Why and How?
Functional Medicine at its core is personalized medicine, designed to address today’s healthcare challenges by addressing and correcting the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach. It also promotes prevention of serious chronic manifestation of disease. Many times the altered physiologies within are the leading cause of the signs and symptoms experienced by the patients, contributing to a medically labeled disease/ condition, as illustrated in the graphic below.
As a science-based healthcare model, Functional Medicine recognizes environmental, genetic, lifestyle and physiological factors that play a role in the health of each patient. It is a paradigm shift from the obsolete disease-centered traditional model of healthcare to a patient-centered holistic approach.
With a collection of information regarding to the person’s health history, current concerns, and personal health goals, an individualized treatment proposal is then designed to correct the source of the dysfunction versus a reactive series of solutions that aim to only treat the symptoms.
“Most forms of dis-ease are either caused by a state of deficiency or toxicity. Correcting these imbalances is therefore the first step to regain vital health.” – Dr. Chew Wei Lun
Why is Functional Medicine the healthcare of the future?
Despite the fact that non-genetic, modifiable factors such as diet, inactivity, and environmental exposures accounted for many of the modern chronic, non-communicable diseases, there is a lack of focus on comprehensive patient-centered treatments on these individuals. Many times, practitioners focus on the dysfunctions/diseases more than the individual.
How is Functional Medicine Different?
Some of the hallmarks of a functional medicine practice include:
- Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs. The patient is an active partner with the Functional Medicine practitioner, taking a leading role in improving health and changing their state of health.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient may be considered in some cases, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Functional laboratory tests may be used and recommended. These tests help determine which key biological processes are functioning properly and which are not—essential information to help restoring health.
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