The Functional Medicine Approach
(Here’s the heavy bit from the Institute for Functional Medicine – trust me – stick it out to the end of the page)
Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.
As the graphic illustrates, a diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause. For example, depression can be caused by many different factors, including inflammation. Likewise, a cause such as inflammation may lead to a number of different diagnoses, including depression. The precise manifestation of each cause depends on the individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and only treatments that address the right cause will have lasting benefit beyond symptom suppression.
Hopefully this simplifies things…
1) Functional Medicine views us all as being different; genetically and biochemically unique. This personalized health care treats the individual, not the disease. It supports the normal healing mechanisms of the body, naturally, rather than attacking disease directly.
2) Functional Medicine is deeply science based. The latest research shows us that what happens within us is connected in a complicated network or web of relationships. Understanding those relationships allows us to see deep into the functioning of the body.
3) Your body is intelligent and has the capacity for self-regulation, which expresses itself through a dynamic balance of all your body systems.
4) Your body has the ability to heal and prevent nearly all the diseases of aging.
5) Health is not just the absence of disease, but a state of immense vitality.
What Does That Have to Do With Nutritional Therapy?
I have taken training with the Institute for Functional Medicine – an intensive 5 day course into it’s principles and approaches. I apply these principles by looking at a person as a whole: not just what’s going on right now, but what happened 20 or 30 years ago which may be impacting health even today. By looking at a person’s health picture in this way you can get a good perspective on why something is going wrong and what to prioritise. It’s not always a good idea to try to “fix” everything that is going wrong all at once because you can really upset the balance of things.