Functional Medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of disease.
Functional Medicine is a branch of medicine which derives extensively from various traditional healing systems of the world, chiefly Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Functional Medicine has skillfully interwoven ancient medicine with modern technology to provide incredible tools to help arrive at the root cause of a person’s problem.
Like Ayurveda, Functional Medicine sees symptoms as the body’s attempt to overcome a physiological imbalance. It understands chronic disease (including mental illness) is multifactorial and often a result of diet and lifestyle factors. It is an operational, systems-oriented approach that provides doctors and patients with a “GPS system” enabling them to retrace their way back to health.
Functional Medicine seeks to address the whole person. Treatment is not just about suppressing symptoms; its focus is to remove the underlying imbalances.
By addressing the whole person and not just an isolated set of symptoms, Functional Medicine shifts the focus from a traditional disease-centric approach to a more person-centric approach.
Functional Medicine is a systems-oriented approach that addresses the whole person. Treatment focuses on removing a person’s underlying imbalance and not just suppressing their symptoms.
This “whole-person approach” shifts the focus from being disease-centric to person-centric, and strives to arrive at the root cause of a person’s presentation. Hence, two people with a similar diagnosis may receive very different treatment recommendations. The goal is to help everyone express their full potential in terms of health.
Functional Medicine practitioners take extra time to listen to their patients and considering the various genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, Functional Medicine supports each person’s unique expression of health and vitality.
With the invention of penicillin and other antibiotics, 20th century medicine underwent a huge makeover. We became good at vanquishing various infections and we were successful in improving longevity across the world. With improved quality of life, especially in the Western hemisphere, nutritional deficiencies that plagued humanity in the 19th century and still affects the developing and third world countries, were not a big problem in the US and other developed nations. Scientific innovation and technological advances translated into innovative approaches to helping the sick and invalid. Many pharmacological breakthroughs brought new medicines for many illnesses – from pain to diabetes to depression.
The underlying assumption was that the “one pill for an ill” approach can be uniformly applied to every problem. However, as affluence and access to healthcare and novel drugs increased, we have not seen a corresponding rise in health span. For the first time in the US, parents will outlive their children. Various chronic illnesses like diabetes, depression, heart disease, cancer, autism seem to be on the rise. There has been a sharp increase in utilization of various medicines but people are not experiencing a cure, only a suppression of symptoms. Antidepressant use in the US went up by 400% within the last decade!
Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) seeks to address this problem of chronic disease. Over the past 2 decades, IFM has trained many practitioners in this new paradigm of health care delivery with great success. In fact, it is changing the way we do medicine.
Functional Medicine provides a powerful new system and clinical model for assessing, treating and preventing chronic diseases. It replaces the traditional but ineffective acute-care, “one pill for an ill” models carried forward from the 20th century.
Functional Medicine combines the latest in genetic science, systems biology, and knowledge of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the development and progression of disease. It skillfully weaves ancient medicine with modern technology to arrive at the root cause of a person’s imbalance.
Functional Medicine enables practitioners to practice proactive, predictive and personalized medicine. This whole-person approach shifts the focus from disease-centric to person-centric, empowering patients to take an active role in their own health.