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What is Functional Medicine?

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Learn about functional medicine from the team at Elixir and Wellness in Scottsdale

Functional medicine is an exciting approach to health and wellness, and if you’re reading this article, you probably have a friend or coworker who has experienced the benefits for themselves. Now you’re wondering, “What is functional medicine?” Many aspects of functional medicine will seem familiar to those who have explored alternative medicine, while other elements may be entirely new.

If you've been struggling to find relief from health issues or are seeking a more comprehensive and personalized approach to your well-being, it's time to discover the benefits of functional medicine with Elixir and Wellness in Scottsdale.

Keep reading to learn how to take the next step toward optimal wellness.

The Foundation of Functional Medicine

At its core, functional medicine is centered on the idea of uncovering and treating the root causes of disease rather than merely addressing symptoms. Unlike the conventional medical model that often relies on medications, surgeries, and insurance-driven care, patients in the Scottsdale community are becoming increasingly drawn to other approaches to help them with their health . Functional medicine provides a holistic and patient-centered approach that aims to understand the unique causes contributing to an individual's health concerns.

Chronic Fatigue: An Example of Functional Medicine in Action

Let's consider a hypothetical example to illustrate how functional medicine works. Imagine a person is suffering from chronic fatigue and frequent headaches. Instead of prescribing painkillers to alleviate the headaches and boost energy, the functional medicine doctors at Elixir and Wellness, would delve deeper into the patient's health history, lifestyle, diet, and environmental factors. Through comprehensive testing, the doctor may discover nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalances, or even underlying gut issues contributing to the symptoms.

The Five Foundations of Functional Medicine

While every functional medicine wellness plan is tailored to each person’s unique needs, there are a few foundations that guide each plan. Take a look at the following pillars to get a sense of how comprehensive functional medicine can be.

1. Testing

Comprehensive and advanced laboratory testing is a fundamental aspect of functional medicine. These tests help identify imbalances, deficiencies, and potential triggers for health issues that may not be evident through conventional tests. From analyzing bloodwork to assessing genetic markers, functional medicine practitioners use cutting-edge diagnostics to gain a more profound understanding of each patient's unique biology.

2. Natural Remedies

Functional medicine doctors prioritize natural approaches to healing whenever possible. Rather than resorting to pharmaceutical drugs as a first line of treatment, they often recommend evidence-based botanicals, supplements, and lifestyle modifications to support the body's innate ability to heal.

3. Holistic Health

Functional medicine recognizes that the body is a complex and interconnected system. Rather than focusing on treatment of only one symptom at a time will not bring about healing to the whole body. It acknowledges the intricate relationships between various bodily systems and addresses health issues by considering the physical, emotional, and environmental aspects of a person's life.

4. Disease Prevention

Prevention is at the heart of functional medicine. Instead of waiting for illness to strike, practitioners focus on identifying and addressing risk factors early on, empowering patients to take charge of their health and prevent chronic diseases before they manifest.

5. Personalized Wellness Plans

Each individual's health journey is unique, and functional medicine embraces this diversity. Practitioners at Elixir and Wellness in Scottsdale create personalized wellness plans tailored to each patient's specific needs, health goals, and genetic makeup. This personalized approach enhances the likelihood of successful outcomes and long-term well-being.

How is Functional Medicine Different from Conventional Care?

Conventional care still has its place in the broader healthcare system, but it’s not enough for most of us to live a healthy optimal life. From full patient schedules to rushed appointments, there are legitimate reasons people are seeking alternative models like functional medicine. In fact, functional medicine differs from conventional care in several significant ways.

1. Root Cause Focus Vs. Symptom Focus

One of the most prominent distinctions between the two models is the approach to identifying and addressing the root causes of health issues. While conventional care often treats symptoms with medications or surgeries, functional medicine delves deeper into a patient's health history, lifestyle, genetics, and environmental factors to uncover the underlying imbalances or triggers that contribute to the symptoms. Conventional care is all about the quick fix, while functional medicine digs deeper and focuses on long-term lifestyle changes.

2. No One-Size-Fits-All Recommendations

Functional medicine takes a highly individualized approach to patient care. Instead of following a one-size-fits-all treatment protocol, functional medicine practitioners create personalized wellness plans based on each patient's unique needs, health goals, and genetic makeup. This customized approach ensures that the treatment addresses the specific factors affecting the individual's health, optimizing the chances of successful outcomes.

3. Emphasis on Prevention Over Reactive Treatment

Unlike the reactive nature of conventional medicine, functional medicine prioritizes disease prevention and proactive health management. Through comprehensive testing and risk assessment, functional medicine practitioners identify potential health risks early on, empowering patients to make lifestyle changes and interventions that prevent chronic illnesses before they manifest. This preventive approach fosters long-term well-being and empowers individuals to take charge of their health.

This Article is Just the Beginning. See How Functional Medicine Can Transform Your Life Through Elixir and Wellness

As functional medicine continues to gain traction across the nation, people in Scottsdale are fortunate to have access to Elixir and Wellness for this unique approach. We’re a dedicated team of practitioners committed to providing holistic, personalized, and cutting-edge care.

If you're ready to experience the transformative power of functional medicine and unlock your full health potential, we encourage you to take the next step and schedule an initial wellness consultation. Let’s get to the root causes of your health issues today!

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