Integrate and treat multiple body systems
Identify and treat the root cause of illness
Order and evaluate specialty and comprehensive lab results
Collaboration between provider and patient
The Functional Medicine Approach
Functional medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.
The functional medicine model evolved from the insights and perspectives of a small group of influential thought leaders who realized the importance of an individualized approach to disease causes based on the evolving research in nutritional science, genomics, and epigenetics. These thought leaders found ways to apply these new advances in the clinic to address root causes using low-risk interventions that modify molecular and cellular systems to reverse these drivers of disease.
These functional medicine thought leaders were able to apply new research in a way that often brought dramatic results to patients who had previously received unsuccessful treatments. Part of this advance was a return to scientific principles of finding new ways to look for unifying factors at the cellular and systems levels that underlie organism-wide problems.
All clinicians take patient history, but what makes the functional medicine Timeline different is that it has the effect of giving the patient insight into previous life events to motivate them to change and participate in treatment. As an intake tool for organizing the patient’s history chronologically, the functional medicine Timeline is a graphical representation that allows clinicians to identify factors that predispose, provoke, and contribute to pathological changes and dysfunctional responses in the patient. In this way, practitioners will be able to view temporal relationships among events, which can reveal cause-effect relationships that might otherwise go unnoticed. By covering the period from preconception to the present, the Timeline reflects the connection between the whole lifespan and one’s current health.