Functional Medicine is a systems-orientated, biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. It engages both the patient and practitioner in a health-centered partnership. Unlike the disease-centered focus of a traditional medicine practice, we use a patient centered approach to address the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
At Main Street Chiropractic-Wellness Center, Dr. Baird spends time with each patient, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health leading to chronic disease. Since each of us was made uniquely, this form of care allows for a tailored approach to treat the needs of each individual.
Why Do We Need Functional Medicine?
Our country is experiencing sharp increases in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, mental illness, addiction and a vast array of autoimmune disorders.
The current system of medicine, practiced by a large portion of physicians, is focused on acute care (or putting the fire out) – the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is short in duration and in need of urgent care. With this type of care, physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as pharmaceutical drugs or surgery to treat the immediate problem or symptoms.
Unfortunately, the acute care approach ends up masking (or putting a band-aid on) the symptoms of complex, chronic disease. This lack of proper methodology and tools does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspects of lifestyle choices in today’s Western society. Therefore, a large portion of patients with complex, chronic diseases feel like they haven’t been truly heard or feel “crazy” because doctors can’t find a solution to their illness.
Furthermore, medicine has become incredibly specialized to the point where a lack of communication between specialties has led to the inability to treat complex, chronic disease effectively. Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and apply strategies such as nutrition, diet and exercise to both address and prevent these illnesses in their patients. Instead, patients are told “lose weight” or “stop ____”, without being given the proper resources or guidance to make the vital changes to their health.
How Is Functional Medicine Different?
Patient-centered care: The focus of functional medicine is patient-centered care that promotes health as a positive vitality not just the absence of disease. The practitioner listens to the patient’s story so they can tailor treatments together that address the individual’s unique needs.
An integrative, science-based healthcare approach: Functional medicine practitioners think outside the box to connect the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology and lifestyle that can all lead to illness. Individualized treatment is based on the unique genetic makeup of each patient, 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 uses a combination of traditional medical practices along with alternative and holistic approaches to create a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet and exercise. At Main Street Chiropractic-Wellness Center we use a mix of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques as well as prescribed supplementation, therapeutic diets and wellness coaching.
6 Core Principles of Functional Medicine:
- 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 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;
- 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 health span, not just the life span, of each patient.