Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE
Functional medicine has long been guided by six core principles:
- An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
- Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease centered approach to treatment;
- Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external
body, mind, and spirit;
- Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors;
- Identification of health as a positive vitality not merely the absence of disease
emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
- Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the lifespan, of each patient.