We asked a panel of expert practitioners their thoughts on the future of functional medicine and holistic healthcare in the next 10-20 years — their answers are below. Each of these practitioners help people every day on their personal health journey. As they have seen an uptick in interest in alternative medicine options, they have hope that a holistic approach to healthcare will become vital to people everywhere.
Each practitioner expressed their own personal opinion and is not necessarily the views of our team nor is the information below medical advice.
Although functional medicine and holistic healthcare are fundamentally personalized, I think practitioners will be able to simplify personalized recommendations making them more realistic for patients to follow. In this simplification of complex systems, I feel that medicine will be more effective and sustainable. I also think practices will need to get more organized, high tech and partnership focused- always placing the patient and their experience first by creating convenient medicine through user-friendly, telehealth platforms that yield easy access and accountability. Expanding on accountability, the community unlocks yet another future trend. How, as practitioners, can we use what we know to create exceptional, evidence-based systems that are not only simple and realistic but a pleasure to use and be a part of? This is what I am thinking about as my practice and I evolve with the times.
–Dr. Brooke Stuart , Founder of Let Go & Grow International
As our experience with COVID-19 clearly demonstrates, prevention, which has historically been identified with immunization and establishing risk criteria for a disease, while are important areas of concern, they are not adequate to prevent a pandemic. Although the COVID-19 story is still unfolding we can observe emerging patterns with the incidence of infection. Older-age individuals, men, people with pre-existing chronic diseases, and socioeconomically disadvantaged populations all appear to be more vulnerable than other segments of the society. We have learned through our Covid-19 experience that compromised function of the immune system is a state that may be present in many people who appear otherwise healthy. How will prevention be redefined? Medicine will take a closer look at fundamental factors that determines health. We will see new ways of assessing immune system function, and this focus will become incorporated into the standard of medical care. The word, prevention” will no longer be linked to a reduction of risk factors, but rather will consider immune function and the management of lifestyle factors that can strengthen immune resilience. Since COVID-19 definitively showed us that chronic conditions can be linked to poor outcomes in pandemic crises, and functional medicine has the best knowledge and methods to manage chronic diseases, therefore it will be a lifesaver. When social distancing abruptly became our new normal, business of medical care-had to adjust quickly. The health care will be delivered through health coaching, telemedicine, and group medical visits. This will support people in making positive health changes that may translate into the reduction of risk to infectious disease.
-Dr. Halina Stec MD, Founder of Vitae Health Care Center
I see a relatively bright future for holistic healthcare and functional medicine for multiple reasons. One reason is that people’s worldviews are shifting more toward an appreciation of alternative paradigms that challenge the mainstream. Conventional pharmaceutical medicine has been clearly failing at supporting people’s health, and with the epidemic of stress and poor health people will need to find what works if they wish to survive or live functional lives. People exploring functional medicine and other holistic approaches are getting positive results that they share with their social contacts. The public are increasingly questioning traditional authority figures and institutions and able to access information for themselves via electronic media about health care options, so consumer demand for holistic and alternative medicine will continue to grow.
-Jed Shlackman, LMHC, Founder of Holistic Counseling, Hypnosis, & Reiki Energy Healing
The world is waking up to the idea that in order to be healthy you need to look at your body not as bunch of separate disconnected systems but as a unit in which every part is a integral piece of a dynamic and masterful creation that depends on the individual to provide the correct environment and thoughts and maintain a steady supply of clean food and water in order for that health to manifest. People are taking back control and want practitioners that will come alongside them and educate them so they can make better choices and maintain a strong functioning body free from the plague of chronic and infectious disease that we currently are facing. The quick fix, symptom and diagnosis system of medicine we currently have is failing many of our patients and clients and the functional and holistic models offer promise and hope to a world who is desperately seeking our help.
-Jo Coburn, Founder of True Wellness of WNY, Inc
Functional medicine is a scientific systematic approach to heal illness at the root cause by way of individually addressing the cellular dysfunction. And, although we integrate the spiritual aspect of the individual during this process, I see in the very near future functional medicine providers linking the physical cellular dysfunction with the spiritual need. Another words – intuition, energy and emotional intelligence will be just as important during this process in determining cause and treatment plan as is the functional medicine paradigm. In health and vitality.
– Lori Billiard, Founder of Lilly of The Valley Gut Health
Over the next 10 to 20 years the limitations of the Western medical model will become clear to a growing number of forward-thinking practitioners and the general public. A more comprehensive, holistic approach will gradually take its place. One that acknowledges the full array of elements that impact health – our diets, lifestyles, stress, and activity levels. And finally, we will come to understand and honor the inextricable link that exists between our health and the health of planet Earth.
