A Win for Functional Medicine

New study affirms that many patients feel better from functional medicine than from conventional care
By Mohan Garikiparithi
Mohan Garikiparithi
Mohan Garikiparithi
November 11, 2019 Updated: November 11, 2019

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open found that patients undergoing functional medicine treatment were more likely to report a higher quality of life than those undergoing traditional primary care.

The authors of the study define functional medicine as “model of care [that] provides an operating system that works to reverse illness, promote health, and optimize function by addressing underlying causes, symptoms, and functional imbalances in interconnected biological networks.”

These practices may help tame inflammation and other contributing factors to chronic illness such as heart disease, back pain, joint pain, and more.

This is a pretty big win for functional medicine because it suggests that these therapies make people feel better during their fight against illness in multiple ways. Using the PROMIS questionnaire—a measurement validated by the National Institute of Health—31 percent of patients undergoing integrative care saw physical health scores jump by 5 points in as little as six months, compared to only 22 percent of primary care patients.

PROMIS scores assess a patient’s physical and mental health using variables such as fatigue, physical function, pain, mobility, gastrointestinal issues, and emotional well-being. It was a relatively large study group. 1,595 patients were treated at the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and more than 5,600 were treated at primary care facilities.

Your health is affected by a number of factors. Genetics, stress, relationships, nutrition, sleep, and exercise can all influence risk and severity of chronic illness, and taking steps to address the tapestry of causes can help improve your quality of life. If you’re on the fence about functional medicine, it could be worth a try and help treat an ailment that modern medicine might ignore.

Mohan Garikiparithi holds a degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade. During a three-year communications program in Germany, he developed an interest in German medicine (homeopathy) and other alternative systems of medicine. This article was originally published on Bel Marra Health.

Mohan Garikiparithi
Mohan Garikiparithi