With conventional health care often lacking personalization, and average primary care visits only lasting 18 minutes, you may be interested in trying a more comprehensive, holistic approach when it comes to seeing a physician. If you’re looking for a doctor who has the time and expertise to look at your entire health history and get to the root cause of your symptoms using a systems-based, scientifically backed approach, you may want to consider a functional medicine doctor. With 4 simple steps, you’ll be able to easily find a functional medicine doctor who is right for you. (Source)
In this article, we’ll dive into what functional medicine is, how it differs from conventional medicine, how you can quickly find a functional medicine physician near you, and how a root-cause approach to health can help you heal.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is an individualized, patient-centered, biology-based approach that aims to identify and address the root cause of disease by looking at your genes, physiology, and lifestyle. The term “functional medicine” was coined by a group led by Jeffrey Bland, a biochemist who wanted to bridge the gap between alternative medicine and conventional medicine. Bland found that if one of these components is not functioning properly, it could lead to disease. For this reason, functional medicine addresses your genome, nutrition, and lifestyle — making it a form of comprehensive, natural medicine.
It’s important to note that functional medicine is a type of integrative medicine. Integrative medicine incorporates aspects of research-backed alternative medicine into conventional medicine to create a comprehensive approach to medical care, allowing patients to get the best of both worlds from their medical provider. Sounds great, but is functional medicine expensive? The answer is often yes, but for good reason. This approach to health care often involves multiple consultations, advanced testing (meaning labs and tests you cannot get through your primary care provider and are often not covered by insurance). Read below to understand how functional medicine differs from conventional medicine and how you can find a functional medicine doctor right for you. (Source, Source, Source)
What’s the Difference Between Functional Medicine and Conventional Medicine?
The conventional or mainstream approach to medicine is standardized and may not always take into consideration nutrition and lifestyle factors that may affect the expression of disease. In fact, many doctors get fewer than 20 hours of nutrition education, despite evidence that 80% of chronic illnesses are driven by lifestyle factors.
Traditional treatment with conventional medicine may include interventions such as surgery and medication. Conversely, functional medicine looks at your health history, a wide range of health markers via advanced testing, and environmental factors to create an approach to your disease that not only aims to reduce your symptoms, but optimize biological systems functioning, and bring the body back into balance. (Source)