What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a personalised approach to health care that recognises a person’s biological uniqueness. Rather than a single treatment for a single diagnosis, functional medicine addresses the whole person not just an isolated set of symptoms.
In contrast to conventional care, which often can focus too much on symptom suppression, without dealing with the cause of the symptom, functional medicine aims to eliminate symptoms by identifying and addressing the underlying cause of a problem.
It is an evidence based field of health care that views the body as an interconnected whole, and recognises the importance of these connections in health and disease. In functional medicine the client and practitioner engage in a therapeutic partnership to explore the interaction between genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that may influence health and complex, chronic disease. The client is empowered, educated and encouraged to play an active role in the healing process.
How is Functional Medicine different?
Functional medicine is:
Patient centred: addressing the patient, not the disease. In conventional medicine, patients with the same disease typically get the same treatment. In functional medicine, programs are highly individualised, based on individual client needs, which take into account genetic and both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors.
Preventative: promoting health as a positive vitality rather than simply the absence of disease. Tests and treatments are designed to promote optimal function, prevent poor health and improve quality of life.
Integrative: combines the best of both traditional Western medical practices using the latest laboratory testing and what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet and exercise.
Investigative: practitioners take time with their clients to understand the complex web of interactions in their history, physiology and lifestyle that can lead to illness. Symptoms are addressed by looking for any underlying causes of the problem, which leads to more profound and longer lasting results.
Holistic: treats the body as an interconnected whole, and recognises the importance of these connections in health and disease.
Safe: programs have mild or no side effects, and other unrelated complaints often improve spontaneously.
Participatory: the client is respected, empowered, educated and encouraged to play active role in healing process.
What conditions may benefit from Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine practitioners recognise that in order to support one part of the body, all of the other parts must also be considered. This is why practitioners are able to support such a wide variety of health problems, including:
- Adrenal disorders
- Autoimmune disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic sinusitis
- Elevated cholesterol
- Environmental and food allergies
- Hormonal imbalances
- Interstitial cystitis
- Migraines and headaches
- MS (Multiple Sclerosis)
- Overweight and obesity
- Thyroid disorders
- Digestive disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/Reflux)
- Metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance
- Female health (PMS, Menopause, Infertility, PCOS)