history that our children are expected to have a shorter lifespans than our parents (2). This sounds bleak, but it isn't. There are solutions. By following a healthy diet & lifestyle, and working with a skilled practitioner when necessary, we can prevent and even reverse chronic disease. We have near total control of our longterm health (3), and this is great news! We are living in a very unique time in history. There is a huge amount of accessible and relevant health information out there.
We now have tools and knowledge available to us, to take our long term health into our own hands
The Difference Between Functional and Conventional Medicine
The best way to describe Functional Medicine (FM) is to compare and contrast it to Conventional Medicine. Let's take Jane as an example. She has been getting a great deal of abdominal pain, gas, bloating and diarrhea over the past few months. She finally goes to her MD and is diagnosed with IBS. She leaves her doctors office with a prescription for an anti-diarrheal medication, an anti-spasmodic medication (for the pain), and an anti-depressant (because IBS gets you down).
A Functional Medicine practitioner would treat Jane differently. Instead of focusing primarily on her symptoms of IBS, we instead figure out what is causing the IBS in the first place. Maybe she has a food intolerance, maybe she has low stomach acid or has been taking antacids for too long (which causes a whole host of problems, and can lead to IBS), maybe she has a gut infection, maybe she has intestinal impermeability (aka leaky gut), maybe she isn't managing her stress, maybe she has small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Once we discover what is causing her IBS, we focus treatment there. A Functional Medicine practitioner treats the root of the problem.
Conventional Medicine is excellent when it comes to emergency, or trauma care, and promoting new technological advances. We wouldn't be where we are now without the advances from Conventional Western Medicine. But as a general, Conventional Medicine doesn't promote health, or excel at preventing or treating chronic disease. Functional Medicine, on the other hand, excels at treating and even reversing chronic health problems.
What Makes A Functional Medicine Practitioner Different?
A functional medicine practitioner and their client work together as a team, to figure out what the source of the illness is and how to heal it.
I would like to hear from you!
Have you been to a Functional Medicine practitioner? Would you go to one in the future?
Lindsay Rusk, R.Ac., fmp
Lindsay Is a Registered Acupuncturist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, Health Investigator, Paleo Enthusiast, and Blogger.
Join the Tribe!
Sign up for my monthly newsletter to stay up to date on current health related topics.