What Is Functional Medicine?

depiction of a brain with half drawn in chalk and the other comprised of vegetables, nuts, and berries

What Is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is the science of health and maintaining function. It takes an individualized approach to figure out how and why an illness occurs in the first place and aims to reverse disease and restore health by getting to the root cause. Unlike conventional medicine which often looks at the body as separate, single systems and lacks time and emphasis on true wellness and disease prevention, functional medicine is a systems biology approach, looking at the body as a whole to find internal balance.


In Functional Medicine there is an emphasis on seven nodes of healing: defense and repair (immune health), communication (hormonal health), structural integrity (physical structure of the body), energy (mitochondrial health), assimilation (gut health), transport (cardiovascular and lymphatic health), biotransformation and elimination(detoxification) and psycho-social-spiritual health. Using the functional medicine matrix designed by the Institute for Functional Medicine, a patient’s health history is mapped out and you can visually see the areas causing imbalance and then the work begins to bring back balance. Many people think Functional Medicine is only expensive lab tests and swapping prescription medicine for supplements and while those can play a part, Functional Medicine first focuses on lifestyle factors that are contributing to disease like nutrition (Food is medicine!), stress reduction, sleep, exercise and spiritual health.


While conventional medicine is great for certain things like emergency care and acute illnesses, functional medicine seeks to reverse chronic disease and maintain optimal health by digging deeper to find the true root cause. Many patients seek Functional Medicine when they are not getting answers from their traditional healthcare team, when all of their labs are “normal” and when they feel unheard. The conventional medicine system, unfortunately, is not set up to allow the time to dig deep and provide the support needed for change in many cases. Functional Medicine takes an individualized, patient-centered approach to restoring optimal wellness. For this reason, most insurances do not reimburse for the time spent in a detailed Functional Medicine visit which is why most Functional Medicine practices are cash pay only so they are not limited to the restrictions placed by insurance companies.


If you have more questions about Functional Medicine or would like to schedule a Free 15 minute consultation to discuss how Wild Rice Wellness can help you on your journey to health, book now!