The Functional Medicine Matrix in Practice

How to use the Functional Medicine Matrix in Clinical Practice

The Functional Medicine Matrix is a tool that assists the clinician in organizing and prioritizing any patient’s health issues as elicited by a thorough personal, family, social, and medical history. It is specifically organized in order to help the clinician gain a comprehensive perspective of the patient as a whole, and to facilitate discussion of complex medical issues with the patient. There are three parts of the Matrix graphic:

The Patient’s Story Retold allows the clinician to organize the predisposing factors (antecedents), precipitating events (triggers), and ongoing contributors (mediators) of a patient’s chronic health problem.

Physiology and Function: Organizing the Patient’s Clinical Imbalances prompts the clinician to think about each patient’s symptoms in terms of the underlying clinical imbalances that may be causing or exacerbating those symptoms. It contains seven nodes named for the physiological process that together make up the body’s function: Assimilation, Defense and Repair, Energy, Biotransformation and Elimination, Transport, Communication, and Structural Integrity. It also contains a central place to document the patient’s psychospiritual well-being.

Fundamental Lifestyle Factors examines the patient’s environment and lifestyle including diet, stress, and exercise. These are also the health-changing areas that the patient is most in control of and thus can be a jumping-off point to allow the clinician and patient to collaboratively agree upon foundational proactive changes that promote health.