What Is Functional Medicine?
There is a movement within allopathic medicine to adopt a holistic model within its paradigm. This has given rise to the success of functional medicine, practiced by a new generation of integrative physicians, at esteemed medical centers such as the Cleveland Clinic.
Similar to traditional medicine modalities such as naturopathy and Chinese medicine, functional medicine seeks to address the root cause of illness. In turn, a thorough evaluation by an integrative physician includes a detailed case history, comprehensive lab testing, and extensive deliberation on how seemingly unrelated symptoms form a pattern. It is an exercise in interconnectedness.
This stands in stark contrast to the compartmentalization of allopathic medicine, where there is a specialist for every organ yet lack of an appreciation for the functional relationship between different but interconnected systems of the body. Synergy suffers as an endemic and emergent phenomenon of excessive organization.
Picture a home where items are grouped together into individual rooms. All chairs are in one room and every table in another; books are in one room and bookcases in a another. Everything is highly organized, but nothing is functional. This is the potential consequence of increasing specialization.
As a practitioner of traditional medicine, I stand in support of physicians who choose to opt out of corporate medicine and bravely wade into the waters of functional medicine. We stand, arms interlocked, under the umbrella of holistic medicine. The modalities are different, but the commitment to total wellness of the patient—to seek balance within relationships and harmony with nature—is our common ground.