A while back we discovered functional medicine, after we investigated it and saw the results that chronic health sufferer were getting, we made the decision to integrated it into our practice as we wanted to provide those same results to our clients. So you may ask what is Functional Medicine and how is it different from traditional medicine?
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine focuses on the prevention and treatment of chronic disease by finding the cause of the imbalance or symptom the person is experiencing. From our experience we found that most traditional medical practitioner treat the symptoms but ignore the root or underlying problem. Which is one of the main reason why people with chronic issues feel better for a while but the problem keeps coming back.
Functional Medicine is a combination of holistic approach to medicine; with a whole-person view and molecular medicine. In functional medicine practitioners use testing tools that are available in molecular medicine to evaluate the biochemistry of cells, tissues, organs and how they are all interconnected. Since everything in your body is interconnected, especially in chronic disease, there is usually more than one thing out of balance that causes the problem. This compounding issue is not easily identified, which is why you need to look at the whole picture, work through the issues presented and you need to understand the inter-dependencies of the problem eg you might be anaemic but you are taking iron supplements with little effect, in functional medicine we investigate the inhibitor which is preventing the absorption.
How does functional medicine help?
Functional medicine provides a framework of understanding the patterns of how the body works and how imbalances can causes dis-ease and lead to chronic problems. It’s a patient-centred approach that focuses on the causes of chronic disease that are rooted in lifestyle choices, environmental exposures and genetic influences.
From our point of view chronic disease is a food, lifestyle-driven, environment and a genetics-influenced phenomena that has led to an explosion of people suffering one type of issue or another. According to the Cleveland Clinic it is estimated that by 2020 more than 50 million people globally will die from chronic disease vs. 20 million from infectious diseases. According to the Australian Minister for Health Sussan Ley in August 2015 she announced new stats “revealed that 50% of Australians are battling chronic disease”. These are shocking statistics given that the majority of these problems are preventable.
Our Chronic Health program collects a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s habits of daily living, prior illnesses and traumas, environmental exposures and genetic influences. Some of the information is collected via questionnaires and for some we would recommend laboratory testing such as stool analysis. These tests help determine which key biological processes are functioning properly and which are not essential information for the development of a customised, comprehensive treatment plan to restore health.
Treatments may include natural medicines, nutritional supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs and counselling on lifestyle, exercise, or stress-management techniques. In some cases we may need to work on releasing emotional blocks depending on your history. As a practitioner of functional medicine we understand that two people with the same diagnosed condition often have completely different underlying causes. Depending on the complexity of the case we may need to break the treatment into a series of recovery phases to help clear underlying problems so we can get to the root cause.
Just remember that tools used in a functional medicine practice are drawn from both conventional and integrative medicine and the treatment programs are based on clinical scientific research. Below we have a couple of videos from leading experts that explain Functional Medicine a further.
If you are interested in finding out how can Functional medicine help you please fee free to contact us
Dr Oz What is Functional Medicine (2 mins)
Mark Hyman on Functional Medicine (2 mins)