Functional Medicine is medical practice or treatments that focus on optimal functioning of the body and its organs, usually involving systems of holistic or alternative medicine. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties (Western medicine). It treats the whole system, not just symptoms. Using biological systems oriented approach that also engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. (1)
With the drastic increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases. he system of medicine has yet to catch up. The Western medicine approach that is practiced by most physicians is oriented towards acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration. The acute-care approach has tunnel vision when it comes to the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. The acute care approach may only look at a diagnosis with only one cause. Functional medicine is the cure to the dual problem of healthcare cost inflation and chronic dependency on the healthcare system. (1,2,3). There is about 125 million Americans with a chronic disease that Western medicine uses prescription drugs to cover the symptoms, often creating more symptoms, leading to a snowball effect.
Functional medicine is different than conventional medicine because it is a patient-centered care, and biological -based approach. It might help to think of this way of care is that the patients are co-creators of the treatment. It combines Western medical practices and “alternative” or “integrative” medicine. It uses genes, nutrition, diet, exercise, laboratory testing, other diagnostic techniques, and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detox programs, or stress management techniques. (2) Functional medicine practitioners use scientific breath throughs, and adopt them early. The patients then have their own breakthroughs because they thought their health issues were incurable or untreatable with Western medicine.
As healthcare costs skyrocket, and the ability to afford them decreases. A lot of people are relying on the hope of getting better by taking medications. That way of thinking never takes into account the underlying causes, and therefore adds to the problem. Functional medicine is here to bridge the gap, and help people lead healthier lifestyles.
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