Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a system-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the health care needs of the 21st century by shifting the traditional disease centered focus of medical practice to a more patient centered approach.
Functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Practitioners spent time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long term health and complex chronic diseases.
In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
The training received for traditional/conventional health care is geared towards crisis management. Training lacks strategies for management of complex chronic diseases which includes nutrition, diet, exercise, addressing environmental exposures to toxins, among others.
Functional Medicine focuses on patient centered care with integrative, science-based healthcare approach. 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 make-up of each patient is considered, along with internal (mind, body, spirit) and external (physical and social environmental factors) that affect total functioning.
Integrating best medical practices, functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative”, complementary, or integrative medicine. This creates a focus on prevention through different combinations of nutrition, diet, exercise, breakthrough laboratory testing, other diagnostic techniques, prescribed combinations of medications/botanicals/supplements, detoxification programs, and/or stress management techniques.
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