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Functional Medicine

What is Functional Medicine

At Marin Oriental Medicine, we integrate the very best of the ancient tradition of natural, Oriental medicine with the very best that modern, health-centered care can offer, through the systems of Functional Medicine.

We use scientific testing to detect and illustrate areas of stress, weakness or dysfunction. We then make individualized recommendations and apply appropriate treatment to initiate change, adjust and balance based on the principles of natural medicine. Progress can be tracked through further testing until optima health is restored and sustained.

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a scientific, systems-oriented, approach and engaging 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 health-centered, patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. We spend time with our 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.

Why Do We Need Functional Medicine?

  • Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.
  • Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.
  • There’s a huge gap between research and the way practitioners actually deliver effective healthcare. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and the integration into medical practice is enormous — sometimes longer than 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness. It is even longer with the ancient methods of acupuncture, Qigong / Energy healing that have been proven effective for thousands of years in clinical application.
  • Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients. But we are! Our practitioners are far more equipped with this training than any Western-trained M.D.s.

How is Functional Medicine Different?

Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease as can be diagnosed through lab tests. Hallmarks of a functional medicine approach include:

  • Patient-centered care. The focus of functional medicine is on patient-centered care, promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs.
  • An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body, and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
  • Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through and natural correction through nutrition, diet, exercise meditation and advanced physio-cognitive skill development; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, stress-management techniques, Qigong, Buddhist medicine and Physio-cognitive medicine.

Core Principles of Functional Medicine:

Functional medicine has long been guided by six core principles:

  • An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
  • Awareness of the evidence that supports a health-cenetered, patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment;
  • Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit
  • Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors, and the interaction of the mind in giving rise to health or illness;
  • Identification of health as a positive vitality not merely the absence of disease emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
  • Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the quality of life, not just the life span, of each patient.

A patient-centered approach refers to health care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions.

At Marin Oriental Medicine, health-centered, patient-centered care is at the heart of our therapeutic partnerships, the relationships that form between a patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take ownership of their own healing. The power of the therapeutic partnership comes from the idea that patients who are active participants in their therapeutic plan and healing are more in control of their own well-being and are more likely to make sustained changes that give rise to good health and sustained happiness.

 

 

Reference:

https://www.functionalmedicine.org/about/whatisfm/

 

 

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