Catch the Wave

A client recently asked me if I think functional medicine is ‘catching on,’ and I found myself struggling to respond to her question. My exposure to what’s happening in mainstream healthcare is limited. I practice alone, at a home-based clinic, on the coast of Maine, where women self-select for my services. And yet, each week, in this microcosm of America, I meet more and more women looking for a personalized approach to their health care, one that focuses not on medicating the symptoms of disease, but on treating and resolving the underlying causes.

Dr. Jeffrey Bland, the father of functional medicine, recently published The Disease Delusion. In his book, Bland masterfully explains the nature of chronic disease and its economic impact, using scientific studies to elucidate the ineffectiveness of the conventional medical treatment of common ailments like asthma and diabetes. Most importantly, he provides a path out of deteriorating health and an ever-growing list of medications. The path involves lifestyle modification and nutritional treatments.

The book is written for the layperson, and it’s a fantastic introduction to the systems biology approach that functional medicine practitioners use in practice. It’s a useful tool for anyone working to reverse chronic disease and illness through lifestyle interventions. it is filled with self-evaluation questionnaires and sample meal plans.

I believe functional medicine is gaining both national and international traction because the status of health around the world, and in particular, America, is so lousy. Conventional medicine is failing to effectively prevent and manage chronic disease. Conditions like obesity and diabetes have become national epidemics with risk factors that increase the likelihood of other ailments, such as heart disease and stroke. For many Americans, life expectancies are going down. As a culture, we cannot continue to treat chronic disease as we have. Simply stated, it does not work. Functional medicine works. The Disease Delusion is the layperson’s guide for living long and well.

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