-Sam Rose, CN MS, Founder of Rose Nutrition Center
I specialized in Mental Health. In the next two decades, I anticipate less of a stigma in recognizing and treating mental health issues. I see functional medicine becoming more a part of treatment plans either instead of or in conjunction with conventional medicine. We know that medication is not effective for everyone and it is often difficult to medicate patients. I believe the mainstream population will begin to talk more about the connection between metabolic processes, brain health, and brain function. As the mainstream becomes more aware, there will be an increased demand for functional testing. My hope is that functional testing will, out of necessity, be covered by insurance, opening access to that data to more people. Armed with good data on nutrition, brain health, metabolic, and gut function, we will be able to more efficiently and effectively treat mental illness.
-Vicki Steine, DSc; LCSW, Founder of Your Healthy Structure
Enhanced! People are becoming increasingly frustrated with the General Practitioner and conventional medical practices. They are seeking ways to heal instead of merely treating symptoms, and want to be more involved in their own path to Wellness for themselves, their families, even their pets. The average person is confused by the lack of options offered in human medical care, and veterinary medicine alike. People want more options and choices, and they don’t want to be forced to have more vaccinations and less communication with their doctor. The COVID 19 crisis has led to an even wider gap in contact medicine, where a person might be able to “Facetime” or “Skype” or “Zoom” with their practitioner but not meet face-to-face, and this had widened the gap and made people feel more distant and less important to their doctor and nurse. Functional medicine and holistic options provide a much deeper involvement with the diagnostic and treatment process and help the patient feel cared for and as a part of the healing process. As our population grows exponentially and the patient begins to recognize that they are sicker, taking more medications, and not getting well, people are going to wake up and begin to seek a more integrative role in their own healthcare. They are going to want to be able to ask more questions, get more direct involvement in their own healing process, and communicate more with their doctor. Instead of pushing for more drugs and medications, the Functional Medicine doctor can show the patient the details of the disease process, guide them through the healing process, and show them proof of their progress and improving the state of wellness. This is where medicine is headed–where the patient becomes a partner with the doctor, medicine because de-mystified, and wellness and a state of health become the easily manifestable goal. A partnership for Wellness success between the doctor and a human out of balance, who just needs guidance and support with excellent communication to return to a state of health.
-Dr. Rebecca L. G. Verna, MS, DVM, Founder of Paws for Holistic Pet Care
Holistic healthcare is what healthcare always should’ve been and what we will be getting back to. Our health is a personalized and complex evolution of our mind, body and spirit that is influenced by how we interact with others and our environment. To oversimplify that by serving it with a pill or a 15-minute office visit is disrespectful to the importance and complexity of our health. When we are able to embrace looking at health as a journey, then we will seek wise counsel on that journey from those willing to honor our Whole Health.
-Paige Gutheil, Founder of Signature Primary Care and Wellness, LLC
Less reliance on pharmaceuticals. I believe that as we have more evidence-based research of herbal and homeopathic therapeutics that can match the amount of pharmaceutical research, we can provide more patients with a wider range of options for therapies that will be more cost-effective for commercial and government payors. Additionally, I can only hope that people will be more attuned to their health and lifestyle so that we will actually have less chronic disease and that those disorders that persist can be managed by patient choice and not insurance dictum.
-Karen Glover, Founder of LifeBalance Integrative Health & Wellness
The future looks very bright. People want to have someone listen to them and help them address their chief complaints which is how functional and holistic healthcare works. It’s quality time. They want to be educated and when they are, they flourish. People are looking for more natural ways to allow their body to heal and evidence-based research is now supporting so many of these lifestyle changes and non-invasive support options. Science has been doing a great job through discoveries like epigenetics to help people see the depth of the healing they can really achieve. Oh yes, the future is very bright and I am grateful to be here for such a time as this!
-Lynn Morales, Founder of ND Access Complete Wellness
More people are becoming aware of chronic cellular toxicity and how it affects overall health. Toxins cause inflammation and oxidation at the cellular level – all over the body. 5 years ago when I asked an audience about cellular inflammation they didn’t know what it was. Now almost all of them have heard of it and some of them know that is part of their problem. They’ve tried diet and exercise and medications and they know there is a missing piece of the puzzle. Toxicity is that missing piece and more people are ready to address it.
-Tammy Stewart, Founder of Health for a Purpose
Boris Johnson told the UK he got Covid-19 because he was fat, that marked the beginning of people realizing they must take responsibility for their lifestyle choices, and a hint that those choices create much of the chronic disease they are experiencing. The current sick care system is bankrupting the US, and the same thing is happening in veterinary medicine. Pet owners are being charged ridiculous sums for “preventive care” and sick care, and are left with pets that are never truly well. As consumers begin to demand true wellness for themselves, they will see how that applies to their pets. They will also learn that they hold the key to wellness in the choices they make everyday. Functional Medicine and holistic practitioners will be here to help guide people in their choices, overcome the addictions to processed foods in both people and their pets, and create sanity in health care. As we make better choices, we will see the cost savings in giving everyone access to healthy food, safe living environments, and inexpensive care for themselves and their pets, when they need it.
