Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic diseases. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:
- Patient-centered Care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual's unique needs.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look "upstream" to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient's history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered "alternative" or "integrative" medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribing combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs and stress-management techniques.
I have been studying and utilizing the functional medicine approach for over ten years. I have completed all the necessary training to become certified in functional medicine and am a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). More information is available at www.functionalmedicine.org. I have been board certified by the American Board Integrative Holistic Medicine (www.abihm.org) since 2000.