Functional Medicine refers to an approach of medicine that allows for more personalized care. It seeks to find the underlying causes of disease as opposed to just treating the symptoms.
Ask yourself: “If the leaves on your apple tree were all turning brown would you just paint the leaves green?”
Most people would agree that would be absurd and not an effective solution. You would probably hire an expert to find out what is causing the leaves to turn brown and make the appropriate changes to the soil or watering schedule, etc. to help your apple tree thrive again.
Functional medicine approaches the body like this—to find the root cause and not just suppress the symptoms.
Each person is biochemically different from one another. Each person responds to medications or herbs or homeopathy differently. The same treatment is not a “cure all” for every person it’s given to. Each person requires a different treatment because we are all uniquely different from anyone else. It is unrealistic to expect the same results from the same treatment when given to many people because we are biochemically different and our metabolic and nutritional needs are different.
Each person is approached as a whole, integrated being and not just a collection of symptoms. Because the body is completely interconnected, a medication or herbal supplement given for one specific area or condition will absolutely affect another area or organ in the body. This can be very beneficial if you’re working with a doctor who understands and appreciates this because your wellness plan can be used to affect multiple areas of the body at once so you can get the most out of your therapies.
Specialty labs are commonly used to help determine the underlying cause such as:
- Food allergy testing
- Stool testing for Digestive function
- Intestinal permeability testing
- Testing for vitamin and mineral status
- Adrenal testing for cortisol levels
- Neurotransmitter testing
The Functional Medicine approach is utilized by Naturopathic Doctors because it allows the doctor to focus on the person and not on the disease or symptoms.