The Functional Medicine approach is holistic and systemic, rather than being fragmented and narrowly focussed on isolated symptoms. It recognises that the human body-mind always functions as a whole, and that every part works synergistically together in relation to every other part. All aspects of human experience are considered. We know that the expression of our genes is influenced by diet, exercise, stress management, sleep and toxin exposure, and that these factors all interrelate in creating disease. Functional medicine considers the integral connection between the mind and body and the profound effects of psychology and stress on the hormonal, immune and neurological systems of the body. It also recognises the importance of positive relationships, social connection and a sense of meaning and purpose in creating health.
Functional medicine is health-oriented, rather than disease-oriented. Practitioners aim to prevent chronic disease from developing, but once it does, we aim to reverse it completely by finding and treating the root cause of disease. The focus is not on treating or suppressing symptoms, but on addressing the underlying mechanisms that made it possible for the disease to develop in the first place.
Functional medicine is patient-centred. Patients are encouraged to actively participate in their healing process. The role of the functional medicine practitioner is that of a guide or partner in the patient’s health journey. She brings to the healing relationship positivity, encouragement, professional guidance and advice, and above all, a caring and understanding attitude which forms the foundation of the healing relationship.
Functional medicine is furthermore highly personalised. Each patient has their own combination of genes and life factors leading to the expression of symptoms, and therefore requires an individualised treatment plan for the restoration of health. In order to deliver such a high level of individualised care, practitioners spend time really listening to and engaging with patients. Your history and symptoms, together with information gained from a physical examination, laboratory tests and, where indicated, genetic tests are all used to discover the underlying fundamental causes of your illness.