What is Functional Medicine?
The dictionary definition of functional medicine is “individualized medical care that recognizes the interactions between genetic and environmental factors and between the body’s interconnected systems.” Functional medicine promotes a holistic approach to interdependent systems in the body to promote a dynamic balance for good health.
The practitioner of functional medicine will look at the body like you might observe a houseplant that is wilting. First you would consider the plant itself – does it need water? Secondly, you look at the plant’s environment – is it getting too much sun? Is it in front of a heater vent? Are insects attacking the plant? Do I need to add nutrients to the soil? When a functional medicine practitioner meets with a patient for the first time, they ask similar questions – What is missing that the body needs in order to be healthy? What is interfering with the body to keep it from healing itself?
Finally, functional medicine uses lifestyle and natural remedies/supplements to restore the natural functioning of the body and its systems. It is not about just treating your symptom, like today’s conventional medications, but about improving your health to eradicate the underlying cause of the symptom.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
– Thomas Edison
Ultimately, functional medicine is about listening. It’s about listening to the patient, to the vital signs of the patient’s body and individual organs, as shown by methods such as blood tests, saliva tests, scans of the body such as an endocardiograph or thermography. Functional medicine tends to rely on natural methodologies, which are now considered to be “alternative”. Of course, natural medicine has been in place for centuries, but in the last one hundred years, has become “alternative”, while the pharmaceutical approach health is considered mainstream today.