The Legitimacy of Functional Medicine

May 17, 2023



In the 21st century, our understanding of health and wellness is evolving, leading to paradigm shifts in healthcare. One such approach gaining recognition is functional medicine. It’s a holistic, patient-centered approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of diseases. Unlike conventional medicine, which often concentrates on managing symptoms, functional medicine treats the whole body as an integrated system. This blog post aims to explore the concept of functional medicine and shed light on its legitimacy as a comprehensive approach to health.


A Holistic View of the Body:


Functional medicine takes a holistic view of the body, recognizing that it is an interconnected system rather than a collection of independent organs. Instead of isolating and treating individual symptoms, functional medicine aims to understand the complex web of interactions within the body. Each patient has a unique set of environmental and genetic factors that influence their health. By considering these factors, functional medicine practitioners can develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to the individual.


Patient-Practitioner Collaboration:


At the heart of functional medicine is a collaborative relationship between the patient and practitioner. Functional medicine practitioners spend considerable time with their patients, delving deep into their medical history and exploring the various factors that contribute to their health. This comprehensive approach allows for a more thorough understanding of the patient’s biology, lifestyle, and environment. Based on this understanding, practitioners develop personalized treatment plans that may include nutritional modifications, stress management techniques, exercise programs, and targeted pharmaceutical interventions when necessary.


Evidence-Based Approach:


Critics often question the evidence behind functional medicine, but this skepticism is not entirely accurate. Functional medicine is firmly rooted in scientific research, drawing from fields such as genomics, nutrition science, and epigenetics. By understanding the complex interactions between genes, nutrition, and the environment, functional medicine seeks to address the underlying causes of diseases.


Numerous peer-reviewed studies and clinical trials support the efficacy of functional medicine interventions. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) demonstrated that functional medicine can lead to improved health outcomes and increased patient satisfaction compared to traditional models of care. These findings provide strong evidence for the legitimacy of functional medicine as a valid healthcare approach.


Integration with Conventional Medicine:


Functional medicine does not reject conventional medicine but rather aims to integrate the best of both worlds. By combining evidence-based research and personalized patient care, functional medicine complements conventional medical treatments. It fills the gaps left by conventional medicine’s focus on symptom management, allowing for a more comprehensive approach to patient health.


Recognition and Future Growth:


While functional medicine is a relatively new field, it aligns with other recognized and rapidly growing healthcare approaches such as precision medicine and personalized medicine. The Institute for Functional Medicine, a leading institution promoting this approach, has collaborated with prestigious organizations like the Cleveland Clinic, which established its own Center for Functional Medicine in 2014. These partnerships and collaborations demonstrate the increasing recognition of functional medicine within the medical community.




In conclusion, functional medicine offers a legitimate and comprehensive approach to healthcare, addressing root causes and considering the interplay of genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. By treating the body as an integrated system and focusing on personalized care, functional medicine aims to promote health and prevent diseases. Numerous peer-reviewed studies support the efficacy of functional medicine interventions, further validating its legitimacy. As with any medical practice, it is crucial to consult with qualified and certified professionals to ensure safe and effective treatment. Functional medicine has the potential to shape the future of healthcare by providing a holistic and individualized approach to improve overall well-being.

Please request a complimentary copy of my most recent book when visiting our office.

Schedule Consultation