In my practice, I am noticing more and more of my clients becoming awakened to natural ways of healing. The adults that are my clients are bringing their children to me as well. They are educating their children about holistic medicine which in turn will cause a ripple effect for the future of wellness for generations to come. Their children are educating their friends in school about what natural forms of healing are available. I love it when they bring their high school friends to me for first time service. Whether its the first time for a full body massage, ionic foot detox, Young Living essential oils education, Bemer session, Reiki session, or they are just tagging along during their friend’s appointment. They are asking questions and they want to know how these healthy modalities can help them as well. It excites me when I have a new person to educate, whether they are young or old! They give me hope for the future of functional medicine and holistic healthcare. I believe we will see more and more natural doctors and practitioners opening a practice in the next 10-20 years. I have a beautiful young woman who started to see me for services six (6) years ago. My wellness practice became part of her journey. She is working in a holistic practice now and working on becoming a Naturopath. I have been so privileged to have been put across her path and I am so proud of her! Yes, more of this, please!!
-CJ Bredesen LMT, Founder of Feel The Freedom
NOW is the best time to think about the state of one’s overall health and wellbeing – and just how susceptible you might be to an infection. Global life expectancy increased 5.5 years between the years 2000 and 2016, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). While our life expectancy is rising, all too often, our quality of life is NOT enhanced in an equal measure. At the forefront of functional medicine and natural healing, it’s important to use modern science and technology solutions to innovate and create cutting-edge, highly personalized treatments for patients. Combining that with the art of self-tested mastery, to ensure peace of mind, excellent health, and longevity for her clients. I think improving the immune system, safeguarding the body against disease and immobility, and advancing optimal health and happiness is the core of functional medicine. In life and in health, the defense is the best offense. None of us need to be told proper nutrition and restful sleep are two of the basic keys to maintaining mental and physical wellbeing, and yet, for one reason or another, we’re not doing either of those enough. To effectively shield the body against accelerated aging, the novel coronavirus – and other viruses for that matter – means actively seeking ways to lower one’s vulnerability to infection. Keep your immune system as strong as it can be by ensuring sufficient intake of your DNA specific macronutrient needs for optimal health and longevity. Despite the prevalence of the most advanced technologies for curing a spectrum of diseases, the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ still holds water. Be intentional in your investment in long-term solutions to the protection of your health. Treat the cause, not the symptom. Test, don’t guess! DNAme for diet is the most advanced personalized way of eating available. Instead of waiting until you feel something might be amiss, recognize time is of the essence, and what you do today could greatly affect the trajectory of your health in the future. Where traditional medicine is structured to manage symptoms, functional medicine strives to address the causes. In functional medicine, a practitioner will ask why a person is sick and then try to understand if there are underlying dysfunctions that are causing a condition instead of simply masking its symptoms with a prescription. We also will look at systems and habits to best feed the body for total well-being. A personalized diet (DNAme) and addressing mobility issues where our body is not moving right or communicating right. Our bodies know how to heal themselves yet if we aren’t healthy our communication system gets strained and exhausted – eventually shutting down.
–Tamara Renee, Founder of Bodylab La Jolla
Patient empowerment will continue to increase in addition functional medicine will perpetuate the further refinement of personalized medicine through advanced nutrigenomics. The incorporation of significant physical activity as a cornerstone for treatment of diseases of western society will become commonplace, as muscle is the organ of longevity.
-Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, Founder of Muscle Centric Medicine
I believe that holistic and functional medicine will become more vital and accessible in the coming decades as we are beginning to witness humanity’s evolution away from processed, devitalized junk foods and moving towards a “Back to the Garden” approach to achieving and sustaining wellness and vitality.
-Jan Noble, HHScEd, Founder of Holistic Life Institute
The future is functional medicine and functional nutrition! Getting to the root of a client’s illness vs. sending them through the wringer of tests, medications and procedures is the best way to serve an individual and help them feel their very best for life. I have taken my functional medicine/nutrition training and paired it with my advanced sports nutrition training to better help athlete’s experience optimal health and performance.
-Kylene Bogden, RDN, Founder of FWDfuel Sports Nutrition
In the next 10-20 years functional medicine and holistic healthcare will be even more needed than it is now because the present new normal of dealing with the COVID19 pandemic is demonstrating that optimizing the overall health of the host or the function of each individual’s systems is imperative for health and survival. With the ever increasing rate of chronic disease, cancer and infections the new normal is demanding that people stop ignoring how much toxins, diet, exercise, and stress play into our health and success. The answers for 21st century medicine are to learn how to heal the barrier dysfunction of leaky gut, quiet the hypersensitivity of the immune system in autoimmune diseases and detoxify the overburdened fatty liver. Functional medicine has already been empowering people to take control of their health and transform their lives and the new normal is simply emphasizing the need for more of it.
