Well, to put it plainly, Functional Medicine is the opposite of DYSFUNCTIONAL medicine. In Functional Medicine we are not interested in band-aiding the symptom, condition or disease with a drug or surgery or even a natural supplement. Functional Medicine is about getting to the ROOT CAUSE of your health issues by treating imbalances in your body. It involves using natural, low-risk treatments, including therapeutic nutraceuticals, nutrition, lifestyle modifications, and inner mind and spiritual work.
Functional Medicine is PERSONAL medicine. Every person is unique, and so in order to treat and heal your body properly, we need to take an individual and personal approach. No two treatment plans are ever the same!
It’s also the medicine of CONNECTIVITY. In conventional medicine we have doctors specialising in the brain or the hormones or the gut or the reproductive system. This is all good and well, but it fails to see the way that all body systems are connected. In Functional Medicine, we look at the way the hormones or the brain interact with the gut, which then interact with the liver. Trying to treat only one body system when there are multiple imbalances in other body systems (which there often are!), will never achieve optimal health.
Functional Medicine is the medicine of WHY. It’s not good enough to label you with, say, ‘Chronic Fatigue’. We want to know WHY you are so fatigued – is it due to a depletion of your stress hormones or your neurotransmitters, or because you have candida overgrowth, or because your detoxification pathways are all blocked up and your body is riddled with toxins?
Functional Medicine also uses specialty LAB TESTING to detect functional imbalances. This makes it different to say Naturopathy or Nutritional Medicine which traditionally operates without any pathology testing. This originated from a need to bridge natural therapies with scientific assessment and research. Functional Medicine lab testing differs to conventional pathology testing as it detects functional imbalances NOT disease. This is important as triggers for early disease-onset can be picked up and reversed by doing functional lab testing. It also picks up issues that regular doctor tests don’t pick up. Have you ever been to your GP only for them to say that all your tests came back ‘fine’, when you don’t feel fine?! It’s highly likely that you have underlying functional issues that are causing you to feel the way that you feel.
Author: Filipa Bellette, Clinical Nutritionist & Functional Medicine Practitioner