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Functional medicine is a medical approach that treats a patient based on the underlying causes of symptoms, often by taking into account factors such as biochemistry, physiology, genetics, and environent, not just treating the symptoms. It is well suited to the early recognition and prevention of long-term illnesses and a field where conventional medicine tends to fall short. Jeffery Bland, PhD, founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine, began the functional-medicine movement thirty years ago, and it has been introduced into both academic and professional spheres. A functional medicine practitioner uses extensive questioning and testing in order to diagnose and treat the underlying imbalances, intolerances, or toxins that create the specific set of symptoms. The patient and practitioner can then create a long-term plan that not only alleviates the symptoms, but also enhances the patient’s general health and wellness.