Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine and and Lifestyle Counseling

Functional medicine of 1991 begins with orthomolecular medicine of 1967.

Orthomolecular medicine began in 1967 and over time gave rise to functional medicine in 1991. Orthomolecular is a term that comes from ortho, which is Greek for "correct" or "right," and "molecule," which is the simplest structure that displays the characteristics of a compound. So it literally means the "right molecule."


Two-time Nobel Prize winner, and molecular biologist, Linus Pauling, Ph.D., coined the term "Orthomolecular" in his 1968 article"Orthomolecular Psychiatry" in the journal "Science. Orthomolecular medicine describes the practice of preventing and treating disease by providing the body with optimal amounts of substances which are natural to the body.


Orthomolecular Medicine evolved from the research by Abram Hoffer, MD and Linus Pauling, Phd. Hoffer was an MD practitioner and biochemistry researcher for the Canadian government in the field of psychiatry from 1951 through 1967. Both gentlemen worked together and founded the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine.


Dr. Bland was appointed the director of nutritional research at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine in the early 1980s by Dr. Pauling himself, working directly with Dr. Linus Pauling. Dr. Bland went on to start functional medicine in 1991.


Functional medicine derives a lot of its understanding from basic bioscience which is also true of orthomolecular medicine. Functional medicine expects a certain level of knowledge of biochemisty, cell physiology, molecular genetics and its connection to the mechanisms of disease.


Some will  say that othomolecular medicine is built on science-based analytical mechanisms and  it focuses on molecules that create change in our outcome and that functional medicine goes further to  includes thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, function, environment, psychosocial events, and spiritual experiences. Others will say that functional medicine is an evolution of orthomolecular medicine based on the discovery of additional knowledge and understanding since the inception of orthomolecular medicine. Either way todays language uses the term functional medicine.


Functional medicine attempts explore the underlying needs the patient may have using a systems-oriented approach. It is an evolution in the practice of medicine to better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.

Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease. The hallmarks of a functional medicine approach may include:

Patient-centered care. By listening to the patient and learning their story, the physician can tailor care to address an individual’s unique needs.


An integration of science-based healthcare approach. Physician considers a number of interactions in the patient’s history, physiology, lifestyle, genetic makeup, mind, and environment  that can contribute to illness. Integrating best medical practices. Integration of traditional Western medical practices with a focus on prevention and support. Data is obtained through the use of the laboratory testing and other diagnostic procedures. A comprehensive plan is then prescribed for the individual patient which may include hormonal balancing, medications, botanicals, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, stress-management techniques, and emotional support.


Functional Medicine stresses the healing of physical functions rather than ridding of diagnostic labels.  The application of principles of functional medicine can find that several diagnostic labels and “diseases” respond positively in a sequence, or other times simultaneously. The healing response would suggest that diseases are often not separate and distinct packages of illnesses, each requiring it own prescription medication, but are more likely interrelated occurrences having some common needs to be addressed.