Using the Timeline in Functional Medicine

The Functional Medicine Timeline is a cornerstone of the patient-clinician relationship. This foundational tool enables the patient to detail their history and the clinician to plot it chronologically, often revealing previously unseen relationships between various factors.  

Martha Calihan, MD, is an IFM certified practitioner (IFMCP). In the video below, she describes how the timeline is her favorite Functional Medicine tool. 


I think my favorite tool in Functional Medicine is the timeline. It was something that took a new way of thinking for me to realize its importance.  

Iyou can start to use a timeline to place things in a patient’s story and see how things developed over their timeline, over their life, not only do you have a better sense of how things were set up for what is now being manifested in a patient, but it is the best possible tool to share with a patient. Because then they can see how events and things in their life actually ended them up in the condition where they are now.  

When I talk to patients about Functional Medicine, I always tell them that it’s like peeling back the layers of the onion until you get to the core imbalances. The beauty that then happens is that, all of a sudden, you can connect an awful lot of dots that you couldn’t connect before.  

And using the timeline really helps me do that with patients. 

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