According to The Institute of Functional Medicine, Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach that engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
If we discuss a common condition such as arthritis we can see how functional medicine can be the wave of the future. The root of all chronic disease, even “arthritis”, can be linked to systemic inflammation. If we have systemic inflammation, our tissues will be subject to continued wear and tear. With continued wear and tear our muscles and joints will be subjected to what we call “arthritis”. If we can reduce systemic inflammation through diet, supplementation and exercise we can reduce our chances of expressing this common disease that plagues our society today.