While traditional medicine manages symptoms and treats acute injuries well, its track record with prevention and management of chronic illness isn’t as impressive. Traditional medicine has has many brilliant successes, but it fails to see humans as composed of many entirely interconnected systems. This perspective limits its ability to consider and correct the root causes of illness, especially when they are outside of the organ system from which symptoms arise. Seemingly disparate conditions such as diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, IBS, and arthritis all share common etiologies that, if discovered and corrected, can lead to significant improvement. Functional Medicine provides a targeted framework for identifying the root causes behind illness, allowing patients to move beyond the pharmaco-centric treatment of symptoms, and into a treatment paradigm aimed at understanding and correcting the roots of illness.
In my practice, I first seek to appreciate a client’s story, what motivates them, what their goals are, what they are passionate about, and what they hope to achieve in the future. I believe that good medicine begins with such a narrative, upon which is built an an understanding of current imbalances and symptoms of unease.
Functional medicine differs in approach from traditional medicine by asking “why” instead of “what,” and seeking to understand the roots of disease rather searching for a diagnosis. Treatment of illness within a Functional Medicine model is similarly aimed at correcting the underlying causes such as micronutrient insufficiency, gastrointestinal dybiosis, leaky gut, hormonal imbalance, toxic burden, genetic/environmental mismatch and underlying life stress. When these underlying issues are addressed, long term improvements in quality of life and longevity are possible.