understanding the pillars of our philosophy
Functional medicine determines how and why illness occurs, and then works to restore health, by addressing the root cause of disease for each individual. It is a new approach to health and wellness that harnesses medical knowledge from multiple sources, and, in tandem with understanding each patient’s unique medical history, strives to develop a treatment plan that treats the root causes of problems and issues.
Functional medicine, while still being a somewhat new approach to health, is seen by many as the future of conventional medicine. It emphasises a definable and teachable process of bringing together multiple knowledge bases within a pragmatic intellectual matrix that focuses on functionality at many levels, rather than a single treatment for a single diagnosis.
Whereas conventional medicine often relies on outdated thinking and treating the symptoms, rather than the core issue, functional medicine takes its cues from an approach that identifies the root causes of disease and views the body as one complete system, not a collection of individual organs and areas, then treats the whole person.
Functional medicine looks at a complete picture of health and is true to the original constitution of the World Health Organisation that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
There is currently a huge gap in time between published research and changing how doctors practice and the advice they can give their patients. This is, on average, a delay of around 15 years, but in some cases, it can be as many as 50 years. By staying up to date with training and research, doctors who practice functional medicine stay ahead of the medical system and provide high-quality care for their patients.
Functional medical practitioners begin by taking a detailed and full medical history, doing appropriate tests and using an individual, patient-centred, science-based approach, where the patient and practitioner work together to address the underlying causes of disease, reduce or eliminate symptoms and promote optimal health. Functional medicine uses the patient’s story as a key tool for integrating diagnosis, signs and symptoms, and evidence of clinical imbalances into a comprehensive approach, to improve both the patient’s environmental inputs and his or her physiological function.
Functional medicine requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and uses that data to create a personalized treatment plan. It uses recent scientific evidence and research to help guide decisions and by working together with your practitioner in partnership you can achieve positive results.
Dr Jess has been using lifestyle medicine in her practice for 15 years but completed extensive functional medicine practitioner training with the IFM (Institute for Functional Medicine), certifying in 2020. Functional medicine training includes in-depth evidence based training in epigenetics, the gut microbiome, allergies and intolerances, extended lab testing and understanding of cholesterol and metabolic risk factors, individualised nutrition and diet and toxin assessment and exposure.
This is why, at The Natural Doctors, we take a truly combined approach to our health advice and encourage our members to not just look at the symptoms they may be experiencing, but also to consider other lifestyle factors and how, by addressing the root cause, they can experience better, more successful results, than simply treating the issue. Jess’ extensive training also applies that functional medicine training to enable her to consider other medicine sources, such as traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homoeopathy and natural medicine, alongside her formal medical and functional medicine training.