The practice of Functional Medicine involves four essential components:
- eliciting the patient’s complete story during the Functional Medicine intake;
- identifying and addressing the challenges of the patient’s modifiable lifestyle factors and environmental exposures;
- organizing the patient’s clinical imbalances by underlying causes of disease in a systems biology matrix framework; and
- establishing a mutually empowering partnership between practitioner and patient.
A great strength of Functional Medicine is its relevance to all healthcare disciplines and medical specialties, any of which can—to the degree allowed by their training and licensure—apply a Functional Medicine approach, using the Matrix as a basic template for organizing and coupling knowledge and data. In addition to providing a more effective approach to preventing, treating, and reversing complex chronic disease, Functional Medicine can also provide a common language and a unified model that can be applied across a wide variety of health professions to facilitate integrated care.
Functional Medicine is playing a key role in the effort to solve the modern epidemic of chronic disease that is creating a health crisis both nationally and globally. Because chronic disease is a food- and lifestyle-driven, environment- and genetics-influenced phenomenon, we must have an approach to care that integrates all these elements in the context of the patient’s complete story.
Functional Medicine does just that and provides an original and creative approach to the collection and analysis of this broad array of information. Using all the concepts and tools that IFM has developed, Functional Medicine practitioners contribute vital skills for treating and reversing complex, chronic disease.