What is Functional Medicine?

When I answer the proverbial question, “So, what do you do?” with “I’m a physician who practices functional medicine” I often get a blank stare and then the follow-up question: “What is functional medicine?”  You may be asking yourself the same question as you read this.  I completely get it because I asked the exact same question to a physician friend who first told me about functional medicine two years ago.  Ironically, I was already moving down the path of functional medicine without actually knowing it.

After years of working as an emergency physician I was burned out as well as saddened and frustrated at the realization that I was often only putting temporary “band-aids” on my patients' chronic medical conditions.  When I decided to leave emergency medicine to open Live Fit Medicine, my goal was to provide advice and education on healthy nutrition, exercise and stress reduction in order to help my clients optimize their health and reverse any chronic diseases they had.  What I didn’t realize at that time was that there was an entire movement in medicine to do what I set out to do and so much more.

At my physician friend’s urging, I found myself flying to Baltimore a few months after I opened my practice to attend a conference put on by the Center for Mind-Body Medicine entitled Food As Medicine, which was my introduction into functional medicine…and I haven’t looked back.  Last year I attended the Institute for Functional Medicine’s flagship training course Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP).  I was not only inspired by all that functional medicine has to offer in terms of helping my clients achieve optimal health and vitality, I was also encouraged by the number of healthcare providers embracing this movement.

After hearing about functional medicine, many people wonder how it is different than conventional medicine.  Who better to answer that question than one of the pioneers of functional medicine, Mark Hyman, M.D. Check out his 4-minute video below:

For more information on functional medicine, click here.

What are your thoughts on this new approach to healthcare?

Do you feel conventional medicine often focuses too much on labeling diseases and treating the symptoms with prescription drugs rather than identifying and addressing the underlying root causes of disease?

Do you think you or someone close to you could benefit from functional medicine?