Why Functional Medicine?

Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as a heart attack or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.


Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine is ill equipped to address complex, chronic disease. In most cases, the model does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual and does not allow time for exploring the aspects of today's lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society; critical environmental factors such as stress, diet and exposure to toxins. As a result, most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease, nor to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.


Functional Medicine offers a new approach to management and prevention of chronic disease that embodies the art and science of medicine. It integrates what we know about how the human body works with patient-centered, science based care. Functional Medicine addresses the causes of chronic disease, which are rooted in lifestyle choices, environmental exposures and genetic influences. It also emphasizes the therapeutic partnership, which engages the heart, mind and spirit of both the practitioner and the patient, and encourages moments of deep in site that contribute to more comprehensive answers to stubborn, complex medical problems. Functional Medicine offers a paradigm shift in clinical practice, and produces a more effective response to chronic disease and pain.


At IRMC, patient-centered care is the core of what we call the therapeutic partnership: the relationship that forms between a patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take ownership of their own healing. The power of the therapeutic partnership comes from the idea that patients who are active participants in the development of the their therapeutic plan are enabled to be more in control of their own well-being and are more likely to make sustained lifestyle changes to improve their health.


Functional Medicine is guided by six core principles:

  1. An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness.

  2. Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment.

  3. Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind and spirit.

  4. Interconnections of internal physiological factors.

  5. Identification of health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease, and emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology.

  6. Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.