Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. Key ingredients of the functional medicine approach include:[dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” size=”1″]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. By listening to the patient and learning his or her story, the practitioner brings the patient into the discovery process and tailors treatments that address the individual’s unique needs. [/dt_quote][dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” size=”1″]An integrative, science-based healthcare approach. Functional medicine practitioners look “upstream” to consider the complex web of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle that can lead to illness. 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. [/dt_quote][dt_quote type=”pullquote” layout=”right” font_size=”normal” animation=”none” size=”1″]Integrating best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates traditional Western medical practices with what is sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, 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.