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5 Principles of Functional Medicine You Need to Know

Functional medicine focuses on preventing disease and restoring health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual. Functional medicine aims to prevent diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes by helping patients achieve optimum health and not just focusing on symptom management. As a patient, you get to meet with a medical doctor who takes a patient-centered approach instead of one that is focused on disease. Let’s look at how to prevent disease and 5 important principles of functional medicine.

How to Define Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a holistic approach to chronic disease that looks at the whole person, not just the symptoms. It’s based on the premise that chronic diseases are caused by imbalances in the body that can often be corrected with lifestyle changes and natural therapies. Functional medicine practitioners work with patients to find the root cause of their disease and create individualized treatment plans to help them find their optimum health.

Compared to functional medicine, conventional medicine takes a different approach to chronic illness. Conventional medicine focuses on treating diseases using drugs, surgery, and/or radiation. Modern illness typically encompassess multiple parts of the body including the allergic, hormonal, digestive, metabolic, and neurologic systems.. There is no reason to continue to suffer when there is a solution to help you get better. Learn more about the functional medicine approach and how to prevent diseases that may be affecting you.

How to Prevent a Chronic Disease

According to the NIH, chronic disease is responsible for 86% of all healthcare costs in the United States. That’s why it’s important to learn how to prevent illness and disease using holistic approaches to healing such as functional medicine.

Functional medicine is a branch of medicine that focuses on addressing the root cause of illness. To do this, a functional medicine practitioner takes a whole-person approach to health and wellness focusing on lifestyle-centric solutions rather than just symptom management.

There are truly preventive approaches to avoiding unwanted illness and disease. One of these includes proper knowledge of your body. Also, doctors who practice holistic and functional medicine will often suggest lifestyle change as a start to changing the way you prevent disease. The first thing that is often optimized is your diet. You should be mindful of the food you are putting into your body. Are you eating as healthy as you can? Eating proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will be what nourishes your body. The next thing that you would typically change about your lifestyle would be exercise. If you aren’t already exercising in some form, it is important to find a way to stay active. Changing these small things will make a world of difference.

The 5 Principles of Functional Medicine

Functional medicine focuses on the individual as a whole, not just his/her disease. In today’s day and age, many are concerned with battling diseases attacking their bodies and functional medicine is an important tool in this battle. Functional medicine practitioners aim to restore health by treating the root cause of disease and illness.

You Are One of a Kind

The first thing to know about functional medicine is that central to its approach is the belief that you are a unique person with your own genetics, lifestyle, and history. The goal of functional medicine is to uncover the root cause of complex, chronic disease. In contrast, conventional medicine tends to focus on the disease first. This disconnect is what functional medicine is trying to mend. Each person should work to achieve optimal health and not be limited to management of  symptoms of chronic disease.


One thing that both conventional and functional medical  approaches need to consider is their evidence basis. All forms of good medicine are based on solid evidence and research. The field of research is constantly evolving.  Like conventional medicine, functional medicine explores the relationship between patient and disease. However, functional medicine looks to identify the root cause of chronic illness and treat it using natural means whenever possible.


Continuing on the notion of prevention, it is important to know that the human body is a self-healing organism. While personalized health care helps uncover underlying factors preventing optimum health, it ultimately helps patients avoid diseases by focusing on their risk factors and preventing them. Patient-centered care is important, and the human body can heal optimally with an individualized approach.

Heal Diseases

Most chronic conditions develop over time and typically start to occur or worsen with age. This is why therapeutic tools and basic healthcare principles are so important.

Functional medicine doctors help patients take care of their body from the start using lifestyle modification and therapeutic approaches individualized to the patient’s genetics, environment, and risk factors.This helps them not only heal from but prevent disease.

Focus on Good Health

To avoid illness, it is important to remain in good health. People often think that good health means you aren’t sick or your body isn’t riddled with disease. However, the absence of disease doesn’t necessarily mean your body is in good health.

To achieve peak health, there are important steps you can take. Some of these include maintaining a good diet, exercising daily, and getting a good night’s sleep. The functional medicine approach is individualized and seeks to help patients reach their health goals by treating the root cause of their illness and helping them optimize their modifiable lifestyle factors.

Key Takeaways About Functional Medicine

With this patient-centered approach, you can prevent diseases and not let them negatively impact you. Many Americans suffer from diseases from which they don’t need to be suffering. Many diseases that holistic medicine can prevent are caused by a lack of a healthy diet and regular exercise. It is important to seek a doctor that will help you optimize the way your body functions and not just focus on the diseases that attack it.

Bio: Index Health is a healthcare team specialized in personalized healing and  root cause diagnosis and treatment. Our multi-disciplinary care team is made up of physicians and nutritionists that are trained and certified in functional or root cause medicine.

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