7 Reasons Why Functional Medicine Rocks!


Functional Medicine

You’re not sleeping well. Your belly seems perpetually upset. Your nose is stuffed up and, to top it off, you’re feeling down. You head to your GP for—if you’re lucky—a 10-minute chat about what’s ailing you. The GP then hands you a prescription or two, shakes your hand, and shows you the door. Case closed. Is this any way to heal the unwell? Does this approach actually make anyone better? In a word, no. And more likely, this here’s-a-prescription-seeya approach may even make patients more sick, which is one of the reasons I’ve dedicated my life to helping my patients create and sustain long-term health using the principles of Functional Medicine.

So, just what is “Functional Medicine?” I believe it’s the most profound and effective way to treat patients—particularly those with chronic health issues—and here’s why:

1. Functional Medicine is all about you.

In simplest terms, think of it as the ultimate in personalized, one-on-one, therapeutic relationships. It’s a health-focused, patient-centric partnership, in which doctor and patient work together to dig deep and find out the causes of illness and disease. We examine not only the patient, but also their unique history, environment, lifestyle and underlying factors, and then develop a health-enhancing, usually drug-free plan to help restore the patient to good health and get him or her on a life-long path of wellness. With Functional Medicine, we look beyond the laundry list of symptoms; we take the whole person into account.

2. Functional Medicine is artisanal medicine.

With Functional Medicine, the patient experience is anything but conventional. One might even call it ‘artisanal medicine’, because it involves time, care and patience, since true healing doesn’t happen overnight. With Functional Medicine, we treat the person who has the disease rather than the disease the person has. It’s not unusual for my colleagues and me to spend an hour or more with patients, listening to their histories, doing the detective work, asking questions, and examining the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle patterns that effect health. By addressing the underlying causes of illness and disease, Functional Medicine practitioners are able to design unique, personalized healing plans that Conventional Medicine literally doesn’t have the tools, training, or the time for.

3. Functional Medicine is not assembly-line medicine.

Our current health care system is, to a large extent, governed by profit-driven conglomerates that essentially force physicians to manage huge caseloads and keep people moving through the system as quickly as possible. It’s mass-produced, assembly line, quick-fix, put-a-band-aid-on-it medicine, with little hope of creating long-term health. To it’s credit however, Conventional Medicine is great at managing medical and surgical emergencies, medical crises, acute infections and trauma, but falls way short when it comes to treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, functional disorders, musculoskeletal problems and stress related disorders. This is where Functional Medicine shines bright with its more comprehensive, thoughtful approach.

4. Functional Medicine is the best of both worlds.

Functional Medicine is not an either/or system, but rather a true combination of Conventional Medicine and many different alternative and complementary therapies. It acknowledges the strengths of Conventional Medicine for acute and crisis-care, but also realizes that this approach does not have the tools for preventing and treating chronic diseases. Unlike conventional physicians, we are able to tap into all the tools of healing—drawing from Western, Eastern, alternative, preventative and integrative medical practices—to help our patients heal. By pulling from all of these approaches and by paying special attention to diet, exercise, nutrition, supplementation and the workings of the mind, we’re not just giving patients a band-aid, we’re giving them the tools to create sustainable wellness and vitality. To me, is what true healing is all about.

5. Functional Medicine looks for the cause.

In Conventional Medicine, doctors try to make a diagnosis and then apply a treatment for that particular diagnosis. In Functional Medicine we are less concerned with making a diagnosis and more concerned with the underlying imbalances or dysfunctions. These are the mechanisms of the disease process. We aim at treating those underlying disease mechanisms and ultimately look for the causes of those imbalances.

6. Functional Medicine is medicine on a mission.

I call myself a health evangelist, in part because I am a man on a mission. I aim to show the unwell how they can transform their health. Certainly they will need to do the work as I can’t do it for them, but we will work as partners to restore balance and health to their lives. And participating in the process, that slow transition from illness to wellness, is one of the greatest joys of Functional Medicine—for both patient and practitioner.

7. Functional Medicine is true Health Care.

Functional Medicine is true health care, unlike the disease care model of Conventional Medicine. We now have the knowledge to go beyond the current crisis care model and offer patients a much better approach to their health. We can incorporate lifestyle medicine, nutrition, supplements, stress reduction and exercise to improve the functioning of organs as a means of preventing disease and creating vibrant, sustainable health.  We can address the healthcare needs of the 21st century….Let’s do it!!

To learn more about the tenants of Functional Medicine you can find a more in-depth exploration here on my website or at The Institute for Functional Medicine’s website.

