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What is Functional Medicine?

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What is Functional Medicine? In this blog we’ll explore this increasingly popular medical approach. Understand what it is and how it could benefit you.

Functional Medicine is a highly personalised, holistic and thorough approach to healthcare. In fact, the ultimate goal and belief within the field of functional medicine is that the body is capable of healing itself, if the root cause is identified.

The cause of an illness is often treated in isolation, with the focus given on one particular ailment or symptom. Functional Medicine explores the wider factors that play a part in our overall health.

  • Proactive: Assessing the health and functioning of the body against risk factors for illness to develop
  • Historic: For those with an existing health issue, taking a look at their personal, social, medical and family history to identify any possible underlying causes
  • Holistic: Spending the time to look at a person’s overall health, diet, lifestyle and any seemingly unrelated symptoms to see if they could contribute towards illness

How does Functional Medicine differ from Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine has long championed the interconnected nature of mind, body, spirit and emotion. Its very alter ego, ‘holistic medicine’ looks at the body as a whole, rather than focusing on isolated components. In this way, the two are similar. But, Functional Medicine takes a more clinical approach. It is not seen as an alternative to Western medicine either, especially when treating acute cases where medicine is essential. Rather, it offers a fresh perspective for managing one’s overall health in the long-term.

Practitioners of Functional Medicine suggest that some diseases, especially chronic diseases, are treatable by identifying the root cause of the illness. Rather than treating the disease in isolation or using drugs alone to treat the symptoms, Functional Medicine suggests we dig deeper. What are the historical factors that could have contributed to it? What current conditions outside the body might play a part? How are the other parts of the body functioning? And what else do we need to know about that person as an individual?

What are the benefits of Functional Medicine?

It’s long-term

The biggest benefit of Functional Medicine is that it is focused on long-term health and wellbeing. By working closely with a medical professional on an ongoing basis, patients can understand more about their body and its functions. In this way, they’ll get a much better understanding of how to look after it, prevent disease and improve their overall health.

**It’s personal **

Functional Medicine looks at every case on an individual basis. Rather than referring to a textbook and applying a standardised solution to your problem, a Functional Medicine practitioner will explore every potential factor that could contribute to any ill health. Your past and present will be relevant and you’ll work together on a care plan that is tailored to you.

It’s participatory

As the patient, you have a responsibility and opportunity to take an active role in the management of your health. Rather than hearing a list of alien-sounding ailments, medicines and treatments, you’ll gain a personal understanding of how the body works, what factors affect it and what you can do to treat existing conditions or prevent future illness. It’s an empowering approach to managing your wellbeing.

The top causes of death in the UK include Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Ischaemic heart diseases and Cerebrovascular diseases. Most people don’t even fully understand the terminology of these diseases, let alone their causes and how to prevent them! Functional Medicine aims to demystify ailments by educating patients about how the body functions, naturally and in response to external factors. Mental health, social environment, historic factors and genetic predisposition all play a part.

Once you understand the root cause, you can then begin making the right adjustments to treat it. These may be physical, environmental or lifestyle based. At Vala, every practitioner in the field of Functional Medicine is a highly qualified and experienced medical doctor. It’s critical that you work with a medical professional when treating any chronic diseases or recurring ailments. This is important for your safety and will offer you the best chance of a successful recovery.

At Vala Health, we believe that every person should have access to healthcare on-demand. Taking control of your healthcare can make a huge difference to your long-term happiness and wellbeing. World class technology makes it possible.

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