WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE?
Functional medicine is about getting to the real root of the problem. It is not about focusing on an isolated disease or an individual symptom, it is about focusing on the whole person to address any underlying imbalances. In my opinion this is the future of healthcare. Disease management is never going to be a sustainable healthcare model and nor will it ever result in people leading optimally healthy lives. A functional medicine approach can change this.
HOW IS IT DIFFERENT?
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 (emotional) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning. This results in a highly individualised approach to health and uniquely personalised programmes.
Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is 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 prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
Life enhancing not just life extending: living life optimally and vitally not just the absence of disease.
Preventative not disease management: it is not about just the management of a disease or symptom it is about minimising the chances of these things happening in the first place.
Mind, body and spirit: accepting that our emotional state, belief systems and sense of community has a profound affect on many aspects of health.
HOW DO I USE THESE PRINCIPLES IN MY PRACTICE?
This functional medicine model provides the cornerstone of how I practice. I am focused on unraveling the underlying imbalances that result in health issues rather than using simply dealing with suppressing symptoms. This means that:
- I take a very detailed health history
- Where possible and appropriate I use many types of laboratory tests to identify underlying imbalances - nutritional, neuro-endocrine, digestive, immune, detoxification.
- I often suggest supplements to help address imbalances - typically on a short term basis