-Dr. Trish Murray, Founder of Discover Health Functional Medicine Center
The functional and holistic framework for healthcare will become mainstream. The call for cause resolution has been born from a steady decline in the human condition. Symptom management has hit the wall enough times. Using cutting edge gut testing to understand what’s going on in the body and a detective’s mindset of a client’s complete history can provide a roadmap to homeostasis. Nutrient dense food and supplementation is the medicine.
-Paul E Youngquist, Founder of Wellness Works LLC
The interest in functional medicine continues to rise every year as people are searching for answers regarding underlying causes for their health concerns. The rise in the availability of dried blot spot testing is allowing easy access for more people to complete specialty testing anywhere in the country. These tests help practitioners assess root causes for many health complaints and individualize the treatment recommendations. I see a shift happening in society where more people are starting to understand the importance of prevention of chronic disease. Since holistic healthcare is focused on wellness and prevention, I believe it will be a vital and more integrated part of healthcare in future years.
-Sara Gomendi, ND, Founder of Vibrant Natural Medicine
I see the next 10 – 20 years becoming an important place for Functional Medicine and holistic healthcare. Patients will be looking for providers who are able to look at risk factors and provide them with preventative diet and lifestyle measures that are personalized to their own DNA, life experiences and environment.
-Jodi Robinson, M.D., Founder of Dearborn OB Gyn
Functional medicine is the future of medicine. People are looking for natural options more than ever and patients want to know the WHY behind their symptoms. Functional medicine offers this answer.
-Mary Pardee, NMD, Founder of modrn med
In the future, I believe the functional medicine model will be more widely available and become a standard of care in a lot of practices. Functional Medicine practitioners know that what we eat, how we eat, and how we live our lives (nutrition, sleep, movement, stress resiliency, healthy relationships, emotional health, etc.) all contribute to wellness or the development of symptoms and disease. Chronic conditions prevalent in our society like obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease respond well to lifestyle interventions. Education, deep listening, and personalization are part of this. A personalized, client-centered approach focusing on health-promoting lifestyle interventions to prevent and treat disease will occur on a larger scale. I also see that this type of comprehensive care will be increasingly available and more affordable for individuals who currently live with chronic disease and also for “at risk” populations. This sort of care will improve the quality of life and lower healthcare costs for all. I see functional medicine health coaches and functional medicine nutritionists as an integral piece of this approach. Health coaches know the role diet and lifestyle habits play in wellness, disease prevention, and treatment. They also know that the change process is difficult and is dependent on what matters most in life to patients and what is achievable and sustainable. They are an invaluable part of the functional medicine team approach in supporting patients to achieve their wellness goals and now, and in the future, this crucial role will expand even more.
-Jan Goldberg, Founder of Positive Nutrition: Mind Body Spirit
I have been in practice since 1999 as a holistic practitioner and functional medicine practitioner. I’m also certified and an expert at QRA. I can tell you that up till the past 4 years I didn’t use any of those words because no one ever heard them before. Since 2018 I have been receiving calls for people looking for Functional Medicine practitioners and especially in the past 2 years, holistic practitioners. People have been seeing how the traditional medical world is failing them, with no answers, no knowledge on how to actually ‘heal’ something or they are just tired of taking pharmaceutikills. People want to feel better and be free from medicine. I feel the next 10-20 years will be a huge explosion in the field, and eventually we will be the norm. It will be much more accepted to do Mud Therapy and take Nutrients than it will to just cut out body parts. Hospitals, doctors and the pharma industry have not been receiving rave reviews lately (from the average adult who might have previously felt they were in great hands with their doctor.). Instead, more and more people are seeking out ‘what I can do to make my body healthier’ and that is going to be the norm. Today’s children are so sick, more than ever and the parents are doctor hopping. The parents that bring their family members to see me all get better, feel better, sleep better, are more in balance and they tell 2 friends and so on. It is because of experience that the holistic world will continue to grow. I see by 2032 we will have more wellness clinics, with light therapy, mud therapy, and nutrients. Most people will be members or frequent visitors to such a facility. I have been going ‘against the grain’ for over 25 years and it is nice for the world to actually catch up to me and what I do. I look forward to the day we are the norm!
– Julie E Health MPH, RD Founder of Simple Solutions for Health
I believe that Functional Medicine will be 50% more the choice of healthcare. The WW2 generation along with most of the baby boomers will have past on and the next generations are who are asking for FM (Functional medicine) as their choice of care. This shift will increase the demand for more practitioners of FM. Mental health will seek holistic healthcare because they are realizing medicine is not effective and that it has long term damaging effects. Autoimmune patients are seeking holistic care because they realize it is lifestyle change that they are needing which requires FM guidance and accountability. General health patients such as, families are becoming less apt to going to the standard medical office for treatment and care. More and more parents are disagreeing with their doctors regarding their children and also for themselves. A large portion of our population are shifting their value system because they have more information due to the internet. This is making them more resistant to accepting the medical model of treatment; drugs, and surgery. Therefore, functional medicine and holistic healthcare will become the first choice for a bigger part of our population.
