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Exploring Functional Medicine

As patients’ health care needs and knowledge develops, many health care practitioners here in the Rochester Hills area and elsewhere are making a transition toward functional medicine. Functional medicine differs from traditional medicine in many important ways. Traditional medicine tends to be disease centered. Functional medicine takes a whole-patient approach, and helps people maintain better health overall instead of just treating discrete illnesses.


Many patients find this style of care far more empowering. In functional medicine, health is not just the absence of illness or disease. Health is a positive vitality. Doctors who practice functional medicine tailor care specifically to a patient’s needs. They listen to the patient, and collaborate with the patient to arrive at treatments that work best to keep that patient well.


What Makes Functional Medicine Different?

Functional medicine focuses on the entire patient instead of treating one system at a time. A patient’s entire history is taken into account. Doctors start with genetics, and go on to explore family history and that patient’s personal history to find clues to causes for illness. A patient’s physiology, mental health, spirituality and social environment are all taken into account.


Functional medicine programs offer treatment for:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Chronic pain
  • Digestive health
  • Allergies
  • Mental well being
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Infertility


Functional medicine is also integrative care. In addition to traditional Western medicine, a doctor who practices functional medicine will incorporate many alternative and complementary medical practices. For instance, herbal medicines and supplements may be prescribed in addition to pharmaceuticals. Diet, nutrition and exercise regimens are developed to help prevent illness and support optimal health and well-being. Doctors will also look at stress as a possible contributor to disease and help the patient develop coping techniques that might include yoga, meditation or massage.


By treating the whole patient and placing an emphasis on wellness over the treatment of disease, functional medicine helps patients develop better health and well-being.