Dr. Mark Hyman And The Institute For Functional Medicine | Well.org

Dr. Mark Hyman And The Institute For Functional Medicine | Well.org

Dr. Hyman: Hi, I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and I’m
chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine. Functional medicine is medicine by cause,
not by symptom. It’s a reframing of how we think about disease to understand that everything
is connected in the body. Just because you have a stomach ache and joint pain and a rash
and headaches and sinus problems, it doesn’t mean you need to see five or six different
doctors. Everything is connected, and functional medicine connects the dots. It understands
that it’s medicine by system, not symptom. All right, it’s medicine by where the whole
process is working in your body. Now we have medicine by geography. Where is
the symptom in your body? Do you have a heart problem, a lung problem, joint problem? We’re
not interested in geography. We’re interested in the underlying mechanisms and in the causes
of your symptoms. For example, if you come to see the doctor and you have a low mood
and you’re sad and you feel hopeless and helpless and you can’t sleep and you’re not interested
in food anymore, the doctor says, “Oh, I know what’s wrong with you. You have depression,”
but depression is just the name of the problem. It’s not the cause of the problem. Depression
didn’t cause those symptoms. It’s simply the name that we give to people with those symptoms,
and that’s true for all diseases. Then, we say, “Okay, what’s the treatment?”
“Well, it’s an antidepressant,” so we try to blame the name for the problem, and we
tame it with a drug instead of saying, “What’s the cause?” If you have those symptoms of
depression, there could be many causes, and there could be many treatments. For example,
you might have low thyroid function because of eating gluten that causes an autoimmune
reaction against your thyroid, causing Hashimoto’s and depression. You could have been taking
an acid blocker for heartburn for 10 years, which blocks B12 absorption and you get depressed.
Or you could be living in a northern climate and have no sun exposure and be Vitamin D
deficient, also a cause of depression. Or you could be eating fish, like mercury-containing
fish like tuna, and have mercury poisoning, which can cause depression. Or you can hate
fish and have omega-3 fat deficiency, and that causes depression. Or you can be eating
sugar too much, which causes pre-diabetes, and that causes depression. The diagnosis
and treatment of each of those is very different. Functional medicine is personalized lifestyle
medicine that deals with the root causes of illness and helps you restore optimal function
and balance. The Institute for Functional Medicine’s mission is to end needless suffering
for millions of people through the power of understanding the body as a system, by dealing
with the root causes of illness and helping tailor and personalize therapies to help people
restore balance. It’s a very powerful model, where we’ve trained thousands and thousands
of doctors to think this way, to practice this way, and to help millions of people restore
health. The medicine that we have today is based on
outdated 19th and 20th century ideas. If you had a headache, you went to the head doctor.
If you had a stomach ache, you went to the stomach doctor. Then medicine got organized
in these specialties. The problem is these specialties have nothing to do with the way
the body’s truly organized, and as the science advances, as we understand the body as an
integrated system, as an ecosystem, all those ways of framing disease become more and more
irrelevant. We need to shift our thinking, and emergent
thinking of systems thinking is what functional medicine provides. It’s a way of connecting
the dots and linking everything together and moving away from a pill for every ill to dealing
with the root causes of illness, to getting rid of the things that cause impediments to
health, providing the things that restore health and thriving, and letting the body
heal and repair. In functional medicine, we see patients that
fail often conventional care. I recently saw a little girl who had psoriasis from head
to toe since she was a baby. She was four years old, and she was on heavy-duty drugs.
Nothing worked. She, in fact, was on such powerful drugs that shut off her immune system,
she got an infection, ended up in the ICU for a month, almost died. Her parents came
to me desperate. Within three weeks of changing her diet and fixing her digestive tract, getting
her healthy flora back in balance, all of her skin cleared up, all of it, for the first
time in four years. The power of this model is enormous. We have
patients who are diabetic, off diabetes; people with autoimmune disease, correcting that;
people with chronic digestive issues getting better; migraines getting better. Things that
other people can’t fix, we fix in functional medicine because we have an entirely different
road map about how to get to the answer. Rather than treating the disease, we treat the person.
That’s the fundamental difference in functional medicine. Everybody’s unique. Everybody has
their own story. The causes and the cures for each person’s condition is different.
How do you find a doctor who doesn’t just give you a standard prescription for your
disease based on current medical thinking? You go to a functional-medicine doctor. If
you’ve seen doctor after doctor and searched for answers for your health conditions and
you’ve failed to find the answers, you need to go see someone who’s a functional-medicine
practitioner because they can get to the root of the problem and get you healthy when other
doctors fail. I’m on the faculty of the Institute for Functional
Medicine, and we train doctors all over the world. I’m the Chairman of the Board of the
Institute for Functional Medicine, which is designed to help us expand our educational
curriculum, expand our certification, and our mission is to change medicine and make
functional medicine the standard of care. If you want to find a functional-medicine
practitioner, we’ve created a database that you can search online, so simply enter your
zip code, enter your state and city, and you’ll find practitioners close by.
You have to vet them, and there are some practitioners that are better trained than others. We now
have a certification program, so it’s best you choose someone who’s gone through and
passed the certification program, but you’ll be able to find a practitioner in your area
if you search. Yeah, if you’ve been seeing a regular physician and not had success in
fixing your issues, a functional-medicine doctor is going to be more likely to find
the root of the problem and help you relieve your suffering.


  • jerlands says:

    I think Functional Medicine is a truly exciting new avenue towards health that will impact our tomorrow in more ways than we can imagine today.

  • Sheri Seguin says:

    Dr. Hyman explains what Functional Medicine is very clearly in the video with examples.   

  • nyckid10 says:

    Dr. Hyman is a pioneer and going to do revolutionary things in the near future. I hope he is able to change the scope of medicine as we know it today. IMHO, there are just too many hurdles to get through because for the modern medical establishment, ignorance is truly bliss. It's much easier to write a prescription and see 30 patients a day then to evaluate each individual more in depth. They rather "moderate" the individual's RX cocktail with each successive visit….

  • KnicksNYanks84 says:

    What does functional medicine recommend for OCD?

  • nope noperson says:

    Hehehehehe "Dr Hyman".

  • Janet Scofield says:

    Does standard insurance, medicaid pay for functional medicine Dr.s? I have multiple diagnosis and symptoms. I am 59 years old and I am almost bedridden in a nursing home. We have spent our life savings and my inheritance on my health care and are now on state of Colorado medicaid. My Dr at this point just says "you are a complex case". I was a Registered Nurse for 18yrs and I was trained to assess and treat the whole patient. I would like to learn more about this.

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