Is Functional Medicine Here to Stay?
Is Functional Medicine Here to Stay? | GreenMedInfo | Blog Entry
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Not only is Functional Medicine here to stay, it is poised to be the centerpiece in one of the most significant shifts in the health and medical paradigm in the past one hundred years. For anyone who has been paying attention, there has been a virtual war going on between Conventional/Allopathic Medicine and Functional/Natural Medicine since the early 1900s. In fact, this virtual war often became a real war when the medical establishment would attack and try to discredit chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopathy practitioners and those who made or distributed nutritional supplements. 1
The main weapons in this war were the contentions by the medical establishment that they had scientific evidence to support what they were doing, and that the proponents of Functional Medicine did not, and thus were putting people’s health at risk. The natural practitioners were often branded as “quacks” and threatened with the loss of privileges to treat anyone, large fines, the seizure of products or equipment, or even jail time. 2
This situation has been changing gradually over the past 60 years, as Functional Medicine, and its natural allies, have been gathering information from in-office surveys of patients, clinical trials, and other academic and scientific studies. Linus Pauling was one of the early pioneers in this movement, along with Eric Hoffer, Roger Williams, Carl Pfeiffer, and others who began to examine the impact of food and supplements on brain-related conditions. This early study of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia was labeled “Orthomolecular Psychiatry,” which eventually transitioned to become “Orthomolecular Medicine.” Yes, even the two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling was often labeled a “quack” by the medical establishment. 3
As it turns out, Linus Pauling and his fellow Functional Medicine pioneers are on the brink of having the last laugh. In a cover story from Business Week magazine, May 29th, 2006, entitled “Medical Guesswork,” a medical researcher, Dr. David Eddy, examined everything that Conventional Medicine did and could only find scientific evidence for 20-25% of conventional medical practices, products, and procedures. 4 In an even more condemning study in the British medical journal The Journal of Clinical Evidence, it was found that only 11% of conventional medicine treatments produced a beneficial result or outcome. 5
At the same time, Functional/Natural Medicine has been gaining increasing scientific credibility, according to this sample of recent studies:
A study by the British medical journal Lancet Oncology found that Functional Medicine was able to stop and reverse hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and prostate cancer. 6
A study by the Institute of Medicine found that scientifically proven conventional treatments, combined with meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and herbal medicine, proved to be both medically and cost-effective. 7
The National Institutes of Health conducted a meta-analysis entitled “Health Cost Effectiveness of Natural Health Products: A Systematic Review of Randomized Clinic Trials” and found positive health outcomes with cost savings up to 73% for natural products, compared to conventional treatments. 8
Why Is Functional Medicine Outperforming Allopathic Medicine?
The answer to this question is well known to those in the Functional Medicine community, but below is a quick summary for those who may not be following this subject closely.
Allopathic Medicine Shortcomings
Diagnoses and treatments are segregated according to various organs and systems without regard to their interconnected relationship within the whole body.
Some diagnostic procedures are actually harmful, such as radioactive mammograms, CT scans, and premature biopsies.
Many diagnostic tests can only identify illness or disease after it has already advanced to a dangerous level. Mammograms are the best example, as tumors do not show up on a scan unless at least four billion cells are present, and these scans still are only 65% accurate. This size tumor usually indicates Stage 2 or Stage 3 for breast cancer patients, and dangerous radiation exposure occurs with each scan. 9
Many treatments, especially prescription medications, are designed to interrupt and alter biochemical functions, instead of working with the body to use its natural disease-fighting capabilities.
The side effects of many prescription medications often create more health problems than they resolve, and this can include life-threatening situations.
The efficacy of many approved prescription medications is less than 1%. For example, in the case of statin drugs for the lowering of cholesterol, 150 people need to take this drug before the life of one person is extended.10