Functional medicine: How it is Different
Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex chronic disease.
It is the future of medicine. The basic phenomenon of understanding biology as a complex adaptive system that gives rise to EMERGENT properties that give rise to chronic diseases is the goal of functional medicine.
It is about understanding balance: what gives balance and imbalance. How do we get rid of the things that create imbalance and provide the things that create balance? That is the goal of functional medicine as it applies to chronic disease.
Many people may think of a Functional Medicine practitioner as someone who simply administers testing or supplements or diets, but that is not the case. It is about a new way of thinking. It merges traditional medicine with integrative medicine. Functional Medicine practitioners look for the etiology of chronic diseases while treating the disease itself, with the intent of reversing the chronic disease whenever possible.
“Functional medicines is a science based personalized health care approach that assesses and treats underlying causes of illness through individually tailored therapies to restore health and improve function.” Dr. Mark Hyman
Hallmarks of Functional Medicine include:
- Patient centered care.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach.
- Integrating best medical practices. Functional Medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with Integrative Medicine creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs or stress management techniques.
I practiced traditional medicine only for the first 15 years of my career. Like many of us in functional medicine, a patient introduced me to some of the concepts surrounding wellness and nutritional medicine. These concepts were new to me.
I attended the American Academy of Anti-aging and Regenerative medicine in 2006 and have never looked back. Since that time, I have become board certified in Anti-aging, Regenerative, and Functional Medicine. I also currently study with the Institute for Functional Medicine with plans of complete certification in the upcoming years. I have seen my patients benefit far more from this approach than traditional medicine and this is what excites me and drives me to continue learning.