When you don’t feel well, you go to the doctor’s office. The doctor examines you; perhaps he does some diagnostics or refers you to a specialist. This is a perfect scenario to describe what many call “traditional medicine” – treating the symptoms and heading to different specialists to fix what’s broken or heal what is sick.
Functional medicine is completely different from conventional medicine because it aims to identify and treat the root causes of illnesses and diseases, rather than just treat the symptoms. Functional medicine views the body as a wholly integrated system, rather than just separate body parts and functions treated each by a unique medical specialist. If you are not familiar with functional medicine, now is a good time to understand how this seemingly “traditional” approach really is revolutionizing medical are. If you don’t know what functional medicine is, here is a primer to help you out.
A Shift in the Medical Model
In the past several years, we have seen a drastic increase in complicated, chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. Traditional medicine focuses on diagnosing the ailment and matching it with a corresponding medication to treat that ailment. While this model of care works well for acute ailments like infection or trauma, it does not work well in the care of chronic diseases that affect millions of Americans.
Functional medicine treats the whole person, rather than just a set of symptoms by shifting the model of thinking from disease-centric to more patient-centered. The theory behind functional medicine is that different parts of the body all work together as a unit. By looking at the whole body and involving both doctor and patient in treatment, functional medicine can look at the underlying causes of a disease, not just treat what is on the surface.
A focus on wellness
Functional medicine is finding great success in treating chronic hormonal, allergy, neurological, metabolic, and digestive issues. Functional medicine practitioners are specially trained in assessing the underlying causes of complex, chronic ailments. They focus on important factors such as a patient’s individual genetic make-up, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices that can affect long-term health. They are also trained to help patients understand the importance of nutrition, diet, and exercise to prevent illness. Those who practice functional medicine spend more time with their patients, really getting to know them and their history, family background, and lifestyle factors. In short, they focus on wellness and health, rather than sickness.
Principles of functional medicine
Functional medicine practitioners believe that every individual is unique and different, and should be treated as such. That’s why it’s important to treat the individual, rather than the disease, and to focus on the body’s healing capabilities rather than focusing on the disease’s symptoms. To these doctors, the body is an intelligent healing machine that can regulate itself by maintaining a balance of all the systems within the body and is, therefore, able to prevent certain diseases.
Why choose functional medicine?
Functional medicine allows your practitioner to treat you with tools other than just medication and surgery. You, as a patient, become an active partner with your practitioner in improving your overall health and well-being. This partnership allows you to be in total control of your health and to achieve optimal wellness and vitality.
The medical professionals at Bridges Healing Centers in Mankato, Minnesota know that health not only is the absence of disease in the body, it is also an abundance of vitality and well-being. Between the Bridges Healing Centers staff truly listens to their patients and can tailor treatments to fit each person’s unique individual needs.
Are you ready to meet medical practitioners who focus on your whole self by treating you as a person, not just an illness? Between the Bridges Healing Centers in Mankato, Minnesota is on the leading edge of functional and preventative medicine. Their friendly and helpful staff would love to speak to you about how they can help you on your journey to wellness. To make an appointment, call (507) 388-7488.