Functional medicine has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine, western health care, and the latest in health care research, taking the best of each and combining them into an independent healing approach. This new approach is one that focuses on the cause of disease rather than focusing on symptoms. Through the concentration on symptoms, our health care system has gradually been converted to a disease care system, and functional medicine offers a viable approach to reverse this trend. To accomplish this, functional medicine practitioners view the body as a whole, taking into account nutritional, environmental, and genetic factors. Through active doctor-patient communication, functional medicine practitioners embrace the word doctor, which literally means teacher in Latin, allowing you to take control of your health.
Unfortunately, as the state of health has changed throughout our nation, our health care system has remained fairly stagnant in its approach to healing. While our country’s traditional approach to treatment was successful for the types of diseases present in 1920, it has grown less effective at treating the current epidemics of heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and diabetes. While the diseases of days gone by were typically of short duration and responded well to quick fixes such as surgery and medication, it has become increasingly evident that today's chronic conditions require a different approach.
The complexity of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis far outweigh that of conditions previously treated by our health care system. Increased complexity of diseases requires an equally comprehensive approach to treatment. Where traditional medicine has focused on the condition, functional medicine is aimed at treating the individual. Through this approach, functional medicine practitioners consider the unique genetic, environmental, and occupational factors that may be contributing to a person's sickness. By doing so, these health care providers can focus on individualizing nutritional, supplementation, and exercise plans as a means to address a person’s health status.