What is Functional Medicine?

Posted by Dr. Ellan Duke on May 25th 2020

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine has been described as an evolution in healthcare that better addresses the needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional Medicine views us all as being different genetically and biochemically. This personalized health care treats the individual, not the disease. It supports the normal healing mechanisms of the body, naturally, rather than attacking disease directly.

Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual's illness. Functional Medicine focuses on interactions between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems.

Your body is intelligent and has the capacity for self-regulation, which expresses itself through a dynamic balance of all your body systems. It has the ability to heal and prevent nearly all the diseases of aging.

Instead of asking, “What drug matches up with this disease?” Functional Medicine asks the question: “Why do you have this problem in the first place?” and “Why has function been lost?” and “What can we do to restore function?” In other words, Functional Medicine looks to find the root cause or mechanism involved with any loss of function, which ultimately reveals why a set of symptoms is there in the first place, or why the patient has a particular disease label.

This is followed by a discussion with your practitioner of how to strengthen the organ systems involved. The assigned protocols begin with the most natural and most noninvasive solutions first. Frequently diet and lifestyle changes can produce a lot of positive change in a person’s health status.