Functional medicine is an exciting, rapidly growing field of medicine that aims to address the root cause of illness, disease and dysfunction, by looking at the person as a whole, rather than as a "list of symptons" to be dealt with by different specialists who each just treat their own little piece of the patient.
It recognises that we are all genetically unique, and therefore have to some extent, a certain predisposed vulnerability to disease if our diet, environment, stressors and circumstances are enough to trigger disease, or “flip” those genetic switches.
More importantly, it also recognises that in the majority of cases, those switches can be flipped to “off” again, by altering or modifying the unique relationships which contributed to the dysfunction in the first instance. This is achieved by engaging the patient and the practitioner in a therapeutic relationship.
Functional medicine is strongly evidence based and recognises that given the right tools, the body has the ability to heal itself. To understand this process, though, we need to ask the right questions and also recognise that no system functions in a vacuum, but instead, they are all deeply connected and all influence one another.
Whilst emergency and traditional western medicine is system based, focusing on individual diseases and acute care, functional medicine takes into account all the factors and influences in a patient’s life and tries to address this in an evidence based, holistic way in order to address chronic disease.
Functional medicine supports the natural order of things, by addressing issues such as diet, lifestyle and exercise, rather than just attacking the disease with medication. It shifts the traditional disease-centred approach to a more patient-centred approach and places a strong emphasis on disease prevention or reversal.
It recognises that health is not just the absence of disease, but the presence of vitality, mental and physical vibrancy and overall quality of life.
In short, it is personalised medicine for optimal health.