How healing is achievable through Functional Medicine.

Feb 20, 2022
tree with roots visible in soil

Navigating the path to optimal health and healing can sometimes be overwhelming. What also can be overwhelming is determining which type of medical approach to health and wellness best suits your needs. Is it conventional medicine? How about alternative medicine such as Functional Medicine? 

In this blog, we will go over what Functional Medicine entails as a patient-centered care model, compare Functional Medicine vs Conventional Medicine to help you determine which one is right for you, and review how healing is achievable using Functional Medicine principles. So let’s get started!


What is Functional Medicine?


The human body is an extraordinary network made up of a complex web of interacting systems. No two are exactly alike. As such, when something goes wrong with this network, the path to wellness cannot be achieved with “one-size-fits-all” solutions. That’s where Functional Medicine comes in!

Functional medicine is a type of patient-centered care model. It treats the patient as a whole, recognizing that all parts of the body are interconnected and influenced by factors such as genetic inheritance, individual habits, environment, nutrition, and lifestyle.  While genes play a role in one’s health profile, they are, by no means, a pre-determinant. By learning to identify and manage certain genetic conditions utilizing the factors above, one can successfully navigate the road to wellness. 

Utilizing evidence-based scientific knowledge regarding how the above-listed factors interact, a functional medicine approach can help determine the root cause of a symptom or illness. Once this is determined, appropriate changes can be made in order to reverse or improve that condition. While this can sometimes be a long process, functional medicine also employs symptom suppression techniques to provide interim relief and optimize patient function.

Hippocrates, the founding Father of Medicine, captured the spirit of the functional medicine approach when he said, ”it is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.”

Transitioning the focus from the disease to the person, one will find that illnesses often have many different causes and, likewise, one cause can result in many different illnesses. That is why a treatment that makes one person feel better, does not always elicit the same response in another person with the same illness.

Understanding and addressing the root cause of a health condition, rather than on the management of symptoms, is fundamental to restoring true health and vitality. 


What is Conventional Medicine?


Conventional Medicine, also known as allopathic medicine, is a disease-centered model of care. Where Functional Medicine seeks to understand the patient as a whole and how their genetics, lifestyle, environment can play a role as the root cause of an illness or symptom, Conventional Medicine seeks to determine what disease a person has based on the symptoms they are presenting with, and then suppress and alleviate them. 

In Conventional Medicine, you will find there are different specialists for different body parts such as a cardiologist for the heart, orthopedic for bones, dermatologist for the skin, etc. The body is then seen as a compartmentalization of body systems where each specialist focuses primarily only on that body part. When we compartmentalize the body, we lose sight of the body as ONE whole unit…. a complex network made up of multiple interacting systems that all influence each other. This is a key foundational component in Functional Medicine.

For example, a skin issue such as eczema will be seen in Conventional Medicine as possibly warranting a dermatology visit to focus on the symptoms and subside the rash. However in Functional Medicine, when we address the person in a holistic manner, we understand that the health of your skin can very much be connected to the health of your gut and thus healing your gut (which would be considered the root cause) will heal your skin. 

Is Conventional Medicine valuable? Absolutely! Consider acute care events such as when one is suffering from a stroke or a heart attack, or if one has suffered an accident and requires surgery, Conventional Medicine is a blessing and can be very much life saving in these situations!


You now know the key difference between Functional Medicine vs Conventional Medicine:

  • Functional Medicine is a patient-centered care model seeking to understand the person.
  • Conventional Medicine is a disease-centered care model seeking to understand the disease the person has.
  • Both are extremely valuable in different scenarios and of course depending upon which resonates more with you and your needs. 


Can you achieve optimal health and wellness through Functional Medicine principles?   


Let’s use the example of a tree with some rotting leaves. Would you treat the tree by removing or maybe just spraying the leaves that are rotting and hope that the rest of the tree does well? Or would you be more inclined to look at the amount of water the tree is getting? How about the air surrounding the tree, the soil in which the tree is anchored? Taking into consideration the entire tree as well as the environment it is surrounded by, versus just the leaves themselves as a separate entity, you will likely have a better outcome. An opportunity to make a greater impact on its health allowing it to thrive for many more years to come! 

Just like the tree, you too can make a great impact on your health and thrive for many more years to come! Having a clear understanding on how all the components that make you unique interact with each other, and how they can be at the root of your health issues is key in determining which changes need to be made in order to yield the results you seek. 

If you yearn for a deeper understanding of what could be at the root of the symptoms/chronic illness you are experiencing; or how your choices, lifestyle, and environment play a role in your current health; or if you simply prefer a more natural and holistic approach to optimal health and healing, contact us for more information on how to work with us as a private client or within a group program.


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