Functional medicine is personalised medicine. It deals with the primary prevention of disease and addresses the underlying causes of chronic disease, rather than focussing only on the symptoms of the disease.
It is a new science-based speciality field in health care, that is grounded in the following principles:
– Biochemical individuality of the patient – it describes the importance of individual variations
in metabolic function that derive from genetic and environmental differences among
– Patient-centred medicine – it emphasises “patient care” rather than “disease care” following
Sir William Osler’s admonition that “It is more important to know what patient has the
disease, than to know what disease the patient has”.
– Dynamic balance – of internal and external factors.
– Web-like interconnections of physiological factors – the human body functions as an
network of interconnected systems, rather than individual systems functioning autonomously.
– Health is a positive vitality – it is not merely the absence of disease.
– Promotion of organ reserves – as the means to ensure optimal health for as long as possible.
Functional medicine examines the core clinical imbalances that underlie various disease conditions. Those imbalances arise as environmental inputs such as diet, nutrients (including air and water), exercise, and trauma are processed by one’s body, mind, and spirit through a unique set of genetic predispositions, attitudes, and beliefs. The fundamental physiological processes include communication (both outside and inside the cell); transformation of food into energy; replication, repair, and maintenance of structural integrity from the cellular, to the whole body level; elimination of waste; protection and defence; and transport and circulation.
Functional Medicine is an American well-documented treatment method that is based on the individual, his background and heritage, as well as all the symptoms involved in the human system. This means that there is no focus on a symptom isolated, but on both whole and detail, as well as the understanding of the other systems also may impact on the health status. For example, stomach problems affect our detoxification functions. If detoxification is reduced, this can create blockages in the energy production or increase oxidative stress and consequent increased risk of destruction of our genetic material and development of disease. The treatments involved laboratory testing, dietary supplements, lifestyle changes and any medical treatment with the aim to remove stresses and imbalances in the body and provide missing nutrients and support the body’s own functions. Treatment is tailored to each person, so that the process is planned individually and holistically.