What Is Functional Medicine?
In the last few years, rapid advancements have taken in the field of medicine, diagnosis, and discovery. Using technology and digital breakthroughs have enabled scientists, doctors, and other stakeholders in the world of medicine to arrive at better judgments and conclusions.
Whether it is running tests, prescribing medicines, or suggesting a diet plan, medical science has evolved by leaps and bounds. This has not only improved the average lifespan of individuals but also allowed for better preparation and lower mortality rates in countries.
One such area that has quickly assumed a lot of importance has been Functional Medicine. From being researched and understood by a small section of influential practitioners, Functional Medicine has evolved into a better approach for studying the human condition.
In this article, we will try to understand what Functional Medicine is all about. Additionally, we will look at some of the core features and principles of the same as well.
Functional Medicine: What is it and why do you need to know about it?
Functional Medicine is a new and emerging field of clinical biology that helps in addressing the origins of the disease. This is in contradistinction to the present and more preferred models of treating diseases that are usually followed by doctors and other medical practitioners.
Let me try to explain Functional Medicine with an example-
An individual suffers from Depression and approaches a doctor. The doctor prescribes pills that are usually being prescribed for ages for depression-related ailments and issues. The doctor does not discuss whether the depression is arising out of stress, or is a side-effect of any other medication.
This is what Functional Medicine tries to address. It seeks to understand the situational background that has prompted the illness or disease from emerging in the first place. In most instances, this is about understanding the lifestyle, eating habits, and psychological conditions of the patients.
Many lifestyle disorders like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS are now being looked at from the vantage point of Functional Medicine. Given its emphasis on individuality, the discipline is slowly gaining crucial ground in different parts of the world.
The core principles of functional medicine are well documented online and below we will summarise some of the key elements of this medical approach.
List of 5 Important Factors that Drive the Functional Medicine Approach
- The Individual is at the Centre of the Diagnosis and Treatment-
You might say that this is what happens even today. However, try to replace the word ‘individual’ with the word ‘disease’ and you will understand what we are referring to. Here the focus is as much on the individual and his past actions as it is on the disease. Every person is unique and different in terms of biological build-up. This is what Functional Medicine addresses.
- The Focus is on Collaboration as a way of Finding Solutions-
The doctor always thinks that he or she knows more about the patient. This might be true in terms of understanding the various medicines and their applications. However, if there is one person that knows everything about the patient, it is the patient themselves. This is the collaboration that leads to effective treatment and is the heart of a Functional Medicine approach.
- A More Comprehensive Solution to Chronic Illnesses and Diseases-
Many leading exponents have pointed out that Functional Medicine has emerged as a more productive way of addressing chronic illnesses and seek their prevention. This is in clear difference to traditional medicine that looks to treat something after it has emerged. As Functional Medicine tries to understand background conditions, it automatically enables prevention.
- Understanding Body Functions and Genome Build-up is Necessary-
The fundamental premise of Functional Medicine is that each individual is different. Their biological backgrounds, genome construction, and constitution are distinct. This means that a particular drug is likely to address two individuals with the same disease in a completely different way. Functional medicine tries to underlie this point when approaching diagnosis and treatments.
- More Suited and Beneficial for Long-Term Patient Successes and Results-
As the key is identifying the root causes and origins of the disease, the effects of successful treatment are far more holistic and positive in nature. The recurrence of an illness is something Functional Medicine seeks to control successfully. This results in better treatment plans and far higher positive success stories for patients who experience better medical solutions.
The Bottom Line
Functional Medicine at its core is multi-disciplinary and attempts to understand the linkages that are creating the origins of the disease. Functional Medicine is evolving and will continue to do so for the next few years. Many leading medical practitioners in the industry have said that this approach is a novel advancement over the existing model of diagnosis and treatments. If you have any other questions, you would like us to answer, let us know in the comments below.