Have you ever gone to a doctor, got your blood tests, X-rays and other diagnostic tests done, only to find out that everything is normal? Yet, both you and the doctor are aware that you have a problem. This scenario has become increasingly common because in the conventional healthcare system, doctors are more focused on the symptoms of the disease rather than trying to find the root cause that led to the disease in the first place. A relatively new way of looking at health issues is functional medicine. It uses a different model and approach for managing and preventing complex, chronic problems.
Rather than just addressing a cluster of symptoms being experienced by the patient, functional medicine involves treating the entire individual as it is medicine by cause, not by symptom.
How does Functional Medicine Work?
When you opt for functional medicine for your treatment, you will find that the doctor will spend some time with you. They will not just discuss the medical symptoms you are experiencing, but also talk to you about your exercise patterns, diet, lifestyle, traumas and any exposure you might have had to toxins. They collaborate with you to find the underlying causes of your illness. This includes looking for factors that may have an impact on how a patient’s body functions, such as:
- Lifestyle choices like exercise and diet
- Genetic makeup
- Environmental influences like exposure to toxins
There could be more than one imbalance that leads to a disease. For instance, obesity could be a result of imbalances of hormones, genetics, gut flora, inflammation, exposure to environmental toxins and diet and exercise. Similarly, even one imbalance like inflammation could lead to a number of conditions. The purpose of functional medicine is to study these complexities in order to restore balance that can eventually restore health.
Benefits of Functional Medicine
Many people who have recently discovered the concept of functional medicinewonder why they should opt for it and forego conventional medicine. There are a number of benefits that this approach has to offer and they are:
- Focus on details
Functional medicine regards each individual as biochemically and genetically unique, which means it will treat every individual rather than just the disease. The aim is to restore the body’s normal healing functions instead of just alleviating the symptoms.
Evidence-based scientific research is used by functional medicine doctors for understanding the different systems of the body. They are able to figure out how they work and find a more lasting solution.
- Different approach
Conventional medicine considers lab results in a range. If a patient’s results are within the range, they are considered ‘normal’, even though this might not be the case. In functional medicine, the lab results are analyzed in a way that the doctors consider the dysfunction and imbalance and whether all systems of the body are functioning optimally. Hence, the labs will be seen in the context of whether you are moving towards optimal health or disease, giving you more specific answers for your health problems.