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Functional medicine embraces a systematic biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a certain disease. The model views a patient’s body as one integrated system, not just a collection of independent organs subdivided by medical specialties.

Medical practitioners must treat the whole system and not just the symptoms of the chronic disease. Therefore, it is more of an evolution in medicine that better addresses the healthcare of 21st-century chronic disease patients. 

Functional medicine is different from conventional medicine as it’s a way of thinking about the human body and the relationship between everything happening in a person. In this article, you’ll learn more about a patient’s health, solving health complaints hassle-free, and working with functional medicine practitioners in dealing with chronic illness. 

Understanding Functional Medicine- What the Field Entails 

Functional medicine is supported by research and implements the latest findings into diagnostic and treatment solutions. It uses millennia-old traditions to support medical decisions and utilize what the practitioner in the era discovered and believed in to treat chronic disease. 

Functional medicine is necessary as it looks at a person’s long-term and overall well-being. On the other hand, conventional medicine is excellent for surgery tables and emergency rooms. 

The functional medicine model focuses on prevention and helps prevent unexpected deaths from chronic conditions. Functional medicine doctors prescribe effective treatment to help diagnose and prevent real health problems. 

Functional medicine doctors use the latest evidence on chronic health conditions to help restore the function of systems and pathways to improve patients’ health. 

The patient-centered care provided by experts addresses imbalances in the body using better diet and lifestyle intervention than prescribed medications. A clear difference between functional and conventional medicine is that you can reverse chronic illnesses instead of managing them.

The functional medicine approach is effective in treating a wide variety of conditions: 

  • Digestive Disorders – You can use this health-centered model to treat irritable bowel, gluten sensitivities, allergies, ulcerative colitis, intestinal yeast, and Crohn’s disease.
  • Autoimmune Conditions –  A functional medicine doctor can treat include inflammatory bowel, diabetes, and celiac disease. 
  • Mental Health Issues – Common issues the model can treat include anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
  • Women Health-Related Issues – Common problems faced by many women include menopause, preconception nutrition, hormone, and thyroid imbalance, PMS, and fertility issues.
  • Stress-Related Problems – Use this medical approach to deal with fatigue, frequent colds, poor concentration, and anxiety. 

Is Functional Medicine Legitimate

Yes, functional medicine is legitimate when performed correctly and by experts to improve patients’ optimal health. According to the Cleveland clinic center, the functional medicine model is linked with health-related quality of life changes. The practitioners address the root causes of chronic disease and provide practical solutions. 

study by researchers in the institute examined 1,595 patients treated at the clinic for functional medicine. The experts examine the patient’s physical and mental health, focusing on pain, fatigue, emotional health, physical function, and gastrointestinal issues. 

Researchers at the center believe that the reasons for the improvement in health-related quality of life include the following:

  • The difference in the functional medicine approach itself
  • Type of patients seeking functional medicine 
  • Treatment belief or adherence in the model of care. 

Further, the treatment is evidence based on lifestyle factors like sleep, stress levels, relationships, genetics, and nutrition are chief contributors to chronic disease. 

The Cleveland Clinic became the first academic medical center to establish a center for Functional Medicine in 2014. As an institute for functional medicine, the Cleveland Clinic requires all new patients to talk to a registered health coach and dietitian. 

A meeting with a functional medicine doctor will last 60-75 minutes. Patients also have the option to meet with a behavioral health therapist and seek top-notch healthcare advice and health education. 

Why Do You Need Functional Medicine

The main mission of the institute for functional medicine has been to both educate and provide support for implementing this practice in the healthcare sector. Here are the top reasons why opt for functional medicine:


Conventional medicine is generally based on disease management. It will focus on managing illness instead of optimizing well-being through therapeutic and preventative lifestyle strategies. You’ll need prescription drugs to deal with symptoms of the underlying condition.

On the contrary, functional medicine will promote good health and patient-centered care. This is because the functional medicine clinicians you talk to will aim to prevent, reverse, investigate disease and treat its underlying cause. 

Its Patient-Centered

Functional medicine spurs patients to play an active and engaging role in their treatment and pursue first-line therapy. At the same time, a conventional doctor will provide the answers that a patient passively gets. 

Is Holistic and Not Specialized 

In functional medicine, doctors view the body as interconnected in a large setting. To treat one part of the body, you must consider other parts. This is in contrast to conventional medicine, which sees the body as a collection of separate parts that require a specific doctor to treat. 


Functional medicine is incredibly cost-effective and helps get to the bottom of your health concerns. It’s a practice that helps you spend ample time doing proper testing and learn how to change the things that keep you sick. You don’t have to spend much, which is a great investment return. 

Other reasons you shouldn’t have any reservations about visiting functional medicine practitioners include the following:

  • Relieves symptoms by addressing the cause of chronic illness.
  • It’s high-tech and utilizes the right tools.
  • It involves a preventative approach. 
  • Integrating the best medical practices creates a focus on diet, nutrition, exercise, testing, and other diagnostic techniques. 

What Does a Functional Medical Doctor Do

A functional medicine doctor will use a patient-centered approach to find the root causes of chronic diseases and prevent them. Your functional medicine doctor will use this approach most effectively to help deal with chronic diseases. 

The doctor will use the latest lab testing and diagnostic technique, use botanical medicines and prescribe combinations of drugs to treat disease. The clinicians you choose will also offer high-quality disease prevention techniques that include dependency on diet, nutrition, and exercise. 

You’ll need to visit a functional medicine doctor if and when:

  1. Conventional medicine isn’t working. To help you with your decision, check your medical history or past and current medical test results.
  2. Dealing with chronic illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, muscle pain, epilepsy, heart and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  3. Open to alternative medicine and therapies conventional doctors don’t provide.
  4. You’re looking for a longer appointment to record detailed information about your condition or medical history.
  5. You’re looking for a personalized experience with a functional doctor. 

Cleveland Clinic is one of the top institutes for functional medicine under the guidance of Mark Hyman. The clinic has been at the forefront of providing top-notch treatments, diagnostic procedures, and therapies. 


What is an Example of Functional Medicine

Functional medicine offers services such as massage, osteopathy, body movement therapies, and yoga. Other practitioners also offer chiropractic medicine, acupuncture, and naturopathy.

What is the difference between a Functional Doctor and a Regular Doctor

A regular doctor is trained in standard medical practices and will manage and treat symptoms. On the other hand, a functional doctor will seek to investigate the underlying causes of the problem and use a different focus to treat it.