Functional Medicine is often referred to as a third type of medicine, in that it incorporates comprehensive aspects of traditional and natural medicine in a unique manner for each person. The manifestation of health and disease is an individual expression of genetics, physiology, environment and emotions. Investigating the interconnected causes of illness versus just treating the symptoms distinguishes Functional Medicine.
For example, let's say three people have headaches--each could take a painkiller that might relieve the pain temporarily (relieve the symptoms), but would most likely not address the underlying cause?
* if person #1's headaches are caused by hormone imbalances
* person #2's are caused by food allergies or genetic issues
* and the #3's are caused from neck muscle tightness
Painkillers may relieve the pain temporarily, but will not address the root of the cause. This is where Functional Medicine shines.
* For person #1 we can investigate various types of hormone with blood work and saliva testing.
* Allergies and genetic variations can be investigated with blood and cheek swab analysis for person #2.
* and for person #3--muscle tightness would benefit from chiropractic, massage, and stress reduction.
Each of these scenarios has a unique underlying mechanism that would persist indefinitely if only painkillers were prescribed. With Functional Medicine, the symptom (pain) is relieved, and the cause of the pain is addressed and hopefully further deterioration prevented.
In a similar way discomfort such as heartburn may be due to 1) an infection; 2) food allergies; 3) structural problems with the esophagus or stomach. Heartburn medications such as Prilosec or Zantac can relieve the symptoms, but do nothing to kill the infection, address the food sensitivity, or fix a structural problem int the body. Again, based on a thorough history, each possibility can be investigated and tested if necessary.
Functional Medicine utilizes a greater volume of data to evaluate the unique biological, biochemical, and environmental influences that lead to disease.
Functional Medicine provides personalized, complete solutions instead of chasing symptoms or targeting only one part of the body. The saying "He who chases the site of the pain is lost..." is often referenced by Functional Medicine practitioners.
SO,WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Functional Medicine sees you, the patient, as a whole person, with a unique history, a unique set of circumstances, and a unique set of genes that interact to create your health, or the experience of disease.
Functional Medicine does not apply a standard protocol to each problem. This is not "one-size-fits-all" medicine.
Through the unique partnership between you, the patient and the doctor, the Functional Medicine approach produces a comprehensive plan for maximizing health. Beyond just alleviating symptoms or slowing the progression of disease, Functional Medicine is integrative, science-based healthcare that focuses on addressing the underlying cause of illness, as well as the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.
Functional Medicine practitioners spend a lot of time with their patients, listening to their histories and investigating the complex interactions among genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.
Through this comprehensive evaluation, and development of a personalized wellness program, Functional Medicine practitioners help you to regain control over your health and make changes to support a lifetime of wellness.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE--SEEING AND TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON
* Each person is unique, with unique healthcare needs.
* Health is more than simply the absence of disease.
* Balanced biochemistry is essential to proper functioning.
* Medicine must be personalized for the individual.
Functional Medicine is science-based and uses a variety of lab tests to help understand how your individual body systems function. To assess where your imbalances lie, we may utilize appropriate, comprehensive lab testing to assess:
* Genetic variations
* Metabolic functioning
* Nutrient deficiencies
* Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances
* Immune and inflammatory imbalances
* Oxidation problems
* Neurotransmitter and hormonal issues
* Detoxification and biotransformation problems
Using this detailed information, you and your doctor can create a customized wellness plan just for you.
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