WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Integrative or functional medicine brings together conventional medicine with safe and effective complimentary medicine. It emphasises the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve healing and optimal health.
In Functional Medicine every patient’s needs are looked at individually. The symptoms are not treated in isolation, as is often the case with conventional medicine. Often the cause of the disease is an underlying imbalance or dysfunction of bodily systems. Functional Medicine aims to dig deeper to reveal the true cause of the patient’s health problems. Long term relief cannot be achieved by merely treating the symptoms of ailment, the underlying root cause has to be identified.
Functional Medicine’s aim is to find out what disturbs the equilibrium within the body, in other words: what is preventing optimal functioning. Functional Medicine wishes to identify what causes a malfunction within the body on what the body will need to help it function at its best.
Adapted from reference: https://experiencelife.com/
Here are 5 basic principles that define Functional Medicine:
Functional Medicine principles rely on evidence-based medicine
The latest research shows that what happens within us is connected in a complicated network or web of relationships. Understanding those relationships allows us to see deep into the functioning of the body. Using scientific principles, advanced diagnostic testing, and treatments other than drugs or surgery, Functional Medicine restores balance in the body's primary physiological processes.
Functional Medicine views us all as being different
Genetically and biochemically unique, treating the individual, not the disease. It supports the normal healing mechanisms of the body, naturally, rather than attacking disease directly.
Your body is intelligent
It has the capacity for self-regulation, which expresses itself through a dynamic balance of all your body systems.
Health is not just the absence of disease
But a state of immense vitality. It is therefore important to see what the body is lacking to enhance it’s functioning.
Your body has the ability to heal
It prevents nearly all the diseases of aging, with the correct support.
INSTEAD OF NEEDING TO TACKLE THE DISEASE WITH DRUGS AND INVASIVE SURGERY, FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE FOLLOWS A DIFFERENT ROUTE:
A Functional Medicine doctor will take a patient's history, using a timeline, to draw in antecedent factors (pre-and perinatal), trigger points and mediators of the illness, as well as the 7 core clinical imbalances, or nodes of functional medicine.
The practitioner will conduct physical examinations, such as nail inspection, ankle-brachial reflex and chapman reflex points relevant to the imbalances identified in Step 1.
Advanced laboratory tests are conducted to look into a patient’s physiology and identify imbalances where necessary. These imbalances are addressed resulting in less severe symptoms, renewed health and well-being. Some of these tests may be covered by medical aids and used in conventional medicine, others use specialised laboratories including DNA, mitochondrial, stool and saliva analysis.
Apply a treatment plan, that utilizes various modalities including supplementation, coaching and/or therapy, multi-disciplinary referrals, co-ordination of care and regular follow-up visits using outcome-based tools. These modalities are used alongside conventional medical consultations, and may lead to adjusted or reduced prescribed medications.
An important point to remember is the individualized nature of Functional Medicine treatments. Patients with similar symptoms may have different treatment plans in accordance with their medical history and laboratory tests. Relevant factors to consider are a patient’s unique results influenced by:
- Negative emotions such as fear, greed, anger and envy
- Toxic chemicals in the body
- Pathogenic bacteria
- Parasites and
- Viral pathogen
Reference: Functional Medicine Tree. Institute of Functional Medicine