Do you feel as well as you would like to feel? Do you suspect that there could be a missing component that will enable you to feel like you again? If these questions strike a chord with you, consider the Functional Medicine approach to maximum vitality.
Functional Medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of dis-ease.
This is in contrast to the prevalent model of pharmaceutical-oriented medicine in which there is a pill for every ill. Would you like to get to the root cause of your feeling unwell instead of just suppressing symptoms?
Functional Medicine better addresses the health care needs of the 21st century. It supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual by shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach; it addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
The root cause of disease is often toxic food, toxic environments — and even toxic emotions. The Functional Medicine model is designed to support your body’s amazing capacity to heal and maximize your wellness. Have you ever had a doctor spend an hour and a half with you, learning about who you are as a person? That’s what you can expect from a first visit with a Functional Medicine practitioner.
Functional Medicine physicians look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions that can lead to illness. They spend a lot of time with their patients, listening to their histories, mapping their personal timeline, and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex chronic disease.
The Institute for Functional Medicine was founded 30 years ago and the practice of this approach to wellness is gaining more and more momentum every year. Functional Medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through:
Many Functional Medicine practitioners do not accept insurance so it can be perceived as health care for the wealthy. In reality, since it addresses the root causes and can reverse chronic disease, it is most cost-effective in the long run. The costs for Functional Medicine may be heavy in the beginning since there is often intense work to be done in rebooting the body’s systems that have been depleted and disrupted over the years. This reboot could be a medically-supervised detox with intense nutrition and attention to Levels I and II detox pathways.
Functional Medicine saves money in the long run, because as systems that were not working well are supported and healed, the body’s other systems fall back into place naturally, and the person is restored to maximum vitality. Picture your body as a complex and magnificently-made system of systems that were designed to work together in harmony; when a system is malfunctioning (e.g., your liver, adrenals, thyroid, etc.), and you repair that system, then the other systems in the body function better together as they were intended. There could be some costs in supplementation for maintenance, or the person can be completely finished with care and ready to live their healthy, happy life.
The beautiful paradox of Functional Medicine is that it broadens the view of the person so that each person can be specifically treated like the unique individual they are. The desired outcome is a healthier you, not just an asymptomatic you.
Learn more about Functional Medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine and from the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine. You can find a Functional Medicine practitioner near you by visiting the IFM’s Patient Resource Center. If you’re a veteran, check with the VA for Functional Medicine pilots going on throughout the system.
Kelly Battaglia is an integrative leadership coach, with a master’s degree in leadership and a certification in functional medicine health coaching, based in Dallas, Texas. www.KellyBattaglia.com
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