-Dr. Sage Campione, Founder of Concierge Wellness Care
Hurled into telemedicine by the COVID-19 pandemic, both patients and doctors are seeing that this virtual system for clinic visits actually works. Since the essence of Functional Medicine centers around cracking cases that often haven’t been solved for years, our sharpest tools involve thorough history taking and ordering specialized testing that guides effective treatment plans. These tools aren’t lost by practicing telemedicine. I’ve enjoyed teaching my patients what to look for when doing exams on themselves, such as helping to determine if they’re bloated by sensing the pressure of their abdomen pushing back as though they were pressing on an inflated balloon as opposed to pressing on the fatty part of an arm or leg that falls back rather than pushing back. I love empowering my patients with knowledge, helping them be more in tune with their bodies, and giving them tangible ways to see the connection between why I’m recommending specific regimens as well as what distinct improvements to expect. Certainly, more specialized exams, such as cardiac and neurological exams, would still need to be done in person. This is exactly why it’s best to co-follow our patients with their primary care doctor and specialists as needed, whether or not we’re practicing virtually. I’ve been able to convince more of my patients to purchase home blood pressure monitors, teaching them exactly what numbers are too high or too low and what to do for abnormal results. I believe this has led to better monitoring and earlier diagnosis of abnormal blood pressures than when my patients simply had their levels checked 1-2 times a year. I believe evolving technologies will lead to even more exciting possibilities in early detection and remote surveillance. Our conventional medicine systems are overrun by chronically ill patients who aren’t getting the care they need. These patients have too many symptoms to be addressed by today’s 10-15 minute medical appointments. Functional Medicine could fill this gap, yet patients living outside of urban areas often don’t have access to holistic care. Virtual medicine improves access. As stay at home orders are lifted, it is my sincere hope that telemedicine continues to thrive and benefit as many patients as possible.
I believe more doctors will be trained in delivering functional medicine. More insurance companies will cover and reimburse functional medicine too. Nutrigenomics being an integral part of functional medicine will translate into more people realizing that their health begins with their knife and fork. In my opinion, the future is very positive for functional medicine and holistic health care.
-Dr. Jose Sandoval, Founder of Root Cause Resolutions
As more seek care that addresses the cause of injury and illness, they will require more convincing evidence of what the treatments are really addressing. Treating symptoms only will be met with skepticism as people will require addressing cause and symptoms. People will want options and before treating is provided, an explanation of what those options are, traditional (alopathic) and holistic (natural) or a combination. Functional medicine and integrated care will demonstrate higher clinical effectiveness and people will naturally gravitate to treatments that are safe, effective and affordable The future care will meet patients where they are and not jam them into a model where drugs and surgery are the only option in fact drugs and surgery will have a place and that is behind causational care and not symptomatic only.
-Dennis Buckley, Founder of Health Advantage Physical Medicine
Bright! most of our patients are looking for alternative modalities when it comes to healthcare. its important to stay relevant and adaptable in our healthcare landscape.
-Michael Vicioso, CPNP, Founder of Growing Healthy Together, Inc
Functional medicine and Holistic Healthcare are becoming more valuable to the public as a better understanding of our own bodies is becoming more prevalent. Understanding how we function, and what we need to do to keep functioning effectively has led many to seek holistic healthcare options. Because holistic healthcare is designed to target the whole problem, and not simply an aspect or symptom of the issue, we are able to more effectively solve long term issues, and prevent new issues from arising. Combining holistic approaches with modern medicine allows the entire person to be treated, giving lasting results that make a total body difference.
-Larry Ball, Founder of Holistic Commons: Massage & Metaphysics
In the next 10-20 years, I believe healthcare will become more integrative. Individuals want more holistic care that takes into consideration all aspects of their being and not just their physical well-being. Given the state of the world at this time, we need holistic medicine that will consider all aspects of a person, and not just their physical well-being. It is by having the focus be on physical well being for so long, over mental well-being, or emotional well being, that individuals have for so long struggled to attain the kinds of lives they would like to live. By neglecting such big parts of being human we create a culture and society that never fully heals or becomes whole.
-Dr. Melanie Ricaurte, Founder of Harmony Holistic
A more inclusive approach that incorporates nature-based healthcare interventions.
-Kim Allen, Founder of Nature Institute of Integrative and Functional Medicine
In the next 10-20 years, we are going to see evidence-based modalities from conventional, integrative, functional and lifestyle medicine being used together in the healthcare setting. There will no longer be a divide between these modalities, and all of the evidence-based approaches, and especially lifestyle medicine, will be part of physician education and training. Our patients will benefit from healthcare providers who are trained to treat, prevent and reverse chronic diseases by considering the root cause(s) and lifestyle, and apply evidence-based medicine in a way that is customized to each individual patient. Patients and physicians will be partners in each patient’s health journey.
