Functional medicine is breaking new ground in healthcare. It draws on systems biology, which is an integrated approach to deciphering complex biological systems. Key is the knowledge that networks in living organisms are more than the sum of their parts. In healthcare this means focusing on identifying and addressing root causes of disease. In other words a person’s genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors are key to their health. Also each symptom may be one of many contributing factors to illness. Functional Medicine finds what each individual needs to restore balance to their health.
Functional medicine as practiced by IBS Clinics will address you as a whole person, rather than an isolated set of symptoms. As practitioners we spend time with our patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. These are what influences long-term health and complex, chronic conditions. We engage with our patients in a therapeutic partnership to understand and tackle the underlying causes of disease. This enables us to fully support and promote each individual’s unique expression of health and vitality.
Functional Medicine and NutritionNutritional therapy stresses an understanding of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the emergence and progression of disease. So, specifically this means:
- Nutritionists focus on unraveling underlying imbalances causing health issues rather than simply suppressing symptoms
- A powerful clinical model for assessment, treatment, and prevention of chronic disease. This supersedes the acute-care models carried forward from the 20th century
- Enables nutritional therapists to practice proactive, predictive, personalised medicine. Also empowers patients to take an active role in their own health
- Leverages the powers of nutrition to use food as medicine
Integrating best medical practice
Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine. It focuses on:
- Prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise
- Use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques
- Prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs and stress-management techniques.
Tracey Randell of IBS Clinics is a member of the Institute for Functional Medicine.
This illustration shows the Functional Medicine Tree, which represents the core aspects of the paradigm and highlights the difference between conventional medical care and Functional Medicine. To find out more, visit the Institute for Functional Medicine website.
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