If you are into healthy living, you have probably searched your way around the internet for different ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. During your research you might have stumbled upon acupuncture, nutritional supplements, yoga and many other alternative ways to nurture your mind and body. Have you encountered the term “functional medicine?” This is something we at Women in Wellness are very knowledgeable about and will be happy to explain in details.
What is functional medicine?
In layman’s terms, functional medicine means addressing the entire body rather than treating individual symptoms. Instead of being focused on the disease or ailment like the traditional Western medicine, functional medicine focuses on you as a person, helping you find and treat the underlying causes of your symptoms. Here are the basic principles on which the functional medicine approach is based:
- Each person is unique in the way their individual genetics, lifestyle and environment contribute to their state of health.
- The patient as a whole is more important than the disease the patient has.
- Eliminating the cause is more important and beneficial than eliminating the symptoms.
- A human body is comprised of organs, networks and systems that work together rather than independently and are all connected with each other on physical and spiritual levels.
- Lack of symptoms or disease does not equal health; full health enables one to enjoy and live life to the fullest.
For example, you could keep taking pills to make your persistent headaches to go away. Or you could work with your functional medicine practitioner to uncover that your bad sleeping habits, stress, poor diet or combination of the three could be causing your headaches. And once the causes are treated and the headaches are gone, you may work on improving you overall energy and vitality to be able to feel great every day, and not just OK.
What Can Functional Medicine Treat?
Functional medicine can successfully address a variety of health conditions traditionally managed by medications. It could help you reduce or completely eliminate medications taken for:
- ADD and ADHD
- Asthma and allergies
- Anxiety and Depression
- Arthritis and fibromyalgia
- Headaches and insomnia
- Metabolic syndrome
- And many other conditions
How is a functional medicine practitioner different?
As you can see from the above example, it takes a good deal of communication between you and your practitioner to diagnose and treat your health problems. A functional medicine practitioner looks at more than your lab results—he or she dives deep to understand how your lifestyle, environment and genetics may be related to the symptoms you are experiencing. This personalized approach helps address not only your current health concerns, but also your long-term health. It also makes you an active part of the treatment, helping you understand how your everyday life choices positively or negatively affect your health.
Who would benefit from functional medicine?
Actually, most people could benefit from functional medicine regardless of their current state of health. Even if you don’t feel sick or think you are in an excellent health, functional medicine can help you identify the dangerous patterns that may lead to chronic diseases later in life. Chronic conditions don’t develop overnight—they are typically a result of many years of undetected and untreated imbalances, whether they are nutritional, physical or emotional. Functional medicine can help you identify these imbalances while they are still reversible or can at least be slowed down. This means better health, less discomfort, lower healthcare costs and fewer doctor visits later in life!
Is functional medicine right for you?
If you are the type of person who enjoys building a relationship with your doctor, you will enjoy working with a functional medicine practitioner. This is a great chance not only to improve your health, but also to educate yourself on making better choices and decisions in the future. If you need guidance or support during your healing process, functional medicine practitioner will be there for you to motivate, encourage and answer your questions.
Want to learn more about functional medicine? Feel free to ask questions in the comments or contact us directly!