Functional medicine has been around for nearly 30 years. It was invented by chemist Jeffery Bland, who, together with his wife Susan Bland, founded the Institute for Functional Medicine in 1991. Since then, two more centers using this type of therapy opened in the US: the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and George Washington University.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a form of alternative therapy. A local functional medicine doctor Highlands Ranch expert states that their approach is to treat the root causes of diseases, not the symptoms. They claim that each treatment is tailored to the patient, taking into consideration aspects such as:
- The environment
- The immune system
- The endocrine system
- The gastrointestinal system.
Thus, functional medicine attempts to offer a holistic approach to treating patients with chronic diseases, who find conventional treatments ineffective and expensive.
What Is the Approach of Functional Medicine to Treating Patients?
According to practitioners, functional medicine has three core principles:
- Putting the Patient at the Center of Care
Functional medicine specialists start by analyzing the patient’s history and put their health problems into context. In this way, they create a personalized management plan for their chronic disease, which includes:
- Natural and botanical supplements
- Stress management practices.
- Integrating Scientific Discoveries in the Therapy
Functional medicine practitioners state that they are constantly looking out for the latest scientific developments in the field of healthcare and including them in their treatments. Among these, they focus especially on the latest discoveries in the field of genetics and physiology.
- Multi-disciplinary Approach
In functional medicine, practitioners use elements from various specialties, including conventional medicine and various alternative therapies. They state that one of the core principles of functional medicine is keeping an open mind and using any technique and treatment that can help the patient.
Typical Patient Assessment Plan
Here is what a patient may expect during the initial assessment if they choose the functional medicine therapy.
- Evaluation of the Core Functions of the Body
The practitioner starts by looking at the 6 main physiological functions of the human body:
- Digestion and absorption
- Immunity and inflammation
- Energy regulation
- Structural integrity of the muscles and bones.
- Evaluation of the Environment
This aspect of the analysis covers everything from air and water quality to diet and nutrition, physical exercise and the quality of sleep.
- Evaluation of the Mindset
The practitioner will ask the patient to describe their social life, spiritual beliefs, general mental state and how these aspects influence stress and their response to stress.
Who May Benefit from Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine mainly targets patients with chronic diseases. Functional medicine specialists promise to offer primary prevention care, by identifying the stage of the condition the patient is suffering from, its underlying causes and the way the patient’s lifestyle influences their overall state of health.
Thus, patients will receive a personalized treatment plan that covers the body, the mindset, as well as their daily habits and the quality of the environment they live in.