Functional Medicine is a patient-centered system of addressing the underlying cause of disease rather than the symptom-centric disease focus of medicine which is generally practiced today. The Functional Medicine doctor believes in treating the whole person and not isolated symptoms. A complete medical history is taken with emphasis on genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.
As more people experience complex chronic illness medicine is evolving to identify the cause of that illness and works towards aiding the body in a more natural healing approach which is specific to that individual and their unique health concerns.
Using a combination of nutrition, diet, exercise, removal of environmental toxins, and treatment as well as prevention of illness, patients are cared for in a long term approach to getting them better and keeping them better.
The Core Principles of Functional Medicine are:
Functional medicine has long been guided by six core principles:
- An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
- Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment;
- Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit;
- Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors;
- Identification of health as a positive vitality not merely the absence of disease emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
- Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.
A patient-centered approach refers to health care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and that ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions. At IFM, patient-centered care is at the center of what we call the therapeutic partnership, the relationship that forms between a patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take ownership of their own healing. The power of the therapeutic partnership comes from the idea that patients who are active participants in the development of their therapeutic plan feel more in control of their own well-being and are more likely to make sustained lifestyle changes to improve their health.
Dr. Bettina Herbert is a Functional Medicine Specialist with the highest certification provided by the Institute for Functional Medicine, IFM Certified Practitioner. Please click here to review her CV.