In recent years, functional medicine has awoken considerable interest as we try to improve our health from the inside out.
What exactly is functional medicine and how can it help to look after our health? Functional medicine is sometimes referred to as “root-cause” medicine as it focuses on finding the root issue that's causing a patient's symptoms.
According to M.D and Functional Medicine Doctor, Amel Seghouani, “it is a personalised, patient-centered and science-based approach to healthcare which involves understanding the root causes of chronic disease. The ultimate goal is to heal disease and promote a healthy life."
The trained Medical Doctor is a member of the renowned Institute for Functional Medicine and Certified IFM Practitioners but she moved from conventional medicine into functional medicine as she believes, "they are not mutually exclusive".
Dr Seghouanitells NewsBreak that the reason she decided to go to medical school was to help people improve their health and fight diseases. However,"at medical school we are not taught to look for the root cause of the disease which is the only way we can eradicate it. Despite many years of studying physiology, pathophysiology and biochemistry, I was never taught to take a holistic look at the patient."
Western medicine, she says, has divided the body into organs and many specialities and subspecialties that will often not connect with each other,“however, I am not aware of any organ that functions in isolation to the rest of the body.”
Whereas she acknowledges the key role of Western medicine in dealing with acute disease and illnesses, “there is something not working in a model solely designed to treat symptoms as symptoms are not the cause of the body’s imbalance, particularly when it comes to chronic illnesses.”
The M.D argues that they are a manifestation of it and can vary from one individual to another depending on their genetic and environmental make up. This is the reason why “one size fits all of drugs companies, doesn’t always work.”
She quotes the famous Hippocrates line about letting food be your medicine and medicine your food.
She concludes that people think of food like fuel, just calories needed to go through the day. ”The ill-pill model has been created to suit consumers who are looking for a quick fix and will unfortunately continue as long as the demand is still there”.
Ever since she started practising functional medicine, she has learned how to look for the root cause and take a holistic understanding of the body rather than segmented. A patient-centered care where she listens to the patient. ”Symptoms are great because they are a sign of a dysfunction in our body but when not well understood they can be very misleading as they can overlap in many cases, so the only driver is the patient story.”
After years of practice, she is still amazed at how small dietary and lifestyle changes can improve a person’s life. Something she would have never considered with her initial medical training.