There are a lot of different methods out there that encompass “alternative” medicine. And one of these methods in particular that has gained a great deal of attention in recent years, is Functional Medicine.
Functional medicine is a term which is largely unfamiliar to the general public. It has, however, evolved to become a mainstream approach to healthcare in recent times.
The functional medicine model focuses on the process of the development of a disease or health condition through factors such as genetics, diet and lifestyle choices, rather than just treating the disease by masking the symptoms with lots of medication.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine can be a little difficult to define, so it’s useful in the first instance to compare it to the conventional medicine approach.
In conventional medicine, doctors diagnose a disease and then match it to a specific treatment. When someone is diagnosed with an acute healthcare problem such as a heart attack, infection or trauma like a spinal cord injury, this approach works well.
For many chronic conditions, however, including high blood pressure, digestive issues or autoimmune diseases, this type of medical intervention can fall short of what is required (According to the 2021 Common wealth study, “The United States ranks last overall, despite spending far more of its gross domestic product on health care”).
With a chronic condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, for example, the medical approach will provide short-term relief but won’t have the impact desired on the long-term suffering of the individual.
Functional medicine takes a holistic process approach and considers the individual as unique.
It asks and answers important questions regarding “why” someone has developed a particular disease.
Functional medicine professionals like Dr. Autoimmune looks at an individual’s lifestyle, diet and their family history to get to the root cause of their symptoms.
This in-depth investigation leads to suggesting potential changes, such as switching to a certain diet, that could improve the condition of the patient.
Principles of Functional Medicine
The key to this kind of approach is to look at what function has been lost and how it can be restored. As a model, there are 5 principles that help define the treatment for the individual.
1. The individual is not a disease but a person
We are all unique. Each of us has a genetic blueprint that defines how we look, how tall we are and how our biology works. Because of this, the first principle of functional medicine treats each person individually.
They are not a disease but a person who will have their own biochemical makeup. Each has a set of healing mechanisms defined by their biological structure.
“Encouraging this self-healing is an important part of dealing with many autoimmune diseases,” according to Dr. Autoimmune.
2. Functional medicine is evidence-based
As with the conventional approach to healthcare, functional medicine needs to be defined by the evidence. We utilize scientifically validated tests like blood chemistry, stool and hormone testing which is highly predictive in understanding the patients journey and what steps to take with intervention.
Each of us is the result of a network of interactions that can affect not only our health but how we respond to disease and illness.
These intricate relationships give us an in-depth insight into how the human body functions and how it affects the individual. The benefit of person-centered care is increasingly being highlighted in ongoing medical research.
3. The human body is self-healing
Research today tells us that the human body is incredibly effective at regulating itself and, in many circumstances, healing itself.
The balance between different organs in the body and how they interact is a key factor in creating an environment where healing can take place. There is significant evidence that functional medicine can help tackle major public health issues such as diabetes by changing lifestyle and diet.
There’s also evidence that there’s an ever-growing number of people suffering from anxiety and/or depression worldwide. Conventional medicine’s main solution is to prescribe pharmaceutical drugs, but functional medicine uses a much more complex strategy to care for an individual. For example, Dr. Autoimmune and his team incorporates functional medicine, functional neurology, functional nutrition, brain mapping and neurofeedback when it comes to individuals that suffer from anxiety and/or depression.
4. We each have the potential to heal diseases commonly associated with aging
Many chronic diseases are related to aging. For example, high blood pressure usually occurs in later life. Some are associated with conditions such as obesity or simply the natural process of getting older.
One principle of functional medicine is that our bodies have an innate ability to heal under the right circumstances and even prevent diseases occurring in the first place.
5. Health is more than the absence of disease
We often consider good health as not having something wrong with us. The absence of disease is not the only signal that we are in good health. Vitality, a good appetite, optimum weight, and a settled emotional state are all indicators of general wellness.
We tend to ignore these important indicators as individuals. The functional medicine model puts them at the center of its approach to healthcare.
The Future of Healthcare
Personalized care is becoming increasingly prevalent in healthcare environments. The functional medical approach aims to understand the individual’s physiological, biological, emotional and cognitive makeup to determine the best way to achieve optimal health.
The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.
To succeed, Dr. Autoimmune and his team look at the broad view as well as the microscopic and bring these together in an appropriate package of care. Patient-centered care that is responsive to the individual is becoming increasingly important, particularly for individuals that suffer from autoimmune disease.
Click here to schedule your appointment with the Dr. Autoimmune team today! We offer 100% remote care so anyone can heal from anywhere! And we’ve set up ‘The Dr. Autoimmune Solution’ which is a comprehensive new patient special that includes everything necessary to determine the root cause of your condition and start you on the journey to getting your life back.
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