WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Functional medicine is medical care in pursuit of optimal health, treating the whole, individual patient rather than an acute issue.
While many patients may come to functional medicine with the intention of addressing a specific problem — weight or blood pressure, for example— providers create comprehensive treatment plans that alleviate symptoms as well as elevate a patient’s health and quality of life on all fronts. Functional medicine provides a broad spectrum of services and support that promote health as its own end goal.
You don’t need to have a pressing, diagnosable “illness” in the traditional sense to pursue and benefit from functional medicine. All you need is a desire to optimize your health and make the best of the body and life that you have.
WHERE TRADITIONAL MEDICINE FALLS SHORT
The medical establishment generally operates on an acute-care model that quickly treats pressing issues with drugs, surgery, or therapy. While prudent use of any of these options can produce positive health outcomes, patients see greater, comprehensive, long-term benefits from a holistic approach.
Longer life expectancy, in addition with lifestyle changes, means that patients are experiencing new health challenges of increasingly complex and chronic natures. Exposure to food additives, environmental toxins, and the particular demands and pressures of modern day-to-day life, have radically altered the health needs of today’s patients. Many providers and patients alike feel that traditional medicine has failed to catch up, and is out of touch with the needs of the 21st century patient.
Doctors, meanwhile, may be burdened by large caseloads and insurance-based constraints that mean less time with their patients, less freedom to utilize certain therapies, and a need to work within rigid constraints. Doctors may lack the support to provide ongoing, personalized care to their patients, and be under pressure to offer quick, simple solutions that are easy to document.
HOW IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE DIFFERENT?
Functional medicine may make use of medication, physical therapy, or surgery, but in combination with lifestyle and nutritional counseling, it implements all medical modalities. By coaching patients to change the habits and circumstances that are within their control, functional medicine providers help patients to optimize their health and mitigate the need for traditional medical intervention.
Functional medicine providers spend time getting to know their patient’s histories and circumstances, as well as their genetic makeup and lifestyles. This gives providers a fuller picture of their patient’s health needs and the peripheral factors that may cause or aggravate a patient’s condition, or simply make them feel less than great. In this way, functional medicine providers are able to attack on all fronts, alleviating symptoms as well as helping their patients get on track for better health in the long-term, without relying on traditional medicine alone.
Traditional western medicine can be successfully applied and integrated with lifestyle and dietary counseling, alternative therapies, hormone replacement, anti aging therapies, and even simple stress-management techniques. None of these approaches are at odds with any others, and functional medicine, unlike traditional medicine, prioritizes their successful integration.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!