5 Critical Approaches of the Best Functional Medicine Doctors

5 Critical Approaches of the Best Functional Medicine Doctors

Written by Alison Lurie, In Health, Published On
April 26, 2021
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Do you want your next doctor to practice functional medicine? This discipline was created about 30 years ago, and its popularity has spiked as it combines approaches from conventional and alternative medicine. It also includes features of “integrative medicine” that focus on the patient’s lifestyle. Studies show that nearly one-third of patients who received functional medicine treatments significantly improved their Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) physical health scores. Below are some key concepts that can help you find the best functional medicine doctor.

5 Critical Approaches of the Best Functional Medicine Doctors

Science-based approach

While functional medicine doctors use various conventional and alternative treatments, they still take a science-based approach. For example, while some studies show that alternative medicine can provide health benefits, scientists have conducted fewer studies on traditional medicine.

A functional medicine physician doesn’t just focus on a medical specialization for certain body systems. Instead, he or she approaches diagnoses and treatments based on the body’s complex network of connected systems.

This approach provides a deep understanding of how the body works. For example, if one system is malfunctioning, it can affect that system and the balance of the other body systems.

Approaches patients individually

This is one of the major features of functional medicine. The goal is to treat the individual rather than the chronic disease itself. Each patient is different. Various factors, including their genetics and environment, can cause serious diseases.

Another approach includes “integrative medicine” approaches. This includes lifestyle factors, such as a person’s regular diet, physical activity, and sleep habits. Some scientists believe that such factors result in most health problems.

This approach focuses on the body’s self-healing abilities by restoring the balance of the body’s various systems. Treatments can include conventional or alternative treatments. However, the goal is always to treat the disease’s cause rather than its symptoms.

The body can maintain self-regulation

Functional medicine takes this approach and claims this happens through the balance of body systems. This is an important factor when doctors prescribe treatments. The goal is to restore the body’s ability to regulate and balance itself.

For example, it’s believed various substances in the body might have caused an imbalance of its systems. Some possible factors include:

  • Diet
  • Illness
  • Medicine
  • Lifestyle
  • Environment

Thus, the doctor focuses on making changes to these factors, which can cause the body to naturally balance its systems. This will help to reduce the patient’s symptoms more effectively than focusing on the symptoms themselves.

Health is a state of vitality

This is different from the general approach to conventional medicine, which focuses on treating and eliminating the disease. For example, the main function of eating a healthy diet or exercising regularly is to improve a person’s quality of life instead of preventing disease symptoms.

One of the main benefits of functional medicine’s treatments is it focuses on achieving vitality. This differs from other approaches that seek to deliver quick fixes or cover-ups to health problems. The main problem with this approach is the symptoms are more likely to return because the focus hasn’t been on the real cause of the disease’s symptoms.

The body can help to prevent age-related diseases.

There’s the old saying that “prevention is better than cure.” An effective functional medicine doctor takes this approach to deal with chronic disease.

In a sense, the aging process starts when we’re born. While we cannot “stop” this process as some people and companies claim, it’s possible to slow it down. This is through basic methods like:

  • Well-balanced diet
  • Drinking enough water
  • Weight-resistance/cardio exercise
  • Good sleep habits
  • Stress reduction

When searching for the best functional medicine doctor, it’s important to look for the features mentioned above. This includes their approach to disease-related factors, including unique patients, science-based treatments, and self-regulating bodies.

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