What is Functional Healthcare?

A Brief Introduction to Functional Healthcare


Functional healthcare focuses on enabling the innate healing intelligence of the human body to decrease the signs and symptoms of disease and declining health. Functional healthcare examines any symptom you may experience, and uses all natural methods to facilitate healing.

The primary tenet of functional healthcare is that the human body will always heal itself, if properly supported. It is only when the body is overloaded with stressors that it is prevented from healing on its own. If we examine the function of the body on the cellular level, and enable the body to access its creative healing potential, the body will naturally return to a state of homeostasis, and any signs and symptoms will lessen or disappear.

Functional healthcare uses science and technology to determine where there is weakness, and prescribes scientifically tested protocols to both support the body's internal resistance and lessen stressors.

Traditional medicine treats the signs and symptoms of illness without much regard to their cause. If you look up most diseases in a medical text, you will find that the causes are largely unknown. As a result, traditional medicine focuses on treatment protocols that minimize uncomfortable symptoms.

Functional healthcare views symptoms as the body's way of letting us know that something is amiss. In the functional model, symptoms are purposeful indicators, and not random occurrences. Functional medicine attempts to remove stressors that cause the body to signal that something is wrong, and also offers support to weak areas. Functional medicine views signs and symptoms as important messengers that will lessen and disappear when their cause is alleviated.


Seven Core Principles of the Functional Approach

  • Science-based medicine that connects the emerging research to clinical practice.

  • Biochemical individuality based on genetic and environmental uniqueness.

  • Patient-centered care rather than disease-focused.

  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors.

  • Web-like interconnections of physiological processes.

  • Health as a positive vitality - not merely the absence of disease.

  • Promotion of organ reserve - healthspan versus lifespan.

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The Health-Disease Continuum

Functional healthcare holds that when we fail to support our body's internal resistance, and we ignore signs that we are our of balance, we begin to move toward increasing discomfort and disease. However, if we support our body's innate healing ability, listen to signs that we are out of balance, and take all natural corrective action, we move toward our health potential.

Here's a helpful chart that explains this process:


The Four Vectors of Stress

From the moment we rise in the morning, to the time we climb in to bed at night, we are under constant bombardment. This is what we call stress. Stressors range from emotional to chemical, and from physical to electromagnetic. Stress in the modern world is simply unavoidable. That's just life in the 21st century! As a result, it can be difficult to even think about achieving an optimal state of health. Most of us settle for health and energy levels far less than our potential. Yet, functional healthcare offers a scientific model that individuals can use to improve their health and vitality with minimal difficulty.

As you can see, your "health haven" or state of equilibrium is not a static place, but an everchanging state of being. By using simple, effective, and all natural methods of supporting weak areas, functional medicine can help you find that balance.


What Determines Your Health

Most of us believe that individual genetics and medical care play the strongest role in determining our health. However, our feelings, diet, biomechanics, and ability to relax each play a role equal to that of both genetics and medicine combined.






More resources:

21st Century Medicine: A New Model for Medical Education and Practice (Chapter 5)

Working with a Functional Medicine Practitioner

What is Functional Medicine?