Chronic disease is climbing in the United States at an alarming rate. Six out of 10 adults have a chronic disease, and four in 10 have two or more conditions. Our life expectancy has dropped—for the third year in a row—and heart disease and cancer are the leading causes of death in the nation. The global cost of treating chronic illnesses is projected to reach $47 trillion by the year 2030, unless something can be done to stop this epidemic. That’s where Functional Medicine comes in.
Functional Medicine is a holistic, patient-centered, collaborative approach to healthcare. By using ancestral health strategies to align our bodies more closely with our environment, it shifts the focus away from treating illnesses as they occur to preventing them from developing in the first place. The Functional Medicine approach deals directly with the underlying cause of a health issue and treats each patient as a whole, unique individual. Practitioners work together with health coaches, nutritionists, and other allied health providers to support patients as they make their journey toward wellness.
While the Functional Medicine approach is all about preventing or reversing chronic illnesses, the conventional approach focuses on disease management. Rather than encouraging true health, conventional practitioners simply diagnose an illness and try to suppress the symptoms with prescription drugs. Those drugs seldom address the root cause of the problem. Instead, they mask symptoms and sometimes even suppress vital bodily functions, leading to unintended side effects—and additional prescriptions to deal with them. That medication treadmill effectively creates patients for life, and it never solves the underlying cause of the illness.
Here’s how it typically works in conventional healthcare: A person with high blood pressure, for example, would sit through a 10-minute appointment with a doctor and leave with a prescription for a new drug. After that, she’s on her own until her next appointment. A Functional Medicine practitioner would instead take the time to uncover what was causing the problem before determining which diet, lifestyle, and environmental interventions would address it. Then, he would develop an individualized treatment plan together with health coaches and other trained professionals to support their patient as she takes steps to improve her cardiovascular health. That approach leads to profound, longer-lasting results for patients—and greater satisfaction for practitioners.
Ready to learn more about how the Functional Medicine approach works? Check out the resources below.
How the Functional Medicine Approach Can Prevent or Reverse Chronic Disease
Read More about the Unconventional Approach to Medicine
Why are so many of us suffering from chronic illnesses? Put simply, there’s a mismatch between our bodies and our environment.
All organisms on Earth are adapted to live in a specific environment. A mismatch occurs when that environment changes dramatically—and the organism has no time to adapt. In humans, that mismatch between our genes and our modern lives is the primary reason why chronic disease has become the monumental problem it is today.
To solve that problem, we need to correct the mismatch through ancestral health. By following the example set by our Paleo hunter–gatherer ancestors, we can enjoy long, healthy lives free from chronic illness.
That means eating whole, nutrient-dense foods (not processed toxins), exercising often (not leading sedentary lives), and embracing time-tested stress management techniques, sleep habits, and other ancestral lifestyle approaches (not leading lonely, busy lives).
Want to learn how to live every day like our Paleo ancestors? Find out more about ancestral health.
How to Use Ancestral Health to Fight Chronic Disease
Functional Medicine doesn’t just benefit patients; it’s more rewarding and fulfilling for practitioners too.
And, as we’re facing a growing shortage of primary care physicians, that matters. More than 50 percent of doctors say they feel burned out, and that sense of profound dissatisfaction is causing many practitioners to leave healthcare altogether. As more and more doctors lose interest in the profession, that phenomenon will only get worse—and chronic illness will continue to spread.
Functional Medicine gives practitioners like you the tools needed to truly help patients improve their health and their lives. It emphasizes a high quality of care for patients without putting an undue burden on practitioners. The workload is spread out among a collaborative care team that includes nutritionists, health coaches, and other allied care providers, so you have enough time and support to figure out the root cause of a patient’s condition before coming up with a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan. And, since the functional approach includes ancestral health techniques that work, you get the added satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped people better their health.
Ready to join the revolution to reinvent healthcare? Learn more about how Functional Medicine can help you build a practice you love.