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How Does Functional Medicine Work? The Importance of Holistic Medicine

Functional Medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a disease. Functional medicine clinics take the holistic approach to understand who you are, knowing that every person is unique and should have a medical plan that is custom fit for their needs.

Instead of determining which drug will cure a disease, functional medicine clinics have direct primary care physician that discovers why you have an ailment in the first place and restore what’s no longer functioning.

Think of medicine in terms of a science experiment. Experiments with limited variables are easier to find solutions for. The more complex the problem, the more difficult the solution becomes. The human body is full of variables. Lifestyle, genetic makeup, personality, and environmental factors are just a few, and within each of these basic categories are countless more variables.

Too often, traditional physicians treat the disease and not the patient. They don’t take the time–and, in their defense, can’t take the time–to understand all of the variables that make you unique. While the standard model of care works well for acute diseases, trauma, infection, and emergencies, it fails to care for the chronic diseases that affect over 133 million Americans.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is an evidence-based, holistic approach to healthcare.

Functional medicine shifts the traditional disease-focused approach towards a patient-centered approach.

Functional medicine is both preventative and individualized. Compounded medicine is a term used in functional medicine to refer to unique, personalized prescription treatment.

In functional medicine, patient care is everything. When treating chronic disease, functional practitioners acknowledge a patient’s biochemical individuality and involve patients in their healthcare plan. It’s the patient’s chronic illness, so it makes sense that they should be co-equal partners in planning their wellness, right?

In this respect, functional medicine gives patients more power. It’s frustrating when a conventional doctor scoffs at a patient when they ask about a more natural treatment or even when they simply ask a question.

Functional doctors are consciously more respectful of their patients and recognize the importance of not only drug treatments, but dietary, lifestyle, emotional, and even social impacts on health and disease.

Functional Physicians Vs. Conventional Physicians

There are several differences between functional medicine (FM) and conventional medicine (CM).

FM treats the underlying causes of disease. CM, or “allopathic medicine,” usually treats symptoms that occur after an illness or disease is discovered.

FM looks at the whole body. CM has divided the body into a dozen or so unconnected systems and tries to treat them more individually.

FM is preventative. CM is reactive.

FM uses the latest research to improve diagnostic and treatment options. CM waits for Big Pharma to do their own testing and is slow to change methods.

FM is tailored to each individual. CM is designed for what works adequately for the largest number of people, often based on what is quickest, most cost-effective, and most profitable.

FM addresses the mind, body, and spirit and how they work together. CM struggles to admit the mind, body, and spirit’s scientific connection to chronic illness.

Functional doctors often treat their patients as co-equal partners in attaining holistic wellness.

Functional medicine practitioners know that each symptom or differential diagnosis may be a contributing factor to an individual’s illness. By identifying and treating the root cause(s) of an illness, functional medicine has a much higher chance of properly treating the patient. Functional medicine clinics use scientific principles, advanced diagnostic testing and treatments to restore balance in a patient’s physiological processes.

Does Funcrtional Medicine Work?

Functional medicine physicians encourage their patients to take an active role in their own health. By educating a patient about their own body and its processes, that patient will have a greater chance of being treated successfully and living a healthier life.

Even without a medical degree, it just makes sense that functional medicine’s holistic approach would be effective more often than by following a traditional medical management model. Chronic diseases have many different causes.

Treating them with blanket solutions isn’t the most precise way to make someone optimally functional again. The human condition is made out of countless variables and no single solution can satisfy all of them or even satisfy each subcategory. The most functional approach to medicine involves figuring out what is not functioning within an individual, not a collection of individuals that might have the same disease by radically different genetic makeups, medical histories, and lifestyles. In short, the question shouldn’t be “does functional medicine work?” It should be “do traditional medical models work well enough?”

Why Functional Medicine Is A Necessity?

Conventional medicine is great for emergency rooms and surgical tables. But it’s seriously lacking perspective on the long-term, overall wellness of the whole person. This is why functional medicine is a necessity.

In American, up to 40% of deaths from the top five leading causes are preventable. This is where the importance of functional medicine’s focus on prevention overreaction really sinks in.

It cannot be stressed enough how flawed conventional medicine is. Because conventional doctors rely on Big Pharma and the FDA for their information, they’ll never have access to the full picture of a patient’s total health.

Our direct primary care physician Dr. AC Jones, MD, follows the functional medicine model and believes in its exceptional benefits. He specializes in family medicine and through his distinguished health & wellness services, he has helped thousands of patients live better and more fulfilling lives. To know more and explore the benefits of functional medicine, get in touch with our distinguished direct care provider Dr. Jones right away.