Functional Medicine is patient centered medical healing at its best. Instead of looking at and treating health problems as isolated diseases, it treats individuals who may have bodily symptoms, imbalances,
and dysfunctions. By treating individuals instead of diseases, doctors can help patients strive for optimal health instead of just covering symptoms with drugs. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients and listen to their histories, their stresses both environmental and internal. They investigate lifestyle factors, genetics factors, and the patient’s environment for individual affects on long term health and vitality. In this way, functional medicine can support the whole person through any chronic condition by a personalized protocol for the expression of health and vitality.
Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.
There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.
Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
“Functional Medicine is the future of conventional medicine – available now.” – Mark Hyman (My teacher and my guide as we search for the underlying cause).