Functional medicine or Naturopathy looks for the root cause of disease. This is a very different approach when compared to making a diagnosis and administering interventions to treat symptoms without addressing the underlying or root dysfunction occurring within the body. Functional medicine utilizes diagnostic tools, focusing on finding the underlying dysfunctional process or processes leading to a given diagnosis towards which treatment can be targeted. Functional medicine recognizes the biochemical individuality of each patient. In other words, the cause of obesity in one individual may be very different from the cause in another and is based upon each individual’s environment, lifestyle, and genetic predispositions. As such, functional medicine promotes that every patient be evaluated in the context of their unique circumstances.
There are six core imbalances that need to be addressed.
They represent the basic core causes of most health problems and include:
• Hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances
• Oxidation-reduction imbalances
• Detoxification imbalances
• Immune and inflammatory imbalances
• Digestive imbalances
• Structural imbalances
The approach to such imbalances includes extensive history taking and physical exam, as well as specialized laboratory testing based on an individual’s specific needs. Imbalances are then treated with specific interventions which may include dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, physical activity, stress management, detoxification, hormonal manipulation, and structural modalities such as osteopathy, acupuncture or orthodynamics. Treatments are tailored to each patient’s needs and preferences based upon their willingness to participate and their response to treatment. These interventions translate into a longer and healthier life.