Functional medicine determines how and why illness occurs and restores health by addressing the root causes of disease for each individual.

The functional medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.

By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, functional medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each individual.


IFM Board President of Clinical Affairs Mark Hyman, MD, describes why one condition can have many different causes and how one cause can lead to many different conditions.

Why Functional Medicine Matters

Functional Medicine Matters graphic explaining the scope and cost of chronic disease
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

The scope and cost of chronic disease continue to rise. Functional medicine has proven to reverse this trend by providing better outcomes and cost savings for both patients and the healthcare system in the long term. Learn More

Functional Medicine in Practice

Clinicians choose to practice functional medicine for many reasons, including improved outcomes with chronic disease patients and an increased sense of professional satisfaction. There are also many ways to make a successful living practicing functional medicine. In fact, the practice of functional medicine is thriving in most current business and practice models. Learn More

IFM polled its clinicians to determine if their practice is an insurance-based model or a private-pay model
In 2016, IFM polled its clinicians to determine which business models they used. Based on a 14.5% overall response rate, survey respondents were nearly split when it comes to choosing an insurance-based model versus a private-pay model (cash fee for service, concierge, or membership).

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IFM assists patients in learning more about functional medicine and finding the best-trained functional medicine practitioners.

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