How Can Functional Medicine Help Me Get Better?
If you are one of over 50 million Americans suffering from chronic disease, Functional Medicine has much to offer you. While it is a generalized, holistic approach to wellness, even specialists such as allergists, dermatologists, ENTs, gynecologists, urologists, orthopedists, opthamologists, accident and trauma surgeons, internists, sports medicine, dentists, and even veterinarians have started using it in their practices because of its proven effectiveness.
Functional Medicine offers a new paradigm in healthcare, based on the belief that diseases don't exist. What we know as diseases are really an expression of a breakdown in our interconnected biological systems. Functional Medicine looks at the big picture, focusing on the individual instead of the ailment and symptoms. Practitioners build a partnership with their patients, empowering them to take control of their own health and make sustainable, positive lifestyle changes. You deserve more than temporary relief. Functional Medicine offers long-term recovery, so that you can go on to live a healthy life.
How does Functional Medicine Work?
Generally, most physicians are trained in acute care, which treats immediate problems. There is a place for this type of care, and Dr. Shair never hesitates to recommend medical intervention when that may be indicated. However, standard medical treatment may be unable to resolve the underlying problem (often the result of a complex combination of genetics, environment and lifestyle). Without considering these functional factors, many people may receive temporary relief, but go on for years without ever resolving the issue. When someone is sick, the first thing they do is go to a doctor. If their practitioner is trained in Western medicine, chances are high that his or her focus will be on the patient's condition and how best to alleviate it (usually with a prescription). In cases when the problem is acute, such as an infectious disease, the focus on the condition itself is often beneficial. But in cases of chronic illness, that may not always be the best approach. People dealing with chronic ailments like hyper reactivity, rashes, neurodermatitis, asthma, migraines, pain and neurologic disorders, internal organ disorders, chronic inflammations, rheumatic illnesses, injuries, fields of interference due to scarring, dental and orthodontic problems and chronic fatigue are, at best, able to maintain a status quo, and at worst, left to live with ongoing pain and discomfort. In very few cases do they see their disease completely eradicated by standard medicine.
The reason for this is a matter of perspective. The focus of western medicine is almost entirely on symptoms instead of the underlying causes - the "what" of the disease, versus the "why" - which lead to illness in the first place. This explains why there are so many prescriptions...and so few real answers. Practitioners of Functional Medicine are "Generalists" rather than "Specialists", focusing on the entire person instead of one specific problem. They do not do what a physician usually does: provide a prescription for a pharmaceutical drug that changes the normal function of the body to temporarily suppress the symptoms of a disease.
First and foremost, they look at your body's basic systems to find the imbalances that lead to illness. Based on your biochemistry, genetics, health history and lifestyle, they focus on equalizing your system using complex homeopathy (a personalized mixture of remedies) in conjunction with healthy eating and western medicine. Much like Traditional Chinese Medicine, functional medicine therapy is a completely different paradigm from standard medical practice in the West. Holistic and person-centered, Functional Medicine takes into account the individual's history, genetics, lifestyle, as well as other causes of disease, such as toxins, allergens, nutrition, infections and stress, which can lead to imbalance in the biological network - the real cause of illness. Functional Medicine is not allopathic medical treatment as provided by medical doctors.
The goal of Functional Medicine is not to identify the illness, but to determine the appropriate therapeutic approach (typically used along with other therapies) that will enable the body to stabilize, and ultimately, to heal itself. In short, Functional Medicine combines the best of both worlds to provide patients with not only recovery from illness, but a long and healthy future.
Learn More About Functional Medicine
Institute for Functional Medicine
Annual American Functional Medicine Association Conference
Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine
Dr. Kara Fitzgerald’s blog
Dr. Mark Hyman’s blog