If you want to take an active role in your health care, functional medicine may be of interest to you.
Functional medicine is a union between naturopathy and conventional medicine. It is a health care practice that encourages patients to reach or return to optimal health and improve vitality. Functional medicine zones in on the causes behind diseases, and then addresses those causes.
This is an individual experience for each patient because biology and lifestyle are taken into consideration. With that, functional medicine is not geared towards diseases per se; rather it focuses on the patient as a “whole person.” This is why functional medicine has an approach known as “patient-centered.” Functional medicine consists of practitioners and patients working together to tackle the causes of disease. When the patient becomes educated on how their body works, this may trigger a drive to follow through health plans.
Practitioners take the time to listen to each patient’s health concerns in full detail. Discussions on family health history will occur and how genes, lifestyle, and environmental surroundings may affect chronic disease and long-term health.
Therefore, one of the main goals of functional medicine is to understand what is not functional within one individual; not within a group of people with the same disease yet different family histories and ways of living.
The Principles of Functional Medicine
To help patients reach optimal health, functional medicine practitioners follow these principles:
- Collaboration between the patients and practitioners. Practitioners encourage patients to participate in the patient-centred approach. Goals, decisions and plans are thought out between the patient and practitioner.
- Everyone is unique. Practitioners treat the patients as individuals, not as diseases.
- Everything has a connection. A patient’s body is recognized as one ecosystem. All physiological factors are intersected.
- Find a balance. Instead of encouraging the body to react to pharmaceuticals, functional medicine practitioners help patients with natural remedies. In other words, practitioners support natural healing without conventional prescriptions. Balance is also sought between the mind, body and soul.
- Promote long-lasting health. Functional medicine practitioners do not believe in just alleviating a disease. Rather, being healthy involves implementing wholesome lifetime habits. This means improving the “health span” of a patient by ensuring that the organs are optimally functioning.
- Understand a patient’s biochemical history. The practitioner must understand each patient’s biology, which includes genetic makeup and environment.
- Evidence should be considered. Practitioners should be aware of science-based evidence that supports the patient’s individual treatment.
Who Would Be Interested in Functional Medicine Treatments?
Functional medicine may be considered by patients who:
- Are struggling to find a successful treatment for their health condition.
- Continue to experience symptoms despite already taking medications.
The following list consists of conditions that functional medicine may be applied to:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Acid reflux
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Psoriasis, eczema
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid issues
- Chronic fatigue
How is Functional Medicine Implemented?
Every individual has a different body; with that, patients may be provided with a distinctive health care plan that caters to their needs only, not to anyone else’s health. These individual plans may include:
- Lifestyle changes (which may consist of diet and exercise plans)
- Learning new strategies for managing/alleviating stress
- Health programs related to detoxifying the body
- Prescription medications
- Natural supplements
- Botanical medicine
Learn More About Functional Medicine
By having patients and practitioners join forces, functional medicine allows patients to become knowledgeable on their health needs. Because patients begin to understand the inner workings of their health, functional medicine is a unique practice that may cater to modern living. How can functional medicine affect your life? Please contact us to learn more. Call us at 416-922-4114 or click here to book your appointment.