You might have noticed in the bio that I have a qualification from the Institute of Functional Medicine. Not many people really understand exactly what Functional Medicine is, nor how it is different to conventional medicine. I therefore thought that it would be a good idea to do a sort of ‘Functional Medicine 101’ and hopefully share what it is about this approach that I think will make it the future of all chronic disease healthcare. Indeed, I hope that one day, Functional Medicine will just be called medicine!
“Functional medicine is medicine by cause, not by symptom. Practitioners don’t, in fact, treat disease. We treat your body’s ecosytem. We get rid of the bad stuff, put back the good stuff, and because your body is an intelligent system – it does the rest” Dr Mark Hyman MD
So what is the difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine?
I hope that this comparison has given you a flavour for the Functional Medicine model – in essence it is a truly holistic, root cause approach to healthcare, where the treatment focus is more on why this is happening and less on what is happening or just managing symptoms.
The drawbacks of this approach are sometimes obvious – if you are in a car crash, it is not the time to start considering how your diet might be impacting on your health! Conventional medicine is brilliant at acute care, where standardised treatments save time and therefore lives. The conventional approach is also a very efficient method of delivering high quality care to the entire population on an extremely tight budget. But I would argue that with the increasing burden of lifestyle-related chronic (i.e., long-term) diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease, we cannot afford NOT to tackle their root causes through a more functional medicine based approach.
Interested in finding out more?
There is a wealth of information available on functional medicine, for both patients and healthcare professionals. Take a look at the Institute for Functional Medicine website for a good overview (and professional training opportunities)
How to find a functional medicine practitioner?
If you feel that you would benefit from seeing a functional medicine practitioner, you can search for accredited professionals through the Institute for Functional Medicine ‘Find a practitioner’ tool;