What Makes Functional Medicine Better?

Functional medicine is a "whole body" approach which focuses on customized care for each person. Instead of treating signs and symptoms with short- and long-term medications and conventional medical treatments, we identify and address the underlying cause that triggers those signs and symptoms.

We do this by listening to your histories and looking at the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that may be influencing your long-term health and chronic disease. Any testing that is done is then based, not just on signs and symptoms, or a particular part of the body, but on the body as a whole (spiritual, emotional, mental, physical).

As an example, 10 people go to the doctor complaining of chronic fatigue. The goal is to come up with different testing and treatment models for each individual, depending on the other variables at play.

Each person has a different reason for feeling fatigued. For one person, the cause may be the adrenals. For another person, it could be an autoimmune disease. And for another person, it could be an underlying infection. With functional medicine, we are looking at that person in the context of their entire life. Then we can create a customized plan of balancing the whole person.


How Functional Medicine Compares to Conventional Medicine

A lot of people ask how functional medicine is different. The chart below will help you understand the primary differences.

Functional MedicineConventional Medicine
Sees the body as one integrated whole, connected systemSeparates the body into different organ systems (heart, lungs, brain, etc.)
Considers every client as an individual with unique genetics, environment and lifestyleCommunicates with clients as individuals, but with investigations and treatments very often standardized
Good at looking at underlying processes which cross medical specialties (inflammation, stress, etc).Good at looking very deeply at the details of separate organ systems
Is client-focusedIs disease-focused
Determines what the needs of the body are (better nutrition, exercise, rest, etc.) and what needs to be eliminated (poor nutrition, stress, smoking, etc.)Works out the differential diagnosis through history, examination and investigation. Treats as per guidelines and/or protocol
Focuses on the triggers of ill-healthFocuses on the consequences of ill-health
Asks why this disease is happening in the first place and how can we undo this?Asks what is this disease, and what can we do to alleviate symptoms and prevent progression?
Uses first principles of biology and physiology to understand primary drivers of disease, as well as designs a healthy lifestyle to disable the drivers, often leading symptoms to resolve themselvesUses first principles of biology and physiology to help make a diagnosis and design treatments to alleviate symptoms of disease
Believes that lifestyle changes are effectiveUses medications as the primary treatment option, with suggestions about lifestyle changes
Spends a lot of time up front determining the client history and potential root causesOnly spends 7-10 minutes determining signs and symptoms and focusing on those
Good for chronic diseaseGood for acute disease, accidents and emergencies