Practitioners will focus more on strengthening the human biome and refining methods of teaching patients about immune health, self-care and preventative medicine. Moving healthcare from a doctor responsibility to the individual role in maintaining wellness.
-Amie Brooke, LAC, Founder of Tam Acupuncture
I think functional medicine will become the standard of care. A growing number of people are dissatisfied with the limitations and shortcomings of reactive medicine.
-Marie Agnew, Founder of SHIFT Functional Medicine
Functional Medicine & Holistic Healthcare is likely to become the first line of healthcare within the next 10-20 years. Men and women are wanting real answers and a better understanding of what is happening under the surface, there is already a movement towards prevention and optimization, rather than taking medications for disease. In the field of fertility, holistic healthcare will play a bigger role in helping couples optimize their fertility, even before couples are ready to try to conceive. Additionally, holistic fertility methods will be the go-to method for helping with infertility, before couples reach out for the more costly methods of assisted reproductive technologies.
-Dr. Aumatma, Founder of Holistic Fertility Center
Going forward in mental health, I feel along with the traditional Psychological therapies, the science of Whole Yoga: Meditation/Mindfulness, Ayurveda (diet & herbs), Marma points, Asnas, and life skills/discipline are going to be included actively for the Holistic well-being. Even though these have proven to be helpful for thousands of years but now more and more data and evidence is coming out. We have to teach and practice Holistic well-being to all present and future providers. I have been already practicing all the above with my clients and it seems to be working much better and faster!!
-Suruchi Saini, Founder of Holistic Bonfire LLC
The future is extremely bright for functional medicine and holistic healthcare. I think it is obvious that many people are looking outside of conventional medical sources for help looking at the causes of their dysfunction rather than just at symptom suppression. We do not have a true “healthcare” system in this country but rather a ‘disease response” system that often thinks of people as a collection of symptoms rather than as an integrated, whole person. Holistic healthcare offers people a genuine alternative to that approach, one where the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of a person are seen as the unifying forces in helping each person reach infinite wellness.
-Dr. Garry D’Brant, Founder of D’Brant Infinite Wellness
I believe the health of a patient is directly proportional to the teaching ability of their physician. I envision a future where functional medicine is holding the paintbrush to this blank canvas of reinvented healthcare. Thriving group medical visits, shared coaching duties, interactive classes and online education will drive our collective health to colorful heights.
-Lara Salyer, DO, IFMCP, Founder of Health Innate
People are becoming more concerned with various aspects of their lives and want a truly healthy and rewarding lifestyle without compromises. That will continue broadly grow through all generations and be the normal in the next 20 years.
-Glenn A. MacFarlane, D.M.D., Founder of The Center For Holistic Dental Medicine
Holistic healthcare will be easier to access as we move toward universal healthcare in this country. Acupuncture will be ‘essential’ in any disaster, and insurances will note it’s efficacy and how much money it saves them from surgeries.
I see functional medicine and many forms of holistic health care in ever-increasing demand in the next 10-20 years. As patients grow increasingly weary and wary of dependence on pharmaceutical-based medicine and no solution to underlying causes of disease, they will continue to seek out practitioners who understand body normal physiology and what drives pathophysiology/disease and the natural processes to correct it.
-Chris J. Frogley, Founder of Integrated Wellness – Frogley Chiropractic
I believe that Fxn Medicine and Holistic Healthcare IS the practice of the future. As more people are developing greater awareness around healing from the inside out, and healing the deep roots of their illnesses in order to accomplish TRUE healing, there will be a greater need and demand for these services. People are getting tired of feeling poorly despite taking medications and want REAL solutions to feeling their absolute best. This is absolutely possible through addressing a person as WHOLE being, mind, body, AND spirit!!
-Markyia Nichols, MD aka Dr.Kyia, Founder of DiviNeva Health
Modern medicine is fantastic if you got in a car wreck or need surgery, but has failed us in preventing and treating chronic disease. Functional medicine will employ health coaches, nutritional consultants, and functionally trained providers to transform how we eat, how we move, how we sleep and how we age. I am hopeful that the silver lining of the COVID outbreak will be a renewed awareness of the dangers of chronic disease and inspire folks to take ownership of their own health.
