Addressing illness at root level with restoration of function and optimal well-being as end goals.
Functional Medicine is a science-based approach to medicine that looks at health and wellness in an in-depth way to answer more questions. By answering these questions, function can be restored more fully. Once we start taking lifestyle factors like diet and nutrition, stress management, sleep, exercise and other habits into account, and actively addressing them, the healthcare practitioner is able to provide patients with more tools to manage their health.
In the treatment of patients, it is very important to view each person as an individual and to consequently personalise the approach and management of their health care journey. Even if two people have the same medical condition, the management thereof may differ vastly because of the differences in genetics, disease ethiology, and lifestyle factors between the two individuals. That is why functional medicine is sometimes referred to as precision medicine. A “one size fits all” approach does not address each individual’s specific root issues, and therefore does not always meet the desired results.
The success of the process is dependent on applying a team-approach, and fostering a trusting relationship between the healthcare provider and the patient. Every patient must play an active role in his or her own health journey, and must strive to become more empowered. They must take charge of their health.
Henry Ford provides some invaluable advice in this regard: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. In order to achieve change and a different outcome, a different action is required. This is often easier said than done, which is why it is encouraged to have a support system when embarking on this journey. There are different ways in which the necessary support can be gained. To make lifestyle changes together as a couple, or as a family, is much better that doing it alone.
Health coaching by a healthcare provider can be a valuable tool, especially if significant changes need to be made. Support from others who are in the same boat, has proven to be very helpful. Success rates are also higher when using group sessions where group support can consequently be obtained.
To get to the roots of a tree, you need to do some digging. The same holds for getting to the roots of a medical problem. The ‘digging’ process includes a very thorough history taking. This goes far beyond the presenting problem, because the roots of the issue could have developed many years prior.
All signs and symptoms are taken into consideration. Thorough symptom- and lifestyle questionnaires are utilized in order for the physician to get a better idea of what all the issues are.
Special testing, referred to as functional diagnostic testing is often necessary. This can include blood-, urine- or saliva tests.
One needs to look at health and wellness in a holistic way, and to consider the condition of one’s body, mind and soul, in order to obtain successful outcomes. These three aspects of our beings are in synergy, and it has to be addressed as such. By addressing all three of these aspects, the body’s own innate healing mechanisms are often activated, and the results can be profound and long-lasting.