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The Benefits Of Functional Medicine: A Human-Centred Approach To Health And Healing

Posted by Agnes Lussier-Dow NP-PHC on 31 January 2022
The Benefits Of Functional Medicine: A Human-Centred Approach To Health And Healing

What Is Functional Medicine?

Are you familiar with the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? It’s one that aligns well with the core principles of functional medicine. 

It is a systems biology-based approach to health and healing.  Functional medicine never stops at treating symptoms.  Instead, it focuses on finding (and fixing) the root cause of disease. In this way, functional medicine nurtures sustainable long-term health and prevents illness from taking root in the first place. 

In many ways, treating a patient with a functional medicine approach is a lot like putting together a puzzle. Before you can diagnose and treat a disease, you have to have all the puzzle pieces on the table. Every piece connects to another and creates the bigger picture.

When I gather the pieces for my patients, I look at things like their:

  • genetics

  • personal and family medical history

  • physical and energetic environment

  • lifestyle (including diet)

  • mental health

  • and more

The body is made up of interconnected systems, and each one is a piece of your whole health puzzle.  The places where pieces of the puzzle don't line up or are missing show me where we need to investigate. Once we discover the root cause of your symptoms, we can treat it, restore balance and prevent your disease from returning. That's functional medicine.


Puzzle pieces scattered on a white table.


FAQs About Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is different from the conventional medical approach most people are used to. If you have questions about this approach, great! We encourage questions and conversations between patients and their healthcare providers. It’s part of what makes functional medicine collaborative and empowering. 

Here are answers to a few of the most asked FAQs about functional medicine.

Q: Is functional medicine based on science?

A: Yes! Absolutely. Always. Healthcare providers working from a functional medicine approach make full use of diagnostic tests before making a diagnosis and deciding on a treatment. In fact, because our approach is systematic and wholistic, the lab tests we order are sometimes more extensive than other doctors. They often include checks for vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as hormone imbalances.

Q: Does treatment take longer with functional medicine than with conventional medicine?

A: Yes and no. The assessment process with a functional medicine approach is in-depth and sometimes lengthy.  But, once we discover the root cause of your symptoms and decide on a treatment, healing can begin. The functional medicine approach might not give you instant results but they will be long-lasting. Once we resolve the underlying issues, you won't have to revisit the problem again--it can be gone for good.

Q: Why doesn't my current doctor practice medicine this way?

A:  The short answer is simply because they were not trained in functional medicine. Conventional (allopathic) medicine is the "norm" for medical training. It tends to focus on making you feel better by treating symptoms. And, while there is a place for this type of medicine, functional medicine focuses on reversing and preventing disease. 


Agnes Lussier Dow NP PHC with quote about functional medicine

How Does This Approach To Medicine Benefit You? 

Functional medicine's greatest benefit is the potential for achieving long-term optimal health.  Getting to the root of whatever is causing your symptoms is always the goal. Once the root issues are resolved, restoring balance to your body's systems, preventing illness and increasing your natural resiliency are all possible.

Whatsmore, functional medicine is fundamentally human-centred. This approach encourages collaboration between patients and healthcare providers. It empowers you to be an active participant in your own healthcare.

When we work together to solve your personal health puzzle, you will feel

  • heard & respected

  • actively involved in decisions for your own care and treatment

  • seen as a unique individual--not only as a set of symptoms

Another benefit is that functional medicine makes healing accessible to people in ways that conventional medicine often overlooks. Food, movement and positive mental health are all possible treatment options. Supplements and natural therapies are next on the list of choices. And, prescriptions are held in reserve when acute intervention is needed.  More options for treatment means more accessible healthcare.

Empower Yourself With Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is gaining popularity among patients and practitioners alike. Its focus on rooting out and preventing disease has long-lasting benefits. By employing the latest scientific research and making use of the full spectrum of tests and diagnostic tools in a wholistic and human-centred approach to health and healing, functional medicine has the potential to change the way healthcare happens.

If long-term health is your goal, functional medicine may be the approach you've been looking for. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us to set up an initial assessment today. We're ready to help you find the missing puzzle pieces.

Author:Agnes Lussier-Dow NP-PHC
Tags:women's healthfunctional medicineBody Mind Soul