How does functional medicine work?
Functional medicine is a personalized model with a science-based approach that motivates the patients and the therapists to work together, and promotes optimal solutions.
Functional Medicine is a biology-based method that centers on finding a disease’s core problem by treating the body as an interconnected system. Functional Medicine aims to treat patients by looking at their lifestyles, such as everyday habits, genetic factors, diet, and environmental changes. Functional medicine practitioners often try first to determine why the body is not performing correctly. They do this by using the patient’s unique history as a guide, lab testing, and a deep dive into a person’s habits.
In the US, 86% of total healthcare cost is due to treating chronic illnesses. Healthcare spending reached nearly 3.2 trillion in 2015, surpassing the combined expenses for homeland security, national defense, welfare, and education. Annual healthcare costs will most likely rise to 4 trillion by 2023. This healthcare model is becoming more unstable and less effective every day.
Functional Medicine strives to lessen this issue by treating chronic illnesses at their core, making treatment more effective and completely eradicating the problem instead of only fixing it short-term. These functional solutions make it so that drugs and prescription medications are no longer the top solutions for chronic illnesses.
What is Functional Medicine?
As previously mentioned, Functional Medicine aims to treat chronic illnesses by targeting the root causes of disease for each person. It is a path to health care that unifies health and illness as part of a system in which all human biological elements associate with the environment, producing patterns and outcomes that change over time. A person’s body will not be the same at the age of 60 than it was at the age of 12.
Functional Medicine helps clinicians recognize and improve dysfunctions in the human body’s physiology and biochemistry as principal means of increasing patient health. Restoring health requires reversing or improving the specific dysfunctions adding to the disease state. Each patient embodies a unique, intricate, and connected set of environmental and lifestyle influences on fundamental functionality that have set the presets for disease spread and health support.
These functional solutions are based on understanding each person’s metabolic processes at the cellular level. Knowing how each person’s genes and environment combine help create their individual biochemical phenotype and design specific interferences to correct particular issues that lead to damaging processes. Examples include inflammation and oxidation, which are at the root of many diseases.
A Functional Medicine treatment plan commonly involves one or more therapies, including various dietary changes, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and lifestyle changes such as improving sleep quality and quantity, increasing physical activity, decreasing stress, quitting smoking, or drinking. Nutrition is essential to the practice of Functional Medicine.
Does Functional Medicine Work?
The consensus seems mixed. Its advocates claim that it centers on the “root causes” of illnesses based on synergies within the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems to generate treatment plans.
The American Academy of Family Physicians revoked course credits for Functional Medicine courses in 2014, identifying some of its treatments as questionable and harmful. In 2018, it partially lifted the ban, but only allowing teaching an overview of the subject and not practice.
However, Functional Medicine physicians recommend their patients take an active role in their health. By teaching a person about their own body and its processes, they will have a higher chance of getting the proper treatment and living a better life.
Treating chronic diseases with black and white solutions is not always the most accurate way to make someone fully healthy. The human condition makes up countless variables, and a single solution may not always solve all of them.
But, does functional medicine work? Check for yourself.