
What are the 6 core principles of Functional Medicine?
There are 6 core principles of Functional Medicine, and they are the following:
1. Enhance the Health Span -- Functional Medicine highlights the significance of honing in on an individual’s health span and not just their life span.
2. Patient-Centered Approach -- Results show that a patient-centered approach is more effective as opposed to a disease-centered approach because of the added focus on the individual. This approach takes into account the numerous factors that may potentially lead to possible illnesses (lifestyle, environment, etc.)
3. Dynamic Balance -- It’s crucial to assess the situation from all areas.
4. Positive Vitality -- If you are in relatively good health, recognize and appreciate that fact; try not to take your health for granted!
5. Biochemical Individuality -- Each patient is different based on their genetics and environment.
6. Interconnections -- There is an association among internal physiological factors.
Is Functional Medicine for you?
Functional Medicine is an updated way of approaching the diagnosis of various diseases in an efficient and productive manner. The process consists of a thorough deep-dive into a patient’s lifestyle, environment, psyche, and other factors. If you are interested in taking a functional approach to your health, feel free to reach out to me to talk about it! It’s important that you have a cordial, natural bond with your doctor and that you choose to consult with a medical professional with whom you feel comfortable. This is about YOU!