Functional Medicine: The body Detective
By engaging both the patient and the practitioner in a therapeutic partnership, functional medicine can better address the underlying causes of disease with a more natural, and less invasive approach.
In the traditional sense of medicine, a medical doctor would use their training and knowledge to ask “What drug matches this disease?” before applying the treatment. While this can work well for acute diseases, trauma, infection and emergencies, it can also fail miserably in the care of the more debilitating and prevalent chronic diseases.
Functional medicine is completely different to ‘conventional medicine’.
So what exactly is Functional Medicine?
We are all genetically and biochemically unique, and functional medicine recognises this. It supports the natural healing abilities of the body rather than attacking a disease directly. Functional medicine treats the person rather than the disease, and asks the question “Why do you have this problem in the first place, and what can we do to restore your body?”
Contrary to popular thought processes, functional medicine is, in fact, science-based and understands the body’s complicated relationship networks, and how they are connected to the way our bodies function. Finding the root cause or mechanisms involved in any loss of function most often reveals why a set of symptoms present in the first place.
Factors that can come into play when treating the person and not the disease, are discoveries that something like heartburn may, in fact, be caused by a bacteria, rather than acid reflux. Many symptoms can present as one thing, but at the root of it, can actually be caused by something else, such as toxic chemicals, parasites, tumours, or even emotional issues like extreme anger.
Functional medicine understands that our bodies are intelligent and have a natural capacity for self-regulation and healing. It thus aims to help restore the balance in the body’s primary physiological processes by adding what is lacking and removing anything that is causing an impediment.
The Treatment Process
Functional medicine practitioners use a combination of natural substances – homeopathy, supplements, herbs, and nutraceuticals. They also address nutritional and lifestyle changes, spiritual and emotional counselling. There will be some inquiry as to the use of any pharmaceuticals. Functional medicine serves to, wherever possible, restore body function, rather than masking problems with medication, so openly revealing your history to your practitioner is vital.
“If you listen carefully to the patient, they will tell you the diagnosis.” – Sir William Osler – Physician-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and functional medicine pioneer.
Once diagnosed, by educating patients about their condition, the practitioner empowers the person to take charge of their own health, which leads to a greater success in treatment. The goal is to move in a positive direction where the person no longer depends on medication and their physiological balance is restored.
After all, health is not only the absence of disease, but it is the state of harmonious vitality.
Dr. Alain Sanua is a qualified doctor with additional qualifications in Homeopathy and is passionate about Functional Medicine. Talk to him about restoring your body to a state of optimum health.