The short answer is, Functional Medicine is the future of medicine, if we are to get well and stay well as a society. It’s the direction in which regular medicine should have gone. It should be used as the primary method of treatment, especially in cases that are not acute, infectious, catastrophic, life-threatening, or other emergencies.
The long answer is, the definition of Functional Medicine largely depends on who you talk to.
- The Institute of Functional Medicine, arguably the leader and Gold Standard of the field, describes a science-based, patient-centered form of healthcare that recognizes biochemical individuality and favors active prevention.
- A talented colleague of mine defines Functional Medicine as a complete lifestyle-modification program that evaluates physiology using extensive diagnostic lab testing and then corrects any imbalances found by applying specific, individually unique combinations of neuro-metabolic therapies.
- Another talented colleague of mine mentions looking at everything (hormone balance, nutrient metabolism, immune system, and a plethora of other categories) all at the same time, leaving no stone unturned
Functional Medicine really is “all that” – in terms of the explanations given above, as well as being Just That Cool.
When I explain it, Functional Medicine can take on a few different personas that all relate back to the same Big Idea. Various descriptions are as follows…
- A highly-advanced version of Clinical Nutrition, taken to another level as practiced by a doctor, that bases its herbal and nutritional plans on comprehensive lab testing
- A third type of healthcare that is separate from both conventional and alternative medicine branches we’re already familiar with, that utilizes the best of both worlds
- An emerging medical subspecialty that combines conventional testing and natural therapies
- A logical, scientific alternative for those looking for natural or holistic healthcare, perfect for those who don’t know where to turn or who to trust.
- A scientific-yet-holistic of looking at the functions of the body and how they are inter-connected, identifying dysfunctions in key areas using lab tests, and then correcting them with a comprehensive lifestyle modification plan.
That last one is my favorite (couldn’t you tell?)
Functional Medicine really shines with chronic, complex disorders, especially the degenerative and/or mysterious. I can say it is definitely worth the effort, commitment, and investment! Most Functional Medicine practitioners know firsthand; many of the best doctors got involved with the field because of their incredible experiences.
We’re a product of the choices we have made every day. Every day we have another chance to stay on our current path or choose something different. What are you waiting for? 🙂