What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine addresses the underlying cause of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and physician in a therapeutic partnership.  By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medicine to a more patient centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine is an evolution in the practice of traditional medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of people today.  Functional medicine physicians spend more time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that can influence long term health and complex, chronic disease.  In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual, allowing people to reach their optimal health.

Why do we need Functional Medicine?

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.  The traditional system of medicine is oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of illness that is of short duration.  The focus is to treat the immediate problem or symptom with no long term plan in place to attack the medical concern.  The acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease as previously mentioned.  In many cases, this approach does not take into account the unique history of the patient (the genetic make-up of each individual and environmental factors) that today’s lifestyle imposes upon people.

Functional Medicine seeks to improve the quality of life for people.  It will help healthy individuals maintain balance in their lives and assist struggling individuals to gain control of their health through more simple, natural ways like nutrition and exercise.   Dr. Schoenwalder will adequately provide patients with long term plans for optimal health.