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Do you have chronic health problems that have resisted your efforts to resolve? Have you been told you have to live with your condition or it is all in your head? Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and told there isn't much you can do. Perhaps it is time to try a different approach.
Functional medicine takes a different approach.
Traditional medicine places a strong emphasis on catagorizing disorders by diagnosis which are arrived at by a collection of symptoms rather than the root cause of the disorder. Treatment relies on medications and surgery.
The body is viewed as a series of organ systems which are typically segregated from one another. Assessment, treatment and even many of the practitioners themselves are conceptualized by the individual organ which the problem has been reduced to.
This model of medicine has made spectacular advances over the past century in certain fields such as: emergency medicine, infectious disease, diagnostic radiology and surgical interventions. For varied and sometimes unclear reasons, it was decided that this model should then be applied to the whole spectrum of healthcare, including chronic disease management, nutrition and preventative medicine with, at best, mediocre results.
Perpetual symptom suppression and the lack of root cause resolution has resulted in a continued deterioration of these integral aspects of healthcare and widespread dissatisfaction among patients and practitioners alike.
A personalized and integrative approach to healthcare which involves understanding the prevention, management and root causes of complex chronic disease. Functional medicine offers the most comprehensive and effective approach to healthcare in the 21st century.
Functional medicine utilizes the most current scientific knowledge regarding how our genetics, environment and lifestyle interact as a whole system to diagnose and treat diseases based on patterns of dysfunction and imbalance – without necessarily treating the specific disease. Functional medicine treats the person who has the disease, not the disease the person has. For a more in-depth look at how Systems Biology is changing the practice of medicine click here.
Determining the root cause of the illness is an essential component of this system to the extent that a physician who does not practice in this manner is not practicing functional medicine. Symptom suppression is only used as a temporizing measure while seeking the root cause and when clinically necessary to optimize function of the patient.
Functional medicine is built on the foundation of conventional medicine. Functional medicine is holistic in how it views patients and the problems they present with. Functional medicine includes the core concepts of naturopathic medicine within its system. Functional medicine incorporates the open-mindedness of integrative medicine when determining the most effective modality needed to get the patient well. Functional medicine has built upon all these other approaches to healthcare to make available to the patient the most effective medical system currently known.
A perfectly healthy human being is incredibly complex. Add to that an illness or imbalance and that complexity grows exponentially. All of the approaches we have discussed have their merits, but the obvious choice would be an approach encompassing all of them while seeking the root cause of the illness using Systems Biology to unravel the networks that make up who we are.