-Polly Watson, MD, FACOG, NCMP, IFMCP, Founder of Hormone Wellness MD
The improvements in functional medicine will include streamlined, easy test kits to identify root cause disease, nutrient deficiencies, and targeting organ systems that have been stressed or inflamed. We have these modalities now, however, as functional medicine continues to gain popularity, it should become more mainstream. Natural protocols that clinics have been using successfully will be networked, and systems will be put into place to have the most efficient plan for patients suffering similar issues which should drastically improve patient outcomes. As people begin to wake up to the notion that the standard “pill for every ill” model is causing more harm than good, and that masking symptoms are not curing disease, the demand for better, individualized care will drastically increase. The functional medicine model evolved from the insights and perspectives of a small group of influential thought leaders who realized the importance of an individualized approach to disease causes based on the evolving research in nutritional science, genomics, and epigenetics. These thought leaders found ways to apply these new advances in the clinic to address root causes using low-risk interventions that modify molecular and cellular systems to reverse these drivers of disease
-Dr. Matthew M. Willis, Founder of Advanced Functional Medicine
I became a mental health therapist in 2016 (at 50 yrs old). During my graduate work I became familiar with EMDR and Splankna. Both are holistic approaches to improved health both for the mind. Splankna especially assists in a whole body approach including the spiritual. I am booked solid and mostly attributed to Splankna. What I see is that people want modalities that are effective and not just a band-aid for the symptom. People want “their faith” included in their recovery and that’s exactly what I do. The mind/body, soul (identity and all our experiences), and spirit (faith values) have been a win-win approach for me. If it’s important to me then why wouldn’t it be important to others as well! Shalom Healing Center has attempted to integrate mind/body, soul, and spirit under one roof. I believe some are embracing this approach but it’s mostly pursued for mental health. Massage was included to assist in the body’s recovery but few people engaged massage at our office for that reason. Additionally, a Dr of Natural Medicine was at our office for a while. She offered amazing work but few embraced it. I had hoped for an integrative doctor but this did not happen. I believe the more integrative doctors come on the scene then they will open the door for integrative modalities to exist under one roof. Our society still highly regards traditional medicine and insurance so I believe Integrative doctors will be the bridge for the integration.
-Lucinda Black, Founder of Shalom Healing Center/New Life Counseling & Trauma Therapy
Functional medicine and holistic healthcare will need to be trauma-informed. We need to look at “falling off track” or inconsistency with eating and healthy living as a symptom of unresolved trauma patterns, not a lack of willpower or discipline.
-Ali Shapiro. Founder of Truce with Food
Hopefully, in the next decade, society will become aware of what has been working against them for the last 100 years or so, revolving around sickness and chronic disease. Eventually, people will be cognizant that we do not need medicines to survive. We will learn how the body functions holistically, and reduce the use of pharmaceuticals and medical procedures to fix “symptoms”. We will learn that our bodies have an innate intelligence to self-repair. All we have to do is give it what it needs and not what it doesn’t and wait for the symptoms to dissipate and vibrancy of life to return! What our body needs is what nature provides – clean air, fresh water, sunshine, healthy soil to produce nutrient-dense food, positive attitude, exercise, and a good spiritual mindset. Toxic overload needs to be removed from the cells, healthy emotions need to be restored, the mind needs clarity to remember and function, and the organs need their cellular memory to perform their functions. Health can be restored by following these guidelines. In the case of accidents or injury, the current “emergency medicine” will improve as well.
-Dale Kanterman, Founder of A View to Your Health
In the next 10-20 years, functional medicine and holistic healthcare will become more bio-individual. Technology will allow us to analyze, for example, DNA and the microbiome with greater cost efficiency. This information can be combined with other element’s of the patient’s medical history to generate a completely custom plan when it comes to nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle interventions. The practitioner won’t ever be taken out of it in my opinion. These tools will simply make the functional medicine practitioner more effective.
-Erin Skinner, Founder of Real Nutrition RX
In light of COVID-19, I feel there will be a shift in society which leads to a reevaluation of their current health care regimens. If we take a hard look at the current data to date, worldwide it’s clear the people that had severe responses where people above 65, however also of ill health. Ninety-nine percent of 70 to 90-year-old patients who sadly passed in Italy had between 1 and 4 pre-existing conditions. People who followed a Functional Medicine/Wellness regimen where unaffected. What is a Functional Medicine approach and how is it the opposite of the traditional healthcare model? Its focus is on the patient, a patient-centered approach consisting of lifestyle choices, unlike traditional medicine which is a disease-centered/symptom suppression approach. It focuses on maintaining and living with what you have a slow death if you will. It is reactive, not proactive. Functional Medicine is proactive and focuses on Thriving not merely surviving. It seems it’s time to revisit the works of The Great French Physician and Physiologist Claude Benard who said it’s not the germ it’s “the milieu intérieur” (the internal environment) that matters. COVID-19 I believe will be an agent of change, a blessing in disguise! I feel Functional Medicine will and should be at the forefront of Medicine.
-Dr. Ozzie Oczkowski, Founder ofFunctional Medicine & Wellness Center
It is the way to go.
-Jane Shen, Founder of Holistic Medicine & Prevention Center
It can be very good. Obstacles are a lack of knowledge of what Functional Medicine is & lack of insurance coverage.
-Rukhsana Shanbhag, Founder of Health & Diet
Functional Medicine will be much more intensively used. The problems of modern healthcare are caused by a combination of lifestyle, genetic and environmental factors. To keep or regain our health we need to look at the whole picture. This is what functional medicine practitioners do.
