An introduction to functional medicine

Functional medicine

Functional medicine flips the script on the way conventional medicine views health as the absence of disease. Where conventional medicine diagnoses and treats disease and illness (usually through medication or invasive procedures) functional medicine focuses the prevention and reversal of chronic disease by treating the root cause of the condition, not just the symptoms1.

As the name suggests, functional medicine looks at the way your body functions as a whole. This means there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment or a single prescription – but rather a unique, integrated treatment program, that draws on a combination of different interventions, based on a deep understanding of you as a patient and your unique genetic, biochemical and lifestyle factors2.

Here are three key guiding principles of functional medicine and how we use them in our chiropractic practice:

1. Taking a patient-centered approach
Functional medicine keeps you, the patient, not your disease or condition, at the forefront. What does this mean? For example, if you are suffering from chronic headaches and neck pain, a conventional approach may simply prescribe pain-relief medication and treatments to alleviate the symptoms.

The functional medicine approach isn’t satisfied with just treating the symptoms – we want to understand the underlying cause of the condition in your body, in order to treat it effectively and prevent it from recurring. This means getting to know you beyond your symptoms or diagnosis.

It’s about understanding your full health history, your unique genetic makeup (that can predispose you to certain conditions), your environment and lifestyle, and how all these factors contribute to your current state of health. Functional medicine looks at the specific way in which a condition manifests in each patient, understanding that a condition can be caused by many different factors, just as single factors can cause many different conditions3.

For example, we may find that consistently poor posture at your desk, coupled with an old sports industry and dietary triggers are all contributing to your chronic headaches and neck pain. Giving you a prescription won’t remove the cause of the recurring problem.

Everyone’s bodies and health histories are different, so we believe treatment should be too. This is why your first consult will be at least an hour long as we build a holistic understanding of you, your lifestyle and your history. And you’re going to be involved and informed every step of the way, because it’s not a passive treatment program, it’s an active process to achieve wellness goals.

2. Seeing the body as a network of interconnected systems
Functional medicine focuses on the integrated nature of the systems within the body. This is why we take such a holistic approach to health and treatment. We view symptoms as signs of disruptions to systems, so we like to look at every part of the system to understand the root cause.

This approach includes considering your physical activity, your digestive system and nutrition, the build-up of toxins, inflammation in the body, balance of hormones, and the connection between your body and mind. It’s all about restoring balance in your holistic health and wellbeing.

From a chiropractic perspective, the functional medicine approach goes beyond simply assessing and treating functional interference along the spine and in the nervous system. We’re interested not just in what your ailment is, but why it has occurred.

In addition to chiropractic adjustments, we consider the full picture of how you might respond to different treatments and what kind of lifestyle changes may help you achieve better health, preventing relapses and future conditions.

3. Believing in the body’s ability to heal and regenerate
When we create the right physical conditions within our bodies for its systems to function optimally, our ability to heal and resilience against disease and infection is that much stronger.

By removing the physical blockages and imbalances that interfere with our health, and with the right nutritional, lifestyle and environmental interventions, we believe your body can bounce back and heal.

As practitioners of functional medicine, we don’t see our job as being done when there’s simply the absence of disease or pain. It’s an ongoing, active effort to help you achieve holistic health.

Ready to start your journey with us? Book your first consult now, right here.

Reference

The Institute of Functional Medicine. 2019. What is Functional Medicine? https://www.ifm.org/functional-medicine/what-is-functional-medicine/

Dr. Matt le Roux is a man of many talents: chiropractor, sports scientist and functional medicine practitioner. His science-based approach motivates him to explore the synergy between health and performance that changes the way you move, live, train, think, and eat.

Dr Matt le Roux

Chiropractor, Functional medicine practitioner

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