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Functional Medicine is Revolutionising the Way Chronic Illnesses are Treated – But How?

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We are no longer unfamiliar with the term ‘functional medicine’. In fact, you’re probably here because you’ve heard about this functional medicine approach that is revolutionizing the way lifestyle diseases are treated and cured for life. And you probably want to know more about it. Well, you’re on the right page.

The first question is – what is functional medicine?
Putting it simply, functional medicine does not just treat symptoms. Instead, it analyses & addresses the root cause of every problem. It is based on the scientific tenet that a disease or its symptoms develop in a body that has certain underlying imbalances. It seeks to identify those imbalances through scientific testing, correct them, and restore overall health and wellness.

The functional medicine approach focuses on keeping things simple. It involves understanding the cause and effects of chronic diseases, as well as preventing or treating them. In functional medicine, instead of asking ‘what drug to use to treat the symptom’, it asks ‘what led to the symptom’.  In other words, it searches for what is truly causing the imbalance or inflammation in the first place.

As soon as that is established, the next question is “what does the body and its system need to regain balance?”. Thereafter, treatment begins.

Some of the salient features of this approach that distinguish it from conventional methods and make it the better choice for treatment of lifestyle and chronic diseases are as follows:

  1. Patient-centric: The functional medicine approach does not believe ‘one size fits all.’ It thinks each person is physically and biologically unique and has a unique lifestyle. It is therefore critical to listen to the patient at every stage of the process. By understanding the patient, the functional medicine practitioner can create a personalized treatment plan according to his or her individual needs.
  2. Holistic, integrated, science-based approach: The conventional approach only treats the diseased organ or body part, whereas functional medicine takes a broader view. In order to determine the root cause of the illness or symptom, it examines the interrelationships between the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle. A patient’s unique gene expression is combined with his internal environment (mind, body, and spirit), as well as his external environment (physical and social).
  3. Integrating science and medicine from various disciplines: Functional medicine brings together the best practices of conventional, alternative, and science-based ancient wisdom streams. In order to examine the patient, the most advanced diagnostic techniques are used. In addition, it uses a variety of precision supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, stress management techniques, etc. for prevention/treatment.
  4.  True Health and Wellness: According to functional medicine, the human body is designed to be healthy. Self-regulation and self-healing are very effective when a body has no imbalances. A true sense of health and wellness doesn’t come from simply eradicating disease. The goals of functional medicine include vitality, a good appetite, optimal weight, a settled emotional state, a stable disposition, all indicators of general wellness.

The functional medicine model identifies the disease as the endpoint and the function as the process. The concept has less to do with what we call ‘dysfunctions’ or ‘diseases’. In this case, it is more about the dynamic process that leads to dysfunction. 

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The Functional Medicine Model

  1.   Assess
  2.   Evaluate
  3.   Personalised Plan
  4.   Follow-up
  5.   Continuous loop back

The Functional Medicine Model -

As of now, functional medicine has become a popular choice among patients suffering from a wide range of lifestyle, chronic and non-communicable diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Arthritis, Autoimmune diseases, Cardiovascular diseases, chronic fatigue and pain, Diabetes, Pre-diabetes, Digestive disorders, Fibromyalgia, Allergies, Women’s health disorders, Osteoporosis, skin issues and Thyroid.  Apart from these, functional medicine treatment also addresses Cancer prevention and general detoxification & healing.

The growing popularity of functional medicine comes as no surprise. It ensures sustainable health and overall wellness. It provides patients all the necessary tools to keep them well-informed and aware, thereby helping them to maintain homeostasis for a healthy mind and body. Thus, functional medicine is truly helping millions of people in India and abroad, lead a better quality life.

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