Principles of Functional Medicine


Functional Medicine is guided by six core principles:

  1. An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
  2.  Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment;
  3. Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit;
  4. Interconnections of internal physiological factors;
  5. Identification of health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease, and emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
  6. Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.
A patient-centered approach refers to health care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and that ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions. At IFM, patient-centered care is the core of what we call the therapeutic partnership; the relationship that forms between a patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take ownership of their own healing. The power of the therapeutic partnership comes from the idea that patients who are active participants in the development of their therapeutic plan feel more in control of their own well-being and are more likely to make sustained lifestyle changes to improve their health.

Because lifestyle change is difficult, patient compliance is often low. Kristi Hughes, ND, discusses how Functional Medicine principles can accelerate patient compliance and behavior modification. IFM's clinician tools inspire the patient to become co-creators of their health and well-being.

Kristi Hughes, ND, Explains How Functional Medicine Principles Increase Patient Compliance