Functional medicine, an integrative approach, and empowered patients
When it comes to working with and treating chronic illness the medical community has to begin to look at everything regarding that patient. We have to start to work and think OUTSIDE the box. We have to look much further up the chain at where the problems are actually beginning, versus down stream and the end by products, or manifestations of symptoms, from a chronic illness.
Functional medicine inherently does this.
Taking a functional medicine approach gets to the root-cause of disease and identifies the true dynamics of what is really happening in a person’s particular health continuum. It is vital to not rely on symptoms alone. Pruning back symptoms and reducing symptoms is not health, that is simply quieting the squeaky wheel with a band-aid approach. Health and wellness is defined as achieving a person’s optimal state of being at any moment in time. If the underlying complications, triggers, or issues are not addressed – illness and chronic disease will never be resolved – it will only continue to manifest, worsen, and snowball out of control.
It’s more comprehensive
Functional medicine is a comprehensive and holistic approach to providing complete health. It isn’t a specialist approach, focused on a singular specific thing. We are not robots or machines. Instead, we are elaborate, amazing, and complex living organisms that require understanding, compassion, and a comprehensive understanding of how the human body works. The body is a connection of systems that work together to produce a person’s optimal health. If one system is off, it will eventually affect other systems. Functional medicine, combined with an integrative approach treats the entire body.
It’s science and evidence based
Functional medicine practitioners have the training, and physiological and biochemical knowledge to look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that are causing these imbalances and illnesses. This skill set has come through years of elaborate training, researching the science, and working in the clinical setting putting these advanced theories to test. These practitioners have the ability to consider genetic makeup, mental and energetical contributions, along with environment factors such as social and physical factors and how it all meshes together to affect each individual in a unique way.
Functional medicine practitioners spend more time with their patients. At in2GREAT, we spend 2 hours with our new patients and 45-60 minutes with them on follow up appointments. In contrast, conventional medicine doctors spend 15 minutes with patients in a single appointment.3
A functional medicine approach is personalized. Depending on the practice, this is done in varying degrees, some more than others. At in2GREAT, we go above and beyond in our efforts to personalize our patients’ care. We recognize every single person walking through our doors is a person with unique needs, unique circumstances, and a story. We have learned early on that a cookie cutter approach is not adequate to recover from chronic illness. While there are some standard actions and recommendations that can be done by the majority of people, resolving, and correcting chronic disease and illness requires a comprehensive individualized built plan.
Functional medicine gives the patient the opportunity to take back control of their health. Through its patient centered approach, it puts the keys to their health, back in their own hands; instead of being controlled by insurance companies and politicians dictating what they can and cannot do. The more information a patient knows about their health. The more questions answered and concerns addressed. The more informed they become. And the more power they have.
And what we do, is integrative
Integrative medicine is different than functional medicine. An integrative medicine approach takes multiple modalities and comes up with the best approach for a person’s health care needs. Integrative is not functional necessarily. While a functional approach looks at a person’s health care needs from a functional set of lenses, and if done correctly can incorporate an integrative approach. What is often missed in this healthcare arena, is not enough providers are blending these two disciplines. Here at in2GREAT, we are passionate about considering all angles and approaches to develop the best set of recommendations for a patient. We believe this requires a functional integrative approach.