What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is evolutionary in the practice of medicine and it better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.
Functional Medicine asks how and why illness occurs and restores health by assessing the root causes of disease for each individual.
Take the Institute for Functional Medicine test on how well you are caring for yourself before you read on- you may be surprised by the questions and results?
Click on the Link to Download the Functional Medicine Test: Self Care Questionnaire
Functional Medicine is redefining disease; it is a patient centred approach that lets the patient address the underlying cause of disease and promote optimal wellness. It addresses the root cause not the symptoms and the practitioners become used to identifying the origins of disease; often finding one condition has many different causes and likewise one cause may result in many different conditions.
Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with people listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and chronic disease. In this way, Functional Medicine supports health and vitality for each individual.
Society is experiencing an increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The system of medicine practiced by most doctors is about acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of injury or illness that is of short duration such as appendicitis or a broken leg.
This approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating chronic disease.
Most doctors are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of chronic disease and to apply solutions such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
Disease is a process that happens over time. Pre-disease occurs- this is the change from wellness to disease with a gradual increase in poorly functioning bodily systems. Symptoms build up and often by the time the patient presents to us the visible signs of illness are the tip of the iceberg with a whole host of problems invisible below the water.
The aim is to look at an individual’s biological systems find the dysfunction and to correct it through nutrients, herbs and lifestyle changes.
Sidney Baker the founding father of Functional Medicine said; “Naming the disease and blaming the symptoms on the disease does not lead to an understanding of what caused the problem in the first place.”
Depression is not a Prozac deficiency, stomach acidity is not a lack of Omeprazole, and high cholesterol is not due to insufficient statins. Our damaged bodies are not being healed by these drugs, they are just pouring oil over troubled water.
The future of medicine needs a new model, one that’s founded in personalised, care and the latest knowledge in nutrients, diet, herbal medicine mind-body-spirit practitioners and physicians who approach disease from a systems biology perspective.
Diseases are complex and cannot be neatly labelled and put into a box, they have multiple causes and the art and science of being a functional medicine practitioner is to restore balance and function as much as possible..
“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” Albert Szent-Gyorgi MD, PhD Nobel Laureate, 1937
The Assessment Process
In the Functional Medicine model the patient’s full story is of central importance. Instead of preoccupation with how to name a disease the critical questions become:
Where does the symptom come from? What has caused or triggered it? What keeps it going? And what can be done to change that dis-eased state? Where intervention and treatment can be most effective?
A timeline of the patients’ life is created beginning at prenatal time through birth and childhood to present day. It is surprising how often when creating this there is a revelation of a “never been well since moment”.
This is then integrated with the patient’s clinical imbalances, assessing the systems of digestion and absorption, defence and repair, elimination, structure, transport, communication and energy regulation. Mental, emotional and spiritual well- being is also put into the Functional Medicine framework. An individual personal plan is created and presented to the patient with personalised treatments and lifestyle modifications which may include advice on diet, nutrients, herbs and exercise.
The right treatments that address the cause of illness or dis-ease will have lasting benefit way beyond symptom suppression.
Melanie is a Member of The Institute for Functional Medicine, Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, British Chiropractic Association and British Medical Acupuncture Society. Being very experienced and having such a varied background with a wide range of treatment options she is ideally placed to take a holistic approach and identify the root cause of your problem and devise a treatment a treatment plan to match your needs and lifestyle.
If you are interested in this approach please give us a call and Melanie will be happy to discuss your options before making an appointment. Ring her on 01245 382838
The Functional Medicine Tree – click on the image
Cliffs Chiropractic Chelmsford
Serving the people of Essex and Chelmsford and its surrounding areas including Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Maldon and Braintree.