Functional medicine is a way of fully addressing the healthcare concerns of the 21st Century, which now centred on chronic disease and long-term ill-health.
It lends itself to more person-centred care rather than disease-lead care. You might be surprised to realise that the underlying cause for
your ‘dis-ease’ might be different to another person with the same ‘dis-ease’.
Functional medicine is about YOU.
Functional medicine practitioners look ‘upstream’ to identify disrupted physiology and lifestyle which may have led to disease, or imbalance. It addresses the body as an interconnected unit, rather than separate body parts which are delivered to different speciality units (e.g., gastroenterology) to be assessed and corrected in isolation from the rest of the body. The unique genetic makeup of an individual is also considered, along with internal and external environmental factors.
The aim is to help individuals acquire vibrant health, rather than just the absence of disease. Functional medicine combines traditional
‘Western’ medicine with what some consider to be ‘integrative’ or ‘alternative’ medicine.
The analogy of a tree is often used in functional medicine, because when a tree is thriving it will be seen with green leaves and strong
branches. We would not ‘treat’ a diseased tree by applying a remedy to its leaves, but rather look at the soil quality, the level of hydration, or its environment. Our current healthcare system often treats symptoms, ‘painting a remedy on our leaves’, rather than addressing the underlying issue, and often overlooking our nutrition, lifestyle, and environment.
Nutrition, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modalities are foundational to functional medicine.