Functional Medicine V Western Medicine

How Functional Medicine differs to Western Medicine

Our patients always ask, “How do you differ from conventional medicine?,” or why should I use a functional medicine doctor over my conventional doctor? Given that Science and research are always making significant progress in a host of different conditions what are conventional doctors missing? Let’s give an example. If you get knocked over by a car or need brain surgery, a functional medicine practitioner won’t be appropriate. For that side of medicine, it’s quite clear, that conventional medicine has made huge strides with incredible new discoveries that are truly life saving. However, for chronic illness, there have been very few advances being made in the last 20 to 30 years with the exact same approaches, limiting beliefs, and similar drugs being used with not a great success rate and with far too many side effects that doesn’t justify their investment.

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How Functional Medicine Practitioners treat Chronic Disease

If we look at some basic issues that are affecting people on a daily basis, such as irritable bowel syndrome, data tells us that in up to 60% to 70% of cases, SIBO is the cause of irritable bowel syndrome, yet there is still no breath testing being done by GP’s with slightly more gastroenterologists using this test although the number is growing slowly.. The patient can go literally years without finding out the true cause of their IBS. Another common issue is GERD which conventionally is treated with PPIs when in fact in 90% of the cases, the issue is low stomach acid and NOT high stomach acid. Autoimmune is another area that the patient isn’t given much hope, except for being prescribed palliative immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of their lives. Other chronic conditions are on the rise, too. Obesity is now an epidemic in most western countries. The number of children suffering from allergies, asthma, and autism is on the rise. More patients are being diagnosed with other chronic conditions including digestive disorders, chronic fatigue, and chronic skin conditions. The long and short of it is we are not making progress for many common and chronic conditions from an allopathic point of view. In all these cases and many more conditions, functional medicine doctors and practitioners in London and across the country support these conditions very successfully with eradication of the symptoms or at the very least making symptoms a lot more manageable on a daily basis.

Isolated Body Systems

Functional medicine directly contrasts conventional medicine, which examines the body in isolated body systems. When specialists examine isolated systems, the connection to other systems are completely missed. The problem with this approach is that our body is inherently connected and a functional medicine approach is able to make the connection between all symptoms, which initially can seem unrelated. Functional Medicine doctors UK and practitioners are trained to look for these nuances and understand the synergistic relationships that are occurring.

Perhaps the most important difference between functional medicine and conventional healthcare is the understanding that diseases and chronic symptoms can be inherently reversed, rather than simply managed.

The functional medicine approach is a ‘root cause’ approach to chronic disease, by understanding how diet, environment and lifestyle factors interact with genetics to bring about any imbalance. Finding out “the why” about person’s disease can help bring about resolution, or greatly stop the progression.

Nutrition, Environment and Lifestyle

Another important aspect of functional medicine is it considers the environment around you. Conventional medicine doesn’t normally take the environment into account. The people, places, and things we surrounded by on the daily basis have a significant impact on our health.

In functional medicine, we use the analogy of a tree to convey our approach to healthcare and how it differs from the norm. The branches are the signs and symptoms of a health condition. The roots are the causes of health conditions and include the foundations of health such as nutrition, lifestyle and environment. Conventional care treats the leaves (symptoms or condition), whereas functional medicine treats the roots. This approach is where we see the biggest impact on health and bringing resolution to long standing issues and conditions that have had a detrimental affect on ones quality of life. 

london center for functional medicine

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