Imagine you are driving in your car and the “check engine light” comes on. This indicates something is wrong, right? You take the car into the mechanic, the mechanic then pops the hood. Instead of looking for the cause, the mechanic clips the wire to turn off the light and then sends you on your way. Does it sound like the mechanic got to the root cause of the problem? That is what it feels like with modern medicine. You see your doctor because your “check engine light” (aka-symptoms or disease) comes on. Your call your doctor and he or she sends you home with a pill that is supposed to turn the “check engine light” (aka-symptoms or disease) off. Functional medicine takes a deeper look under the hood. Functional medicine is looking for the HOW and WHY disease occurs. Only by addressing the root causes, unique to each individual, will you have the ability to restore health.
Think of Functional Medicine as a whole new way of addressing disease. In some circumstances, you can be born with a disease; this is due to your genes. However, the vast majority DEVELOP disease throughout their life time. Disease begins with dysfunction. Disease is a downstream effect of dysfunction or imbalance that occurred further upstream. A system that is out of balance causes you to move downstream toward disease. With functional medicine we start at the disease, look upstream to uncover the imbalance or dysfunction, find out how and why it occurred and work to resolve it. Functional medicine compliments traditional medical knowledge but our goal is different. Our goal is to find the root cause and reverse disease rather than manage a disease.
For example, lets look at depression. Despite popular belief, depression is not a Prozac deficiency. Depression can have many causes and the cause of one person’s depression could be totally different than another’s. Really, any one disease or condition may have multiple causes (i.e., multiple clinical imbalances), just as one fundamental imbalance may be at the root of many diseases. Again, Functional Medicine is a whole new way of thinking!