Traditional Western medicine focuses on treating medical conditions and disease after they occur: putting the symptom before the cause. But a slow shift is occurring, however, as more doctors and healthcare facilities turn to functional medicine.
Functional Medicine posits that we are all genetically and biochemically unique and should be treated as such. Nutrition, exercise, genetics, and environment are believed to play an important role in contributing to disease, and one must first find the underlying cause of a medical problem in order to better prevent, treat, and possibly reverse a disease.
Dr. Frank Lipman, a leading voice in what he refers to as “sustainable wellness” explains functional medicine as being...
...less concerned with making a diagnosis and more concerned with the underlying imbalances, which are the mechanisms of the disease process. [Functional Medicine integrates] “…Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine and scientific research. It combines the philosophy of balance and how to restore function from Chinese Medicine and the knowledge of biochemistry and physiology of Western Medicine with the latest scientific research about how our genetics, environment and lifestyle all interact with each other.”
Although there aren’t many medical facilities focusing solely on functional medicine, a clinic in Cleveland recently opened up a new center in collaboration with The Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr. Patrick Hanaway, IFM's chief medical education director,describes the clinic as a place where patients can go to have medical professionals “think and link” instead of the traditional method of “naming and blaming.”
In an interview in Cleveland.com, Hanaway explains that,
Instead of where the symptom is in the body, we're looking at underlying mechanisms," He goes onto say that. "It's the difference between treating the soil and treating the plant, which is what functional medicine does."
In addition to a practicing physician and nurses the center will also include a health coach and nutritionist. Facilities similar to this one are on the rise. If you are interested in learning more, you can search for a functional Medicine Practitioner in your area by heading over to the webpage of The Institute for Functional Medicine.
IMAGE: via flickr
- The 5 principles of Functional Medicine via MindBodyGreen
- What is Functional Medicine via DrFrankLipman.com
- Institute for Functional Medicine via FunctionalMedicine.org
- Cleveland Clinic to Open Center for Functional Medicine via Cleveland.com
- Find a Functional Medicine Practitioner via The Institute for Functional Medicine.