To find a Functional Medicine Practitioner in your area, please visit The Institute for Functional Medicine’s directory of doctors.

  • Lisa

    This approach is foundational in naturopathic medicine. Only that from an accredited institution (i.e. Bastyr, NCNM, etc.), of course.

  • Christie

    I agree and think the word is spreading! Functional Medicine is the new revolution in health care! If more health insurance companies covered this care, I believe more people would explore this option.

  • cathy e

    Awesome website. I am into natural healing with my own website and I just found this site. Love it love it love it. What more can I say except that people need to take charge of what they are putting in their body as much as possible and eat closer to the ground…naturally foods grown by nature not chemically treated.

  • Banu IB

    This is chiropractic philosophy for centuries nothing new. Chiropractors know how to do this well.

  • Yvonne Forsman

    You say holistic patient care embraces nutrition (GMO free, organic, gluten free I am assuming, and right type of fats and right type of carbs=complex carbs, no fish b/c oceans are polluted w heavy metals and Fukushima radiation, fermented veggies with every meal to repair the gut and yoghurt or kefir w live cultures, stop caffeine in coffee, black tea and chocolate, it is a neurotoxin, stressing the body, no MSG, no additives in foods, no industrial food, cook at home from scratch), supplements (liquid liposomal vit C and liposomal glutathione for detox of metals from brain, bones and tissue, suppl w vit K2 – not the same as vit K, K2 needed to distribute calcium into bones and teeth, together with vit D and magnesium, be aware of gluten in supplements, use medical marijuana where necessary or beneficial), stress reduction (meditation, listening to music, socializing, having pets), exercise, yes to all but it is still not the whole program a sick patient needs. The knowledge base needs to address water filtration (no fluoride b/c it destroys the brain), no vaccines (b/c of mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde = brain destruction, leading to ADD, ADHD, ASD/autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson), safely remove toxic mercury tooth fillings and toxic root canals at a biological dentist, air filtration, EMF waves (sleeping in a bedroom free from EMF = no TV, no computer, no cell phone), balance the positive indoor energies with negative energies in nature by walking barefoot or invest in “earthing” products (on amazon), no toxic flame retardants in home textiles, new cars and clothing, cooking in porcelain pots and pans free from plastic coating, storing food in glass or BPA free plastic containers in fridge, switching to toxin free personal hygiene products, toxin free household cleaning products, sleep more hours and during darkness in nature, no bright lights or computer or TV b/f bed time. There is probably more but this is what comes to my mind right now.

  • Scott Bugher

    I see only functional practitioners now since status quo psychiatry failed me––severe brain damage with a medical emergency status as per two different neurologists. I’m seeing 1 of under 1000 functional medicine neurologists who was first in line willing to risk his reputation and allow himself to be a “quack” when Jeffrey launched it all 25 years ago. My problem, though, is I have to still see a psychiatrist to taper me off the drugs, a functional medicine psychiatrist who prescribes patients drugs that rotted my brain. Could you please justify how any psychotropic medications are fitting for functional medicine given they make cigarettes look like multivitamins? I find it outrageous, personally. The psychiatrist’s website and Facebook page plug nothing but info to support the FACTS about sound diet and lifestyle choices, but nothing is mentioned about the healing powers of psych dope. Seemingly, though, she gives dope to quite a few people––at least she often says, “I have one patient taking 50mg of this AntiLogicTreatmentOption [ALTO] medication.” I’m not comfortable with a good, logical school of health & healing mingling with psychotropic toxins. Would love your opinion.

  • Dr. DiNezza

    I took the plunge into functional medicine in chiropractic school and never looked back :) I would disagree with the other poster- I don’t think it is the same as chiropractic philosophy.. although there are certainly some shared elements. I see chiropractic as an adjunct to my FM practice, not the other way around as many chiros would.

    I wrote a blog post about how to find a functional medicine doctor near you recently- hopefully this helps people everywhere find a FM doctor :)


  • DianaGB

    Can you check the above directory of doctors link? This one goes to the page for practitioners to sign onto the listing. If that page has another link I’m not seeing, please direct me there. Thanks.

  • Maria LaSalle

    Since it would not be covered by insurance, how much do you charge for services? Just wondering how affordable this is.

  • Tony Sweet

    This is pseudoscience at its best (or worst). Nothing more than an excuse to bilk people at their most vulnerable time. Shame on you!

    And, by the way, the word you are looking for in your penultimate paragraph is “tenets” not “tenants”.