What is Integrative and Functional Medicine?
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative Medicine is healing-oriented and emphasizes the centrality of the physician-patient relationship. It focuses on the least invasive, least toxic, and least costly methods to help facilitate health by integrating both allopathic and complementary therapies. These therapies are recommended based on an understanding of the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of the individual.
The goal of Integrative Medicine is to facilitate health within complex systems, from the individual to the communities and environment in which all things live.
Principles of Integrative Medicine
- Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process
- All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including mind, spirit and community, as well as the body
- Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods facilitates the body’s innate healing response
- Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible
- Integrative Medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies without scientific critical evaluation
- Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry driven and open to new paradigms
- Alongside the concept of treatment; the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount
- Practitioners of Integrative Medicine should exemplify it’s principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is a science-based personalized healthcare approach that assesses and treats underlying causes of illness through individually tailored therapies to restore health and improve function. By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional Medicine uses a systems-oriented approach and engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and recognizing the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long term health and complex, chronic disease. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the health care needs of the 21st century.
Principles of Functional Medicine
- Functional Medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease
- Patient-centered care. The focus of Functional Medicine is on patient-centered care promoting health as a positive vitality, beyond just the absence of disease.
- An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered, along with both internal (mind, body and spirit) and external (physical and social environment) factors that affect total functioning.
- Integrating best medical practices, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise; use of the latest laboratory testing and other diagnostic techniques; and prescribed combinations of drugs and/or botanical medicines, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress management techniques.
Our Integrative and Functional Medicine Model
At Synergy Health, we have designed our clinical model to be a unique, state-of-the-art blending of the practice of both Integrative and Functional Medicine. Dr. Wilcox-White has completed a two year Fellowship program in Dr. Andrew Weil’s Integrative Medicine Fellowship at The University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. The program was founded by Dr. Andrew Weil in 1994, and was the first formal training program in Integrative Medicine in the United States. It is now the leading program in the world in Integrative Medicine education. Dr. Wilcox-White has also received formal training in Functional Medicine with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), and has completed her coursework to become a certified provider in Functional Medicine with IFM. Her combined expertise in the fields of both Integrative and Functional Medicine sets Synergy Health apart from any other healthcare center in Central Ohio by providing the most comprehensive patient-centered program to educate their patients in achieving and maintaining their optimal health goals.
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary” WHO, 1948
Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Kim Wilcox-White at the 2019 Residential retreat at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson, Arizona
Why Do We Need Integrative and Functional Medicine?
- Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, 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. 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 lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases, it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposures to toxins and the aspect of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society
- Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.