What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine Tree

Functional Medicine is a true combination of Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine and scientific research. It combines the philosophy of balance and how to restore function from Chinese Medicine and the knowledge of biochemistry and physiology of Western Medicine with the latest scientific research about how our genetics, environment and lifestyle all interact with each other. Functional medicine focuses assessment and intervention at the root levels of metabolic imbalance and is an evolution in the practice of medicine that addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century by focusing on prevention and uncovering the underlying causes of serious chronic disease. Instead of just suppressing symptoms, it deals with the root causes of disease and is less concerned with making a diagnosis and more concerned with the underlying imbalances, which are the mechanisms of the disease process.

For instance, in the last 2 weeks, 3 people came to see me complaining of reflux and all had been given Nexium by their Doctor. But for one of them, the cause was his diet and eliminating the foods that caused the problem did the trick. For the second person, giving her probiotics and nutrients to heal the lining of the gastro-intestinal system helped and for the third person, giving him HCL, yes you read correctly, giving him Hydrochloric Acid tablets to help digestion helped. All 3 had different causes and needed to be treated accordingly.

As opposed to Western Medicine, Functional medicine treats the patient and not the disease. In addition, it provides a framework for the practice of medicine that uses all the tools of healing, both conventional and alternative, to address the whole person rather than an isolated set of symptoms. I have studied Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine which taught me to see the body from a holistic perspective. Now Functional Medicine gives me a framework to combine this with a Western understanding of the body.

I feel blessed to have met Jeff Bland, who pioneered Functional Medicine over 20 years ago, and been exposed to his brilliant teachings. What started as lectures by Jeff has now turned into a burgeoning movement, with an Institute of Functional Medicine, a faculty and textbook to teach interested Practitioners. I am proud to be part of this new medicine movement as it provides a timely new way of thinking about prevention, public health, wellness and the treatment of chronic disease that can lead to better outcomes and lower healthcare costs.

For more information, go to Functional Medicine.org

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