Working as a Functional Medicine Practitioner, I often get asked the question, what is functional medicine? How is functional medicine any different than modern day medicine seen today?
In this article, I am going to break down how it’s different and how you can benefit from working with a functional medicine practitioner.
What is Functional Medicine?
I like to define functional medicine as having a well-rounded approach to working with patients and helping them get to the root cause of their illness.
I also use the following words to define functional medicine at its core:
- Investigative. Addresses symptoms by focusing on the underlying cause of the problem, which leads to more profound and longer lasting results.
- Holistic. Envisions the body as an interconnected whole that is in dynamic relationship to its environment, and recognizes the importance of these connections in health and disease.
- Safe. Treatments have mild or no side effects, and other unrelated complaints often improve spontaneously.
- Patient-centered. Treats the patient, not the disease. Treatments are highly individualized based on patient needs.
- Participatory. Patient is respected, empowered, educated and encouraged to play active role in healing process.
- Integrative. Combines the best of both modern and traditional medicines and emphasizes importance of diet and lifestyle.
- Restorative. Tests and treatments designed to promote optimal function, prevent and reverse disease, and improve quality of life.
- Preventative. Guided by the ancient Chinese saying, “The superb physician treats disease before it occurs.”
- Evidence-based. Based on the latest research from peer-reviewed medical journals, and uncorrupted by corporate and political interests.
Functional medicine is much more about getting to the bottom of your health issues and uncovering your root cause. It’s very different from modern day medicine where prescriptions are written just to provide a band aid for symptoms. In functional medicine, we focus on the patient and not the disease as each patient is going to present with something different. We also incorporate both modern and traditional approaches to get the best possible outcome for each individual patient.
It's about looking at the whole picture and getting each patient involved.
Who is Functional Medicine For?
Many of the patients I see in my practice have gone down the modern medical route. They have seen dozens of doctors, done hundreds of tests, and taken a handful of medications with little to no relief from their symptoms. Many patients come to me when they feel like no one else has truly listened to what they have gone through.
While functional medicine is for patients who have searched endlessly for answers to their health issues, functional medicine can also be for anyone who is just starting the process of uncovering their health issues.
Functional medicine is for anyone who wants to take an investigative, safe, holistic approach to their health. Functional medicine is for anyone who doesn’t want to rely on unnecessary drugs and other medical interventions for the rest of their lives. This approach is for anyone who wants to play an active role in their health instead of being pushed out of the doctor’s office after a 5-minute visit. A functional medicine approach works well for someone who is willing to make the dietary and lifestyle changes necessary for their health.
Conditions We Work With
Functional medicine doesn’t just focus on treating one particular condition. Functional medicine practitioners work with a wide range of health conditions. In my practice, I specialize in thyroid health but have worked with patients with all of the following conditions as well:
- Adrenal disorders
- Autoimmune disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic sinusitis
- Chronic infections
- Digestive disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/Reflux)
- Elevated cholesterol
- Environmental and food allergies
- Female disorders (PMS, Menopause, Infertility, PCOS)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Interstitial cystitis
- Mast cell activation syndrome
- Mercury and heavy metal toxicity
- Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance
- Migraines and headaches
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
- Overweight and obesity
- Sleep disorders and insomnia
- Thyroid disorders
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