At EPIC Functional Medicine, our team spends time with our clients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for everyone.
Learn more about Functional Medicine here: https://www.ifm.org/functional-medicine/
Why do we need functional medicine?
Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.
The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and addressing complex, chronic diseases. In most cases, it does not consider the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.
Furthermore, there remains a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.
Most physicians are not adequately trained, nor have the allotted time, to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both address and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
How is functional medicine different?
When you work at a functional medicine practice it involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease in integrative ways.
Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:
- Patient-centered care: The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach: Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Integrating best medical practices: Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
All functional medicine practice offices have long been guided by six core principles:
- An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
- Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment;
- Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit;
- Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors;
- Identification of health as a positive vitality not merely the absence of disease emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
- Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.
Why functional medicine?
When someone becomes sick, they rarely do so in a way that completely matches the textbooks. Rather than trying to find the proper label for the person’s health condition, Functional Medicine identifies its complex mix of causes vs traditional medicine.
For treatment, Functional Medicine utilizes the latest research findings on supplements, diet, and other natural tools for restoring balance in the body’s primary physiological processes. If you are searching for a functional medicine doctor near you, contact us today!