Often, when I tell people I’m a Functional Medicine doctor they ask, “A what kind of doctor?”
It might be a new phrase to some, but it’s the future of medicine, available right now. In the many years I’ve been practicing Functional Medicine, I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve seen recover from chronic illness and create the health they’ve always wanted using these principles.
That’s because Functional Medicine looks at the body with a systems-based approach, understanding how all our different parts work together and looking at a symptom as a sign of dysfunction that we need to get to the root cause of, not just tame. And this method works! In fact, the Journal of American Medical Association—JAMA Network Open just published the first-ever retrospective cohort study of the Functional Medicine model from the Center for Functional Medicine at Cleveland Clinic.
In this cohort study, Functional Medicine patients exhibited significantly larger improvements in patient-reported quality of life outcomes at 6 months, remaining through to 12 months, than propensity-matched patients at a family health center. Functional Medicine patients’ results were also less likely to decrease over time. While this is the first study of this kind, it suggests that Functional Medicine may have the ability to improve global health in patients (something I’m a big believer in).
Exciting stuff! I’m thrilled to see Functional Medicine is finally getting the attention it deserves and I can’t wait to see what this study has opened the door for next.
Last week, I sat down with my good friend and colleague Dr. Elizabeth Boham, who I work with at my clinic, The UltraWellness Center, to have a deeper conversation about what it means to practice Functional Medicine. As a functionally-trained dietitian and doctor Liz shares my passion for finding the true cause of disease and rebalancing for the entire body. As a breast cancer survivor, she has firsthand experience in beating disease using the principles of Functional Medicine.
Throughout our conversation, Dr. Boham and I talk about the many different parts of healing the whole body, like enhancing detoxification pathways, correcting nutrient deficiencies, supporting the microbiome, and so much more. She shares her personal story of overcoming triple-negative breast cancer and how, despite already being someone who was health-conscious, she had to really dig into her body’s unique issues for true healing to occur.
We also both share some patient success stories, particularly around autism and ulcerative colitis, and how the Functional Medicine model can benefit these patients and so many others.
Functional Medicine provides the framework for us to feel our best, whether that means preventing diseases we are predisposed to genetically, cleaning up years of poor dietary choices, or tackling a scary diagnosis head-on. I hope you’ll tune in to my talk with Dr. Boham to learn more about how I practice medicine and what this model can do for you.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD