A New Paradigm for Medicine: Functional Medicine
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine looks for the root causes of health problems, using a methodology that engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. Functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms, so it can also be called holistic family medicine. Time is spent listening to patient histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
Why Do We Need Functional Medicine?
- Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
- The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration – urgent care – such as appendicitis or a broken leg and requires drugs or surgery that treat the immediate problem or symptom.
- Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.
- There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of chronic illness. 80% of mankind”s illnesses are chronic conditions that potentially could be reversed if identified early and the best medicine (mainly good food containing the raw materials the body needs) given to allow the body to rebalance and heal itself. (It really is so much smarter than any doctor.)
- Most traditionally trained, mainstream physicians have not been trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
How is Functional Medicine Different?
Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of multifactorial, chronic disease.
Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:
- Patient-centered care (as opposed to disease centered approach – The focus of functional medicine is on the patient as a whole defining health as positive vitality, instead of 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.
- 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 is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Open to the use of the best of all forms of medical practice – Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on preventive health care through nutrition, diet, exercise, and stress reduction. Functional medicine uses many laboratory tests and diagnostic techniques not typically used by mainstream specialists. We prescribe a minimum of “new to nature” synthetic drugs, usually only as short term intervention strategies, preferring to use natural products such as botanicals, herbs, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.
- We have an in house “nutraceutical grocery store” for your convenience of buying supplements you can trust from a doctor you can trust to have vetted the products and their sources.
- Profits from the sale of these products are donated to our non-profit –The Clearing www.clearingretreat.org
Our functional medicine patients come to us from Bellaire, Stafford, West University Place and Houston in Harris County, TX.