What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a science-based field of health care. The term "functional medicine"
was coined to describe the medicine of the future. In fact, today, forward thinking practitioners use a functional medicine
approach that includes the following:
1. Patient uniqueness:
Each individual is unique.
2. Biochemical individuality
describes the importance of individual variations in metabolic function that derive from genetic and environmental differences
3. Patient-centered medicine emphasizes
"patient care" rather than "disease care. Functional medicine practitioners use a patient-centered approach
to support wellness.
4. Dynamic balance of internal and
5. Web-like interconnections of physiological
factors – an abundance of research now supports the view that the human body functions as an orchestrated network of
interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously and without effect on each other. For example,
we now know that immunological dysfunctions can promote cardiovascular disease, that dietary imbalances can cause hormonal
disturbances, and that environmental exposures can precipitate neurological syndromes such as Parkinson’s disease.
6. Health as a positive vitality – not merely the absence of disease.
7. Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance health
8. Preventive care: Optimal health is not just the
absence of disease. Even the most minor symptoms can foreshadow more serious conditions later in life. This often happens
via the "snowball effect," in which a "minor" imbalance within the body produces a cascade of biological
triggers that can eventually lead to poor health and chronic illness. For this reason, functional medicine focuses on the
prevention, instead of just the treatment of, even the most minor imbalances. Through changes in lifestyle, environment, and
nutrition, functional medicine professionals rely on their knowledge of key physiological, genetic, and biochemical processes
for establishing an innovative form of total patient wellness amidst the diversity of interests in health care today.