Medical science is a rapidly evolving field of discipline. We have all seen how rapid advancements have been made in the medicinal sciences, biology, and other clinical disciplines. However, the homogeneity accorded by science and the application of the same in the form of human treatment has always been a subject matter of great discussion.
Questions like the following are being raised by practitioners of medicine-
Closer engagement and examination of such questions has given rise to the field of ‘Functional Medicine’. In this article, we are going to discuss and explore the functional medicine approach in greater detail. We are also going to look at some of the major principles of the same.
Let us begin with two scenarios-
‘Megan is a 21-year old young woman who is facing stomach cramps and experiencing a lot of discomfort because of the same. She goes to the doctor and says that her stomach is paining. The doctor gives her some medicines for stomach cramps and sends her on her way.’
‘Megan is a 21-year old young woman who is facing stomach cramps and experiencing a lot of discomfort because of the same. She goes to the doctor and says that her stomach is paining. The doctor asks about whether she has some gynecological issues, what she has eaten, is she allergic to some food items, and a host of other questions to understand the root cause of the problem.’
The first scenario is what a majority of doctors and medical practitioners are still following. While this may return results, it does not take into consideration the inherent peculiarities of the patient and their condition.
The second scenario is what has come to be known as the field and practice of ‘Functional Medicine’. According to experts, functional medicine is a ‘patient-centric’ approach, which encourages the patient to play an active role in their own well-being.
Functional Medicine seeks to create a therapeutic partnership and relationship between the patient and the doctor. A serious medical attempt is made to understand the root cause of the issue, rather than treating just the condition at hand.
In this section, we try to list down four major principles of Functional Medicine. Further explanation of the core principles of functional medicine can be found in this informative blog post.
As most of us know, every human being has a unique DNA, which is not the same as any other person on the planet. Dig deeper and you will find a lot of differences within us in terms of our chemical and biological makeup. In simple words, from the perspective of medicine, this means that a treatment, which has shown results for someone, might not do the same for you with the same level of effectiveness. Functional medicine understands and respects this uniqueness.
Many reputed and credible scientific studies have shown that how our body is a maze of interconnected wires. This is how scientists are trying to understand how the human body works. This will have lasting repercussions in understanding how cancer care, HIV treatment, and other complicated healthcare solutions work in individual cases. Doctors and researchers are actively trying to look for linkages in this regard.
The common and misplaced understanding of health is the absence of disease. However, functional medicine understands health as the presence of vitality and strength. This is a far more progressive and advanced understanding of our body systems. This alters the way we look at medicines, treatments, and diagnoses. A human body should only be called healthy if it is capable of performing at high optimum levels of productivity.
While this principle can be found in several ancient texts, functional medicine tries to prove the same in a scientific fashion. The aim of functional medicine is to weed out the issues and problems inside your body, which are causing discomfort. Ingestion of some foods leads to improper bowel movements. Rather than using a medicine to treat the problem at hand, can you identify the food group and type, which caused the issue to occur?
Functional Medicine is slowly gaining acceptance because of its emphasis on factors of causation. Rather than telling a patient- take this medicine and get yourself sorted; it seeks to understand from the patient, why a problem is happening in the first place.
The investment of the treatment on the patient, makes them act far more responsibly, leading to better diagnosis and treatments.