Functional medicine looks at the underlying cause of a disease. It focuses on the whole patient, taking into account diet, lifestyle and genetics to determine what the root cause is and how best to treat it.
The way functional medicine practitioners look at health is different from how conventional doctors do. When you go see a conventional doctor, they are typically only concerned with what the symptoms are and will likely prescribe medication to suppress them. For example, if you went to your doctor with a symptom of depression, they may give you antidepressants. But in the functional medicine model, your practitioner would dig deeper and find the root cause of the depression. This could be an inflammation, nutrient deficiency, hormone imbalance or something else.
Functional Medicine Unveiled: A Deep Dive into Holistic Healthcare
In a typical functional medicine appointment, you will spend at least an hour with your practitioner, receiving their undivided attention. This is a far cry from the 7 minutes you might get with a traditional medical provider, feeling like you are just a number.
During this first appointment, the practitioner will review your entire medical and family history. They will take into account your stress level, dietary and lifestyle habits, and any outside factors that might be impacting your health. They will also run a few specialty labs to get an overview of the state of your body. Some common labs include a urinalysis, stool sample, blood work, and a genetic test. Once they have a thorough picture of your health, they will create a personalized treatment plan that may include nutritional supplements, botanicals, and lifestyle modification.