Functional medicine embraces much of the philosophy of Integrative medicine as described above but also employs a systems-oriented medical approach that works to identify and understand the underlying or root causes of a disease. This discipline takes into account the personalization of healthcare, as each patient care plan is distinct and unique. The relationship between patient and practitioner effectively becomes a partnership; every aspect of a patient’s medical history is reviewed in detail. Much like integrative medicine, functional medicine treats the individual rather than the disease.
Often, individual genetic and environmental research is conducted to obtain a deeper knowledge of the patient’s health status. Understanding the biochemical individuality of a patient can lead to the underlying causes of disease and furthermore, the prevention of additional health risks in the future. Functional Medicine has gained much popularity, even spurring the creation of the Institute for Functional Medicine. Personalized medicine is without a doubt, the future model of medical care.
Although integrative medicine and functional medicine have similarities, there is one important distinction. Both practices focus on supporting the patient as a whole person; however, functional medicine strives to determine the root cause of each and every disease, particularly chronic diseases such as autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases as well as, diabetes and obesity. Rather than simply making a diagnosis and then determining which drugs or surgery will best treat the condition, Functional Medicine practitioners dive deep into the patient’s history and biochemistry and ask why this patient is ill. Functional medicine is highly personalized and often includes a detailed analysis of an individual’s genetic makeup.
Healthcare is undergoing drastic changes in the 21st century. In as few as five years we will look back and ask ourselves how we could have been practicing medicine so primitively. Those practitioners who embrace the Functional and Integrative Medicine paradigms will be at the forefront of healthcare in the 21st century. Would you like more information on either integrative medicine or functional medicine? Contact the professionals at Patronus Medical.