Principles of Functional Medicine
Principles that govern Functional Medicine
1. Primum non nocere – First do no harm
Is it possible to help the majority of people without harmful pharmaceuticals or all too often unnecessary surgery?
2. Vital Force/Innate Intelligence
Functional Medicine recognizes the body as a self-healing, self regulating organism, with an innate intelligence and capacity to maintain homeodynamics. We acknowledge that given the right support and care, the body will be able to return to optimal function with minimal external intervention.
Functional Medicine recognizes that every cell in the body affects every other cell. Recognizing the body as a holistic organism, in which all systems and functions of the body influence and are influenced by one another – a complex symphony of interrelated components that are greater than the sum of its parts.
4. Person Centered
Functional Medicine Practitioners treat the whole person and their uniqueness, not the disease. Functional Medicine Practitioners look at all aspects of the person: their background, experiences, genetic biases, spiritual and emotional state, socio-economic circumstances etc. There is no standard protocol or pre-determined regiment that everyone must abide by. Treatment must match the person’s singularity.
Functional Medicine seeks to promote the health and wellbeing of our patients by emphasizing the principle of prevention. This is the understanding that the prevention of disease through education is the most compassionate and humane way of providing healthcare to individuals. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Functional Medicine Practitioners are leaders of education and health knowledge in their community. The Latin origin of doctor is docere, which means to teach, and Functional Medicine doctors are first and foremost health educators. If people are educated about their current health issues, underlying causes and how to return to health, compliance will go up and a long-term health sustaining lifestyle will be more likely adopted.
7. Be an Example
Functional Medicine Practitioners must be an example of health and vitality in their community. The principles of health that the patients are expected to learn, the practitioner must also have integrated into his/her everyday life. This highlights the understanding that we lead by example, and knowledge is communicated by actions more than just mere words. A universal law exists which states the teacher cannot take the student beyond what he has integrated himself.
8. Evidence based care
Functional Medicine seeks true knowledge and understanding using all resources available. Utilizing the best that science has to offer in both the natural and allopathic fields allows emerging, cutting edge research, ideas and theories to be integrated into every day clinical practice.
Don’t forget common sense when it comes to research!
9. Primary Care
Functional Medicine Practitioners understand a wide variety of health issues and complications and are therefore the most qualified to assess and treat most health conditions seen in a clinical setting. Functional Medicine Practitioners recognize rare and difficult to treat cases and coordinate care among other health professionals when necessary. Functional Medicine Practitioners are also trained in the most cost-effective and efficacious treatments and can potentially eliminate costly and needless procedures and treatments, eliminating wasteful healthcare spending.
Health is not merely the absence of disease but a fully functioning, vital, optimized, harmonized flow of all systems and organs in body, mind and spirit. The level of health one wishes to experience is up to the individual. Functional Medicine Practitioners promote the highest health goals that are achievable.
11. Natural First
Functional Medicine uses natural methods of health restoration and promotion understanding the high risks and side-effects associated with pharmaceutical use. Prescription medication is often needed in life-saving situations, and is rarely needed long-term. When pharmaceutical intervention is needed, Functional Medicine Practitioners will render appropriate care or refer to a practitioner who may assist in the administration of appropriate, timely care.
Functional Medicine places the responsibility of health back on the individual and not solely on the doctor. The doctor-patient relationship is a partnership in which participation is required by both. Each individual is taught the consequences of their actions on their own health as well as the rest of society.
13. Service with Integrity
Functional Medicine Practitioners hold themselves to the highest of moral and ethical standards. The sole purpose of the Functional Medicine Practitioner is to be of service to the individual seeking care and expertise, not the advancement of any personal agenda or ego desire. Monetary gain will always be a natural product of sincere efforts.
14. Dedication to Professional Development
Functional Medicine Practitioners are committed to life-long learning and continuous professional education. Given the current body of knowledge and pace of scientific and clinical advancement, it is the privilege and responsibility of the Functional Medicine Practitioner to seek out current and cutting-edge opportunities for education and advancement of knowledge and expertise.