Conventional medicine is the medical system in which doctors and other healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases with drugs, radiation or surgery.
In most cases, this model of care is effective for treating emergency conditions but not for chronic diseases that develop over time and may not have specific symptoms.
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What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is an emerging medical model based on discovering how our genes and environment influence disease. It is a paradigm shift in how doctors think about health and illness.
Conventional medicine focuses on treating symptoms of diseases, while functional medicine aims to heal the root cause of these conditions.
A functional medicine doctor uses specialized training and techniques to determine the root causes of complex illnesses like depression, asthma, or autoimmune disorders.
They use various tools to map out the root processes underlying the disease and work with patients to find individualized treatment plans.
The practice of functional medicine has increased, with many different types of health practitioners from various centers like Dr. Harrison’s Center of Functional Medicine, including medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and naturopaths specializing in it. It is a growing field gaining popularity with the public and is expected to grow.
What Is the Functional Medicine Paradigm?
Functional medicine (FM) is an evidence-based systems biology approach to health and disease. It is a model based on a helpful medicine matrix and the understanding that a person’s health is an interconnected system of interactions between antecedents, triggers and mediators.
The functional medicine paradigm is a new medical approach that has gotten much attention lately, especially among patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and obesity. It focuses on finding the root causes of illness instead of just treating symptoms.
It combines the finest aspects of complementary and alternative therapies, including lifestyle, herbal, and naturopathic medicine, with the best parts of mainstream Western medicine. Its goal is to prevent disease and improve wellness through diet, nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle changes.
What Is the Functional Medicine Model?
The discipline of functional medicine considers each person’s genetic makeup and the environmental and behavioral factors that affect their health. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, it takes a personalized, whole-body approach to treatment that incorporates nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management and relationships to create a holistic plan for each patient.
A functional medicine practitioner uses an extensive, comprehensive patient history to gather information and organize it for an in-depth dialogue with the patient. The record is then mapped onto the functional medicine matrix, a web decoder that classifies and prioritizes the patient’s symptoms, signs, and ATMs (antecedents, triggers, mediators) into a unified story.
A recent study comparing patients seen in a functional medicine center to those matched at a family health center found that they significantly improved their short-term PROMIS global health measures more than those receiving care from a primary care facility. Functional medicine may be an effective and safe treatment for improving global health.
What Is the Functional Medicine Approach?
With the help of functional medicine, people and medical professionals may collaborate to treat the root causes of the disease. It necessitates a thorough comprehension of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle characteristics and uses that information to guide tailored therapy regimens.
In a systems biology-based approach, functional medicine treats the root cause of illness to restore health and prevent disease. For example, a depression diagnosis may result from many reasons, such as inflammation or an unbalanced diet.
In contrast, conventional doctors often focus on suppressing symptoms with drugs and don’t spend much time identifying the underlying causes of the disease.
Functional medicine expands the physician’s toolbox, offering various treatment approaches, including botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs and stress management techniques. It also provides a deeper, more intimate relationship between the patient and the doctor. It can make it a more rewarding and meaningful experience for both.