How Does Functional Medicine Work?

A question i am often asked by my clients is “How does Functional Medicine work?”. I reply that Functional Medicine is a different way of looking at our health and well-being. It is an extremely effective way of discovering why we feel the way we do.

Nutritional food being squashed into a supplement pill

Functional Medicine helps us to discover the why behind our health and well-being. A label or diagnosis is not the end for Functional Medicine, it is the beginning… The Functional Medicine model views our body as a series of systems, the functions these systems perform, and how each of these systems interact. From this starting point, it is possible to identify the areas that are not performing so well. 

Crucially, the Functional Medicine model can help improve the way these systems work together. Functional Medicine uses appropriate foods, supplementations, and a variety of other lifestyle modifications to areas of our life such as sleep, stress and exercise, to help resolve the Why behind our health and Well-being. 

What is the Functional Medicine model?

The Functional Medicine model is divided into 7 main systems. These systems cover key functions that our body needs to perform well in order for you to be healthy and happy. The 7 systems are as follows:

  1. Assimilation – This system covers the way our body digests and absorbs food. It considers the role of our gut, microbiome, and respiration in our health and well-being. 
  2. Defence and Repair – This system covers how our body defends itself against various forms of attack, and how it can repair any damage that may result. It focusses on our immune system function, and the crucial influence that inflammation can have upon health and disease.
  3. Energy – This system covers the way our body produces and regulates energy. This includes the vital and increasingly important topic of mitochondrial function, the focus of a great deal of developing research into pretty much all aspects of health and disease. 
  4. Biotransformation and Elimination – This system covers the way our body is influenced by toxicity. It involves both the identification of possible toxins, and the process of detoxification within the body. 
  5. Transport – This system covers the various transportation requirements of our body, including the role of the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems in these requirements. 
  6. Communication – This system covers the many functions of communication within our body, and the role that hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune system messengers have to play in this critical part of good health and well-being. 
  7. Structural Integrity – This system is far reaching and covers from the microscopic sub-cellular structures, right through to the musculoskeletal frame, and everything in between.  

At the centre of the Functional Medicine model are the very personal and unique elements that interact to make us who we are. The impact of which upon our health simply cannot be underestimated or ignored. These include:

  1. Mental – Including our cognitive functions, thought process and unique patterns of perception. 
  2. Emotional – Including our ability to regulate our emotions, and process the many forms we experience; From grief, to anger, to sadness, and many more. 
  3. Spiritual – Including the meaning and purpose behind our life, and the consideration of our relationship with something far greater than ourselves. 

Lastly, the Functional Medicine model considers the predisposing factors that have contributed to how we are feeling, the triggering events that may have caused us to develop our symptoms, and the factors that may be maintaining the problems we are experiencing.

The Functional Medicine model chart
The Functional Medicine model helps us discover why we feel the way we do.

So, how does Functional Medicine work? Very well is the simple answer. It is an incredibly logical and inclusive approach to promoting health and well-being, that is now rapidly gaining the recognition it deserves. If you would like to learn more, you can book a free 10 minute introductory call today.