A Simple Overview of the Transformative & Natural Healing Power of Functional Medicine
Your Personalized Roadmap to Natural Health & Healing
Functional Medicine is a unique model of medicine that takes a very individual, patient-focused, and 100% science-based approach to reversing and preventing chronic disease. Both doctor and patient work together in unison (Dr. Pucci likes to refer to this doctor/patient collaboration as “cross talk”) in order to not only determine the underlying root causes of disease, but to also further promote long-term wellness through diet and lifestyle changes.
In order for Functional Medicine to have a positive impact, it’s vital that the whole body is closely examined for various imbalances and inefficiencies. Unlike traditional medicine that typically focuses purely on the pain area itself or offering symptom relief, Functional Medicine goes much deeper into the natural mind/body/health to “connect all the dots”.
“Functional Medicine understands that every human being is unique – both biochemically and genetically. This means that every person should have a completely tailored and personalized approach to health and healing that focuses purely on their own personal body chemistry, and from all angles.”
It’s important to understand that while one health problem may have several underlying root causes (typically missed by most mainstream doctors), sometimes there may be only one root cause that creates a multitude of health problems.
In order to get a “whole mind/body” snapshot of one’s health, it’s imperative that a Functional Medicine doctor rely heavily on the 5 Foundational Principles of Functional Medicine. This will help them not only determine the real root causes of pain or discomfort for an individual, but it’ll also help provide their patient a step-by-step roadmap that they can follow to get back into a state of optimal health both now, and in the future.
To give a clearer overview of the 5 Foundational Principles of Functional Medicine, I’ll briefly cover each one for you below in a simple way that’ll make it much easier for you to understand.
Principle #1: Functional Medicine Targets the Root Causes of Illness/Disease
What makes Functional Medicine so exciting (and successful) is how it approaches mind/body health. There’s a very natural and wholesome quality to Functional Medicine that makes logical sense when it comes to optimal health and healing.
“Once these root causes or imbalances are discovered, then non-invasive measures and practical steps can be taken to bring forth a state of balance and harmony within the body – which then allows the body to experience healing and optimal states of health and renewed vitality.”
Modern medicine (when done correctly) can also work in conjunction with Functional Medicine in order to bring about positive changes in both health and healing. But it’s important to note that while modern or mainstream medicine tends to rely on pharmaceutical drugs (which Dr. Pucci likes to call the medication “merry-go-round”), Functional Medicine takes a more naturalistic approach to health and healing that doesn’t create negative side effects.
It’s very common for people who arrive at the doorstep of Functional Medicine to have already visited numerous doctors and health care specialists. Not only have they usually spent a lot of time and money on a number of appointments, medications or even procedures – but they also have yet to come up with a lasting solution to their problems. This is where Functional Medicine can step in and fill the void.
Principle #2: Functional Medicine Takes a ‘Whole-Body’ Approach to Health
Unlike mainstream medicine, Functional Medicine looks at the overall “functions” of the entire physical body – not just one area of pain. This form of medicine views the body as a complicated, yet very intelligent system that’s always striving to remain in a state of healthy balance and harmony. It’s about treating the whole individual, not just the disease itself.
When the body falls out of a state of balance, health issues usually start to bubble up to the surface. Functional Medicine serves as a way to identify these specific (and often hidden) imbalances, and then fix them through practical and non-invasive methods that may include lifestyle or diet changes.
“By taking a whole-body approach to health and healing, Functional Medicine is able to work with the body to restore health, happiness and a renewed feeling of control over one’s health. This is an empowering and very rewarding experience for any patient who’s a seeker of good health.”
Principle #3: Functional Medicine Focuses on Health, Healing & Prevention
Functional medicine takes a very proactive approach to achieve optimal levels of health, healing, as well as the prevention of future diseases. This means putting a specific focus on overall balance, homeostasis and health. To put it more simply, instead of focusing on the specifics of a disease or a medical diagnosis, Functional Medicine looks at the WHY…
- WHY do people get a specific disease or ailment in the first place?
- WHY are some people more affected (or afflicted) than others?
- WHY does the body cause pain when X is out of balance?
“What makes Functional Medicine so unique is the way it attempts to understand the real meaning (and root causes) behind some of the most chronic health issues instead of focusing merely on symptom control with expensive medications or invasive procedures.”
Principle #4: Functional Medicine Empowers Patients to Take Control of Their Health
Since Functional Medicine focuses on whole body health (as well as healing and disease prevention) it can mean less doctor visits, and less medications. This will not only save on medical costs, but it can also remove the majority of the the stress and hassles associated with traditional medicine procedures.
By being proactive about one’s health via Functional Medicine, a person can maintain healthy body weight, keep hormone and blood sugar levels in check, and so much more. All of these proactive steps can help a person remain healthy, disease free, and allow them to enjoy a much more vibrant and abundant life.
“Once a patient is able to tap into to the power of Functional Medicine and can become educated on how Functional Medicine works and how it can be integrated into their own life, they’ll gain the knowledge they need to take greater control of their health. This can lead to not only better states of health, but also much more confidence and overall happiness.”
It’s important to note that the practice of Functional Medicine is not necessarily about the doctor “fixing” or “doing” something to the patient. It’s about allowing the patient, the doctor – and the body itself – to work together in unison to heal and/or prevent disease. The doctor is simply the guide.
Principle #5: Functional Medicine Is About Customization & Personalization
No two humans are the same – especially when it comes to their own biology. So, it only makes sense to not only treat a person who may be suffering with a host of health issues in a way that looks at their own unique biology, but also their environment and lifestyle choices as well. By taking this very customized and personalized approach to health and healing, it can reveal what’s really going on in the body to cause pain or imbalance.
“While Functional Medicine does take a very individualistic approach to health, healing and preventing – it never relies on assumptions or guesses. It lets the body tell the story of what’s really going on. By taking this commonsense approach, the real root causes of chronic disease and discomfort can be accurately revealed.”
Leo Tolstoy once said…
“Our body is a machine for living. It is organized for that, it is its nature. Let life go on it unhindered and let it defend itself, it will do more than if you paralyze it by encumbering it with remedies.”
While your body may always be seeking inner harmony and balance, sometimes it can quickly get off track.
Thanks to Functional Medicine, now you can make sure that the living and breathing “machine” of your own body can get back into proper working order – and without useless medications or other invasive procedures that never address the real root causes of disease.
I hope you found these 5 Principles of Functional Medicine both informative and easy to understand. And most importantly, I hope you can clearly see how this practical and functional form of medicine can be useful for you when it comes to your own natural health and healing.
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Dr. Douglas J. Pucci, Founder, Get Well Now, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition.