ABOUT FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE
Lauded as the future of health care, the term “Functional Medicine” can seem rather ambiguous. And although this field is becoming more mainstream due to voices like Dr. Oz, Dr. Frank Lipman and Dr. Mark Hyman, Functional Medicine is still generally unfamiliar to the majority. Functional Medicine encompasses something far different than the current model of care that we know as conventional medicine. To fully understand what functional medicine is, we need to contrast it with the methods of conventional medicine.
Traditionally, a medical doctor uses drugs or pharmaceuticals to treat dysfunction or disease. For various conditions including low thyroid, diabetes, high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol, a similar model of care is applied. And, whether treatment be rendered by a GP or a specialist, the same basic tool is employed: medication. In the standard model of care we are trained to diagnose a disease and match that disease with a corresponding drug. This works well for acute diseases, trauma, infection, and emergencies but sadly, it fails miserably in the care of the chronic diseases.
Chronic conditions such as allergic disorders, digestive maladies, hormonal imbalances and metabolic or neurological problems – which most Americans suffer from on a daily basis – are finding solutions in the field of Functional Medicine.
So what exactly is Functional Medicine and how can it assist the 125 million Americans dealing with chronic disease?
Five basic principles that define Functional Medicine:
1) Functional Medicine acknowledges our uniqueness both genetically and biochemically. This personalized health medicine treats the individual and supports the normal healing mechanisms of the body naturally – rather than just attacking the disease process.
2) Functional Medicine is deeply science based upon an extensive body of research. The latest research reveals that it is the interaction of a complicated network or web of relationships in the body which is responsible for what happens physiologically and that the interpretation of these relationships are what allows us an understanding of the why and the how of the body’s functioning.
3) Functional Medicine recognizes the intelligence and capacity for self-regulation of our body and that this is expressed through a dynamic balance of all body systems.
4) Functional Medicine subscribes to the premise that our body has the ability to heal itself and prevent nearly all the diseases of aging.
5) Functional Medicine concedes that health is not just the absence of disease, but a state of immense vitality.
Distinguishing the difference between Conventional and Functional Medicine:
A clear distinction can be made between Conventional and Functional Medicine by looking at the questions each one asks.
Conventional Medicine asks: “What drug matches up with this disease?”
Functional Medicine asks: “Why have these symptoms manifested?”, “Why has function been lost?” and “What can we do to restore health and equilibrium?” In other words, Functional Medicine looks to find the root cause or mechanism involved with any loss of function. Investigating in this way will ultimately reveal symptom causation and subsequent disease.
The Growing Need for Functional Medicine
Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders. Chronic disease is creating an enormous burden on the national economy. Its estimated cost of $1.3 trillion is projected to leap to $4.2 trillion within the next 15 years. This cannot be sustained.
The system of medicine most physicians practice today is oriented toward acute care: the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of a short duration. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom. Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental toxin exposures, unremitting stressors and the many consequences of today’s poor lifestyle – all which contribute to the rise in chronic disease seen in modern Western society.
Leading The Way
The prestigious Cleveland Clinic is a pioneer in Functional Medicine and has taken the lead in providing a solution to chronic disease. In 2014 they opened a Center for Functional Medicine within their world-class healthcare system. They are funding research for multiple chronic healthcare conditions with the goal of creating better outcomes at lower costs.
We at the Functional Medicine Practice at Randali Centre are committed to finding the root cause of conditions, symptoms or disease processes through meticulous evaluation. Our patients recognize that we depart from the traditional practice of medicine which focuses on symptom treatment with use of drugs or surgery. They understand that optimal health is much more than mere absence of symptoms of disease. They realize it is a state of superlative physical and mental health, including social well-being, with a vital inter-connection between all. Spending extra time listening to learn the patient’s particular story is crucial to create a personalized treatment plan. This may include diet and lifestyle modification, nutritional supplementation, health coaching and medications when necessary. This holistic combination can result in alteration of disease course or even prevention of chronic disease and reward the individual with new vitality, joy and longevity. To achieve these comprehensive solutions, we must also implement a fee structure that departs from the traditional practice of medicine. Therefore, we have implemented either a fee-for-service payment plan or a “membership” plan which allows our patients to strategize their medical expenses accordingly.
To make an appointment, please call 717-560-4460 or let us know how we can help.