Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Our functional medicine practitioners spend time with our patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
There is a vast array of evidence supporting the functional medicine approach to care:
- The scientific community has made incredible strides in helping practitioners understand how environmental and lifestyle influences, moving continuously through an individual’s genetic heritage, psychosocial experiences, and personal beliefs, can impair basic biological functions. Using that knowledge to find the sources of each patient’s problems is powerful science!
- Scientific support for the functional medicine approach to treatment can be found in a large and rapidly expanding evidence base concerning the therapeutic effects of nutrition (including both dietary choices and the clinical use of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as fish oils); botanicals; exercise (aerobics, strength training, flexibility); stress management; detoxification; acupuncture; manual medicine (massage, manipulation); and mind/body techniques such as meditation, guided imagery, and biofeedback.
- Medical science has recently provided strong evidence that the relationship between patient and clinician has a powerful effect on patient health outcomes. Functional medicine focus on the therapeutic partnership is clearly an important part of how patients heal.
Making effective healthcare choices involves our functional medicine clinicians and patients in a relationship where information and belief, attention and insight, communication and trust all have value. Our functional medicine practitioners have been taught how to craft a personalized, systems-oriented therapeutic plan for each unique patient using evidence and insight, art and science.