Important Principles of Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a type of alternative medicine. Its supporters say it focuses on interactions between the endocrine, environment and the gastrointestinal and immune systems. Others disagree and describe it as pseudoscience and trickery.

What is functional medicine?

Functional medicine is a biology-based method that tries to address and identify the root cause of disease. Each symptom or diagnosis may be one of several identities that could be contributing to an individual's illness.

An analysis of the diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause. Perhaps, a case of depression can be the cause of many different factors, including inflammation within an area of the body. Likewise, a symptom such as inflammation could lead to many different diagnoses, of which depression is one of them.

The exact manifestation of each uncovered reason most often depends on the individual's genes. Environment and lifestyle also play a part. Only treatments, medications and therapies that address the exact cause will have lasting benefits beyond symptom suppression.

Six principals of functional medicine

  1. A strong awareness of the biochemical individuality of every human being. It is based on the ideas and concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness.
  2. A precise awareness approach of received evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered method to treatment.
  3. Search for a vibrant balance between the external body and internal, mind and spirit.
  4. Interconnections of physiological factors.
  5. Recognition of health as an encouraging vitality, not only the absence of disease. Emphasizing those factors that inspire the enhancement of vigorous physiology.
  6. Active endorsement of organ reservation as the means to improve health, not just lifespan.

Combining functional and practical medicine

Functional medicine assists the clinician in prioritizing and organizing every patient's health concerns. This occurs through evaluating their personal, family, social and medical history. One of the main principals acts like a web decoder. It arranges what seems to be disparate issues into a compiled complete story to help the doctor gain a whole perspective of the patient. From here, they can begin a discussion about complex, chronic disease with the patient.

Functional medicine is responsive and respectful to the patient’s needs, values and preferences. This creates assurance that the doctor can create a care plan that will not cause undue stress to the patient. For example, some patient may not want to take certain drugs, so the doctor can work with them to find a solution. Otherwise, the patient will not take part in the treatment.

The therapeutic partnership

Patient-centered care is one of the main principles of what is called the therapeutic partnership. This is the relationship that is created between a patient and physician. It inspires the patient to take ownership of their healing. The power of the therapeutic alliance comes from the belief that patients who are involved in the development of their therapeutic design feel more in control of their well-being and are likely to make sustained lifestyle changes to improve their overall health.

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