While functional medicine has really taken off during the last 20 years, it originated in the 1900s by Sir William Mackenzie at the St. Andrew Institute of Clinical Research in England. Instead of just treating symptoms, he and his colleagues began looking for systematic approaches to discovering the underlying causes for pain, fatigue and other diseases.
Nowadays, physicians and healthcare practitioners have numerous training and certification programs and in 2009 the first Diplomate Board was formed. These programs have allowed for physicians to share with the public their depth, breadth and commitment to helping patients in a practical, evidence based, manner.
Every patient is unique
Every patient is biochemically different, these variations can be simple or quite complex. Western medicine has struggled to find a ‘one size fits all’ treatment for conditions. However not all symptoms are of the same etiology. While the symptoms can be categorized and compartmentalized, routing out the etiology is where the functional medicine physician shines brightest.
Treat the patient not the disease
So many physicians and patients refer to the disease and not the person with the symptom. One might say that “He’s diabetic”. Each patient is unique and because of this, the greatest gift we can give a patient is to understand the cause of their reactive disorder. Find out how this patient’s biochemistry isn’t being supported.
This is physiology 101 and yet many physicians fail at appreciating the intricate balance of negative feedback in the body. Since the 1920s, western medicine has adopted very short sighted treatments that do not take into consideration the basic homeodynamics of the patient. This leads to misdiagnosis of many patients. In 2007, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that as much as 50% of diagnosis and treatments are incorrect in the US.
The idea of prevention in functional medicine is not merely catch the disease early, it is truly based on the vital capacity of the body to prevent the disease in the first place. When the biochemistry of the body is supported, it works amazingly well; when the biochemistry of the body is not supported or is interfered with, reactive conditions begin to manifest. Functional Medicine is compelled to ensure that nutritional biochemistry is provided while minimizing toxic exposure to interfering compounds.
Human are one of the few species that find it difficult to live 10 times longer than their age of puberty. The body is designed to live 120 years, yet most Americans are finding it difficult to live past 60. Functional medicine is profoundly considerate of the idea that the patient is only as good as their organs. Just one organ failure can terminate the patient’s life, longevity, or happiness. We are all going to die, but we sure want to feel great till the end.
Happier Doctors, healthier patients!
Imagine a world where 80% of patients are not just chronically managed, where the national healthcare system isn’t ranked 37th in the world, where up to 90% of bankruptcies weren’t due to unpaid medical bills, where 1 out of 2 Americans didn’t die of heart disease, 1 out of 2 didn’t achieve cancer, 1 out of 3 didn’t die of cancer, 1 out of 6 didn’t die of diabetes, where the healthcare costs of a company’s employees wouldn’t bankrupt one of the largest corporations in the world.
Many physicians are sick and tired of not feeling like they are helping patients, not trained well enough to understand the etiology of disease, and not seeing the success they felt medicine provided. Functional medicine has provided a beacon of hope to these physicians and health care practitioners. All over the country medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, dieticians, nurses and physician assistants are seeking out more and more education on functional medicine and how to apply it in clinical practice. They see the success it brings, come join them.