What is Functional Medicine?

030218_0028_0180.wbcI have decided that I want to practice medicine in a different way. I want to treat clients, not symptoms. I want to make sure that all of you is cared for – from your skin to your soul. Basically, that’s functional medicine.

The Institute of Functional Medicine may not appreciate my simplification of the term, so I hope they forgive me.

Functional medicine integrates “Western Medicine” with “Alternative Medicine” and, hopefully, gets the best out of both.

Prevention is the cornerstone of functional medicine because many complex and chronic diseases – such as diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, or rheumatoid arthritis – are preventable when medical care focuses on the entire person. Therefore, by focusing on prevention through healthy living, the goal is to avoid needing treatment.

When symptoms do occur, functional medicine practitioners do more than just go through a check list of symptoms to reach a diagnosis.Instead, we define the symptoms and look at ALL of the contributing factors – such as environment, genetics, activities, and mental health – to determine the root cause of the problem. And, when treating a condition, our aim is to reduce increased trauma by combining prescription medicine, herbal remedies, supplements, stress-management, and other non-invasive techniques.

By allowing for the fact that there are more preventative and treatment options available than traditional medicine defines, doctors can expand their clinical tool kit. By understanding the WHOLE BODY, and building a collaborative and comprehensive relationship with clients, I hope to prevent chronic disease and improve overall health with that expanded set of tools.

I hope I have provided you with a basic understanding of functional medicine. I also hope that you can see how much more is possible when doctors treat the whole person with all the tools available, not just those defined by tradition. At some point, I believe that research, science, and practice will come together and anyone who practices medicine will, in fact, be practicing Functional Medicine.

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