Medicine, healthcare, and the collective approach to health in general is always changing and evolving, constantly progressing as technology and science continue to uncover the mysteries of the human body and mind. Modern medicine might have roots that span deep throughout history, but nowadays it’s quite different than what it used to be just a couple of decades ago. Nowadays, health is about prevention and a holistic approach to treatment – it’s a lifestyle and a mindset. Over the years, functional medicine has begun to challenge the old constructs in order to provide people with a better way to nurture their health and ensure lifelong well-being. The professionals and scientist that practice functional medicine take a holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment, and develop long-lasting relationships with their patients in order to deliver bespoke care and treatment that addresses the underlying issues instead of trying to fix the symptoms. With that in mind, let’s go over the ways functional medicine is transforming modern healthcare and how it can benefit your life as a whole.
Discovering the root of the problem
Some conditions and illnesses produce immediate symptoms, and sometimes when you treat those symptoms you will treat the condition as well – like a bacterial infection, for example. However, most of the time and especially when it comes to chronic health conditions, the symptoms might be as apparent, nor are they always indicative of an underlying medical issue, which is why many chronic illnesses go so long without being diagnosed. The problem is that the majority of doctors look at the symptoms to diagnose the condition instead of delving deeper and finding the root cause of the problem. This is one of the foundational pillars of functional medicine, as practitioners specialize in uncovering those longstanding illnesses and conditions that are lowering your quality of life without you even realizing it before it’s too late. For example, if you’re always feeling tired and sluggish, if you’re feeling melancholic or lack the drive and zeal to complete your daily chores, then perhaps the problem isn’t that you’re not getting enough sleep but that there is an underlying issue that needs to be uncovered.
Treating the whole body
In this attempt to uncover a deep underlying issue, functional medicine aims to treat the entire body and the mind, and not just the symptoms. The key goal is to optimize every aspect of your well-being through proper treatment and lifestyle habits in order to help you recover from an illness and keep illness at bay. This is called sustainable treatment, and it aims to make you healthier over the long term instead of giving you a bunch of prescription pills that will have acute effects. For example, functional medicine can treat pulmonary conditions such as asthma with proper medicine, yes, but also by helping the patient adopt healthy lifestyle habits that will help them improve lung capacity, eliminate asthma triggers, and reduce the need to use medication as much as possible. By treating the entire body, your doctor can create a framework for a healthier life.
Taking a personalized approach to patient care
Another pillar of functional medicine that allows practitioners to deliver a higher quality of care is the personalized approach they take with their patients. The best professionals in functional medicine understand just how important this personal approach is to solving complex health problems and to create unique healthy recipes to elevate their quality of life, because every patient is unique and thus requires a tailored treatment plan that will address their needs and their specific health goals. There are no cookie-cutter solutions when it comes to functional medicine, simply because everybody is different and will respond to different types of treatment in a different way. This is why practitioners in this field will take a personalized approach to lab tests and their interpretation in order to tailor a bespoke treatment plan for every patient.
Putting emphasis on prevention
As you might have guessed, prevention is a big part of functional medicine, simply because it is easier to retain your quality of life when you prevent illness rather than having to treat it and then spend time recovering and getting back to your former self. For this and many other reasons, practitioners of functional medicine will instruct patients on how to lead healthier life and keep illness at bay by prescribing numerous preventative measures, including regular exercise, proper diet and sleep, and abstaining from any vices, to name a few.
Developing long-term partnerships
And finally, one of the beautiful things about functional medicine is that it not only nurtures the body and the mind, but it also nurtures the relationship between the doctor and their patients. Instead of prescribing a couple of medications that you’re supposed to take every day, the practitioner will spend plenty of one-on-one time with the patient in order to get to know them and learn about their background. This allows them to delve deeper into the patient’s psyche and uncover any bad habits that might be lowering their quality of life.
The healthcare industry is always evolving, and nowadays patients are looking for a better, more comprehensive way to achieve lifelong health and happiness. With functional medicine, this is finally becoming a reality.