Functional medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and resolving the underlying causes of disease. It takes an expansive view of patient wellness, considering not only clinical indicators such as blood pressure or fasting blood sugar, but also other indicators such as mood, sleep quality, and social support.
Functional medicine practitioners use science-based methods to identify dysfunctions in the body, understand how these dysfunctions are connected and respond appropriately with interventions designed to correct those dysfunctions. In short, functional medicine addresses the “why” behind the disease in order to help people heal faster and prevent future health issues.
These principles are essential to understand if you want to learn everything about functional medicine. They’re also essential if you’re interested in becoming a functional medicine practitioner yourself one day.
Identify and treat the causes of disease
First and foremost, functional medicine practitioners aim to identify and treat the underlying causes of disease. Not only are they interested in treating the symptoms of an illness, but also the root cause. If you don’t address the underlying issue, you’ll likely have to keep treating the symptoms over and over again for the rest of your life.
The most effective way to do this is to perform a thorough patient history and examination. Take a full account of your patient’s lifestyle – diet, sleep quality, stress levels, social support, etc and track changes in that lifestyle over time. When you understand the root causes of disease in each individual, you can respond appropriately with interventions designed to correct those dysfunctions. In other words, you can help the body heal itself by removing the obstacles in the way.
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Continual patient education and empowerment
One of the most important aspects of functional medicine is continual patient education. This is essential because the field of functional medicine is ever-changing and growing. As new research comes out, functional medicine practitioners need to be able to adapt and apply these findings to their patient’s specific conditions. Whereas patients may have been given a one-size-fits-all treatment plan in the past, functional medicine practitioners test for multiple genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors.
This allows them to personalize treatment plans based on what is happening in the patient’s body at that specific moment in time. Additionally, functional medicine practitioners empower their patients to take an active role in their own health. They emphasize the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle but understand that this isn’t always easy. They want their patients to succeed and thrive and know that patients are more likely to reach their health goals if they feel empowered and supported.
Regeneration and repair of the body’s systems
Finally, functional medicine practitioners focus on the regeneration and repair of the body’s systems. This is important because all of the systems in our body work together. When one system is out of balance, it affects the others. In conventional medicine, physicians focus on treating disease rather than on promoting health.
Functional medicine practitioners, however, seek to improve the body’s systems through nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. They’re interested in promoting health and wellness, not just treating disease. It’s important to note that not every disease can be cured through functional medicine. In some cases, it may be necessary to treat the disease with medications and surgery.
Functional medicine practitioners understand that these are sometimes necessary and that they work in conjunction with regeneration and repair.
It’s essential to understand these 3 main principles of functional medicine in order to understand what it is and why it’s important. Through a holistic view of patient care, functional medicine practitioners aim to identify and treat the underlying causes of disease, empower and educate their patients, and promote regeneration and repair of the body’s systems.
These principles are essential to understand if you want to learn more about functional medicine. They’re also essential if you’re interested in becoming a functional medicine practitioner yourself one day.