The Basic Principles of Functional Medicine

Posted on October 12, 2018

At its heart, functional medicine is patient-centered, instead of “disease-focused.” That is to say, it considers patient needs, preferences and values in considering and selecting treatment. At family medical centers in Long Island, New York, functional medicine is becoming increasingly popular because of its core principles and values. Here are a few of the basics:

A Therapeutic Partnership

Regardless of the physician, medical staff and patient, a relationship is formed from the first interaction. A more traditional approach molds that relationship to be very hierarchical, meaning that the doctor and medical staff review the patient’s condition, the doctor prescribes treatment, the staff executes it and the patient receives it. In a functional medicine approach, particularly at Chen Medical Centers, the relationship that forms aids the patient in taking care of their own health and healing. The underlying principle is that patients who participate in their own treatment plan will have a vested interest in making lifestyle changes to improve their health.

Doctor and Patient

Different Questions

Modern medicine asks, “What drug will help cure the patient?” Functional medicine asks, “How did we get here, and what can we do about it?” Functional medicine allows for a more expansive treatment regimen that includes finding the root cause of illness and incorporating a comprehensive treatment approach.

Six Fundamentals

Biochemical Diversity: Each of us is molded by our genetics and our environment. That means we are prone to different types of health challenges based on our physiological makeup and our environmental reality.

Patient-Centered Treatment Efficacy: In medicine, a war is raging between patient and disease-centered treatment approaches. The latter works to treat disease, but does not treat the underlying condition that led to the disease. A patient-centered approach does, and includes the patient in the development of a treatment. 

A Focus on Balance: Functional medicine identifies the perfect balance between the internal and external body, and develops a treatment plan based on those. This leads to treatment for the patient that is comprehensive, rather than just focused on the immediate disease.

Yoga Woman

Body Interconnectivity: Functional medicine focuses on physiological interconnectivity, developing treatment that covers all of the patient, and not just the disease in question. This type of focus starts with recognizing that the body’s components are all interconnected. You cannot treat a simple headache without also affecting other parts of the body, and functional medicine recognizes this.

Health as a Lifestyle: Traditional medicine views health as a state of the patient that is absent of the disease at hand. Functional medicine views health as a process of maintaining physiological efficacy for the short, medium and long-term.

Organ Reserve: Functional medicine promotes lifestyle choices that help the whole body, including both the health span and lifespan of each patient. This leads to a more inclusive and comprehensive approach to life and treatment of disease.

Functional medicine is a more personal approach to healthcare that considers the entirety of a patient, not just what is afflicting them. It includes them in the development and execution of a treatment plan. For more information on functional medicine and treatment alternatives, check out what Optima Medical Centers on Long Island, New York have to offer.