The ‘Institute of Functional Medicine’ puts it perfectly – “Functional Medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach. Addressing the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.”
As a Functional Medicine Practitioner, the principles of FM are an integral part of my approach and I fundamentally regard it as adding to my own philosophy of achieving optimal function when working with my clients. These are the two most powerful aspects:
1 – Understanding Functional Health – You are a system of systems and getting a basic understanding as to how these are all linked is a powerful step towards empowering your own health:
- Digestive System
- Detoxification System
- Hormonal/Endocrine System
- Immune System
- Nervous System
- Musculo-Fascial-Skeletal System
2 – Functional Laboratory Tests – That use advanced technology and go way beyond conventional profiles:
- Digestive Health Stool Test (detailed breakdown)
- Adrenal Function and Stress Hormones Test
- Comprehensive Thyroid Profile Test
- Nutrient Status
- Cellular Energy Production
- Detoxification Pathways Capacity
- Inflammation Markers
- …and much more.
As with every profession and methodology – you won’t actually find any two functional medicine practitioners the same. I know some who run many diagnostics and then recommend many supplements to fix the dysfunctions. I know others who run minimal testing and work on the basics of nutrition and lifestyle to get results.
Each to their own and in my opinion, as all these approaches have value. What it emphasises is that once again it not about what methodology you are using but how you are interpreting and applying it to the individual.
Remember – keep the focus on the individual – You – not the method, test report, or practitioner.
The strange thing is that for all the focus on being ‘functional’ and ‘holistic’, there are actually many practitioners using the FM method as an allopathic approach! This is the conventional approach that treats symptoms as opposed to builds health and function. In fact, consider how many practitioners are using ‘natural’ steps (nutrition, supplements etc) in an allopathic way. Whilst I am not a Doctor and therefore will not use an allopathic approach, I certainly don’t criticise it. It’s use in acute care is awe-inspiring. The key is to understand what it is for and how it applies to a given situation and whether or not to apply it.
Here’s where Informed Choice comes in. This is probably the single most effective aspect in empowering and inspiring any one person to regain their health, that I’ve experienced.
In my practice, I have may clients working with their medical practitioner as part of their ongoing integrative health care.
So – I won’t use Functional Medicine with a cookie-cutter approach. Let’s ensure we squeeze the real potential out of this emerging and fantastic combination of philosophy and technology. This way it will allow great insight through diagnostics about what is going on in the body and provide valuable understanding and education as to what action we can take.