Functional Medicine is the emerging paradigm in healthcare for the 21st century, which changes the focus of care from the disease itself to the individual as a whole. The need for this type of care is on the rise, as chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders become more and more commonplace.
Generally, most physicians are trained in acute care, which treats immediate problems. There is a place for this type of care, but it often is unable to resolve the underlying problem (often the result of a complex combination of genetics, environment and lifestyle). Without considering these factors, many people may receive temporary relief, but go on for years without ever resolving the issue.
Functional Medicine stands apart because it requires an understanding of each individual. It also goes beyond to promote healthy living and a vital lifestyle as insurance against disease now, and in the future. It should not be assumed, however, that Functional Medicine is opposed in any way to traditional Western Medicine.
Instead, it is an integrative approach which combines the best of all medicines, including diet, nutrition and exercise, modern lab testing and technology, combinations of pharmaceuticals and botanical medicine, vitamin and herbal supplements, and other therapies of all modalities. In short, Functional Medicine combines the best of both worlds to provide patients with not only recovery from illness, but a long and healthy life.