If you've ever wondered "What is functional medicine?" and are curious about how it differs from conventional medicine, this article is for you. You may be aware of the current data on the rising incidences of autoimmune disorders, allergic reactions or other chronic health issues. Where conventional medicine sees these issues as the core problem and works to suppress symptoms, functional medicine takes a different approach by looking at the whole person to understand the root cause of the issue that has developed and how to restore health at a deeper level.
Let's take a closer look at the functional medicine model, its many benefits and how it works to support long-term health.
To answer the question "What is functional medicine?" it's helpful to gain a fundamental understanding of how conventional medicine works first.
As the general go-to healthcare model, conventional medicine is based on treating a diagnosed disease or condition based on a collection of symptoms. This type of traditional, mainstream approach to medicine is accompanied by a large one-size-fits-all focus on symptom suppression or reduction by using a set treatment including prescribed medication or surgery.
In comparison, functional medicine looks at the person as a whole instead of the diagnosed disease. It takes a supportive and preventative approach that looks at the possible underlying root causes of any imbalance in the body. This science-based, individualized process evaluates the systems of the body and aims to rebalance it at a foundational level to restore health. It aims to reveal the core of the illness, recognizing there may be more than one issue to address.
In the functional medicine model of healthcare, patients become empowered by understanding how they became unwell. They then learn how to support and prevent further illness by implementing appropriate and beneficial diet and lifestyle changes. Practitioners work together with their patients to create a wellness plan that is as unique as the individual.
Where conventional medicine diagnoses and treats the symptoms of illness, functional medicine digs deep into health and lifestyle factors to understand the bigger picture as it relates to the imbalances that cause illness in the first place. It asks "why" the body has become imbalanced, so practitioners — via thorough intake surveys and comprehensive functional medicine testing — can help create a plan to generate wellness. Once the body is balanced, its innate ability to heal can take over and continue to function as it should.
Functional medicine practitioners utilize several different modalities, interventions and protocols in their practice to lead patients to wellness. In order to identify the root cause of imbalances, they may start by looking at vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as excess toxicities that can be linked back to a number of adverse health effects from difficulty losing weight, low energy and mood, skin issues, digestive upset, poor sleep and more.
A functional medicine detox is scientifically formulated with all the raw materials the liver needs to support optimal detoxification. With herbal blends and specific nutrients that restore any deficiencies and safely and effectively remove accumulated toxicities to help rebalance the body at the deepest level. A detox helps to restore healthy levels of inflammation, reduce toxic water weight, has a positive impact on weight loss and ongoing weight management and supports a healthy digestive system.
Fasting is an important part of a functional medicine detox, making way for autophagy, or cellular clean-up to take place over an extended fasting period. When harmful toxins harbored in body fat are released, they are converted to water-soluble substances in order to be eliminated from the body. Rest and repair are key, so a limited amount of whole foods are consumed on non-fasting days that are anti-inflammatory and easily digestible.
Functional medicine provides not only a deeper understanding of how the body thrives in a balanced environment but the tools for reaching optimal wellness. With this information in hand, you may find a functional medicine approach and a functional medicine detox increasingly beneficial to achieving a healthier and more holistic lifestyle.
Check out this free course to learn more about a true functional medicine detox!