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The MSN Healthcare Health Blog offers news and analysis on weight loss, fatigue, personal health, and health news. It includes contributions from Dr. Mark Neumann and others. Click now.


Everything You Need to Know About Functional Medicine

Mark Neumann

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Functional medicine is not a new discipline, but a lot of people are not entirely sure what the term means. Functional medicine is a combination of conventional medicine and alternative and holistic techniques to achieve optimal functioning and identify root causes of disease.

Rather than focusing on your medical issue in a vacuum, a functional medicine practitioner will take your whole history into account: your health history, genetics, lifestyle, and environment, and make suggestions that help you achieve the best version of yourself.

To further your understanding of the method of functional medicine, take a look at the following information to get a brief overview of how functional medicine works and learn about the specific framework of this discipline.

Functional Medicine Overview

With the objective of determining the core causes of an illness or disease, Functional Medicine is a systems-based biology approach that considers all symptoms and differential diagnoses as potential factors in a person’s condition. Due to a growing reconciliation of the significance of establishing individualized approaches to illnesses, the notion of functional medicine was created in accordance with expansive research on nutrition, genomics, and epigenetic science. Key leaders have cultivated ways to adapt new studies in clinical settings in hopes of being able to modify cellular and molecular systems to counteract the forces of diseases.

Specifically, Functional Medicine researchers applied novel approaches in an innovative way to bring new results for patients who have yet to find relief from other models of treatment. A key component of this advancement was the researcher’s focus on using many different scientific principles, and discovering novel methods to look for associated factors and interactions between genetic, lifestyle, and environmental causes when determining the cause of illnesses.


The Functional Medicine model seeks to resolve common issues in identifying proper diagnoses and treatments for patients. For example, if you have had the experience of going to a doctor when feeling ill, only to have a rage of different tests done that all come back as normal, you might end up feeling as if there is no feasible solution, even though both you and your doctor know there is something wrong. While these types of problems are common, Functional Medicine was developed to reduce these issues by introducing a new approach, focusing on treating root causes rather than the symptoms of a person’s condition.

As the idea of Functional Medicine received widespread notoriety, it was systemized for teaching purposes. There are three essential tools of this method, including the Functional Medicine Matrix, timeline, and GOTOIT framework, all of which are further elaborated on below.

The Functional Medicine Matrix helps doctors in ordering and prioritizing an individual's health concerns by a comprehensive examination of their personal, family, and medical history. With the goal of organizing what appear at first to be separate problems, The Matrix is similar to a web decoder, helping physicians acquire a detailed understanding of the patient’s history.


Though all physicians take note of a patient’s history, the difference between standard methods and the Functional Medicine Timeline is its capacity to give the patient a new perspective into their life experiences. Enabling physicians to determine factors provoking, predisposing, and impacting variances and unresponsiveness in patients, this intake strategy allows physicians to get insight into the connection between experiences and events. This process may help them detect otherwise unnoticeable cause-effect parallels. As a means of detailing the duration of time all the way from the patient’s preconception through the current moment, this timeline is a representation of the correlation between the events of a lifespan and a patient’s existing state of health.


GOTOIT is an approach to Functional Medicine that doctors utilize to determine the core cause of a patient’s problem and consequently use treatments personalized for an individual’s condition.

Representing the acronym for:

  • Gather
  • Organize
  • Tell
  • Order
  • Initiate
  • Track

GOTOIT is an all-inclusive teaching strategy with the aim of assisting physicians who are trying to successfully and efficiently complete Matrix and Timeline. With the help of the GOTOIT guidelines, physicians can cultivate a sense of trust amongst their patients, determine unhealthy sequences, uncover the core cause of the issue, and suggest individualized treatment options and lifestyle adjustments for a patient.

Please let us know how we can help you get healthy in 2018. Dr. Neumann is happy to discuss your goals in more detail during your consultation. Contact him today.