-Steve Puckette, DC, DACNB, Founder of Puckette Integrative Healthcare
It is our responsibility to empower our patients to find their own path for optimal health by providing them with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to understand how to correct underlying dysfunction rather than put band-ids on symptoms. The future of medicine has to be in the hands of the people, understanding how to take control of their health so they can live their most purpose-filled lives!
-Aimee Duffy, MD, Founder of Carolina Integrative Medicine
I think functional medicine and holistic healthcare has been in greater and greater demand for some time now, and that this was going to continue to be the case. I’ve seen this in the eight years I’ve been working in this field. People are tired of getting the box checked on their health and still feeling lousy, or being stuck on multiple medications and not seeing improvements in their overall health. Now, with the current states of affairs, I believe that there will be an even greater focus on the importance of health. Functional medicine is such a powerful process for reclaiming or maintaining one’s health. I’ve experienced it myself, and I watch it happen every day. It’s not an easy road, but it’s the most rewarding. As the knowledge of this continues to grow, I believe we’ll have more and more providers trained, and be able to serve more and more people. At the risk of sounding foreboding, I think our future really depends on this. If chronic disease rates continue to rise, the outlook isn’t good. And the functional medicine world knows it and is full of passion to train more providers and find ways to make this more available to people.
-Brooke Seiz, Founder of Wired and Tired Women
Functional medicine and holistic healthcare have a bright future. More and more people search for this type of medicine and it is certainly gaining more traction and favor, especially among those who are frustrated with traditional Western medicine. Our patients like getting to the root of disease to cure it rather than suppress its symptoms. There are many advancements in a wide array of testing methods that also play a role in identifying underlying disease causes. Advancements in technology such as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), red light therapy, pulse electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), and other energy medicines also aid in promoting a healing response in the body. As environmental stressors increase over time, therapies, treatments, and supplements that promote healing by giving the body what it needs or removing what it does not need to play an even more vital role in future health. Educating and empowering patients will also continue to be a key role in these healthcare fields. When we think of the future, we must remember our past. Naturopathic medicine is at the core of holistic healthcare and functional medicine. These teachings in this healthcare paradigm rely on key concepts that are foundational to everyone’s health. How can we be our best and healthiest without the fundamentals of health? A short list of some basic needs consists of a healthy diet, proper hydration, stress management/reduction, exercise, adequate rest/sleep, proper breathing, functioning emunctories (waste removal – bowel movements, sweating, urination, etc.), and addressing environmental exposures. Beyond that, we believe in strong social networks – family and friends, as well as getting out in nature – getting some sunshine, earthing/grounding, hiking, swimming, and other outdoor activities. This is nothing new and has been widely known and practiced for generations. What we hope for in the next 10-20 years is that people do not forget about it. It is easy to get caught up in the latest health fad, but the core of all health is in the basics. No supplement, medication, or procedure can fix or replace poor lifestyle choices. We are excited about the future of our practice and the advancements in this amazing field of medicine. We will continue to train and educate ourselves over the years to ensure we continue to offer the highest quality of care with the most effective healthcare outcomes.
-Dr. Scott Maymon and Dr. Sarah Stone of Pure Body Health
It is in my belief that functional and holistic medicine will continue to become more used as we continue to see medical specializations develop because we need balance in our care and our medicine is the human touch medicine that will be needed more. It is obvious that everyone needs more personal one-on-one attention even when we’re practicing physical distancing. From the trends seen in medical insurance with Medicare (recently picking up acupuncture for low back pain) and the VA having expanded coverage for Massage, Chiropractic and Acupuncture to Workman’s Comp and Auto insurance, I’m betting there will be even farther considerations in the near future. These trends are following both what people want and what’s proving helpful in all types of wellness, fitness and healing.
-Alan Schroepfer, Founder of 808 Wellness
I think that Functional Medicine will start to incorporate more modern-day medical technology if it has not already. I say this because I believe diagnostic machines, such as ultrasounds, will become more commonly used for first-time visits. Which will then be used for finding and treating certain kinds of conditions along the course of treatment. For example, using an ultrasound machine, the doctor could see if the patient has a fatty liver and could then treat it accordingly through a Functional Medicine perspective. This, of course, is just one aspect of how a diagnostic machine could be used to allow Functional Medicine and holistic healthcare to meet the needs of many. Not to mention, that for most patients they often have a hard time getting in to see their primary so this would allow for faster care.
-Catherine Seat, DC, MS, Founder of Functional You LLC
The Functional Medicine approach is a systems-based, process-oriented approach, which is the health care of “why” and “how”, rather than the “name the disease” conventional medical approach. This is more in line with the systems integration analytical mindset now recognized as necessary in current healthcare, rather than a reductionist individual organ specialized approach of conventional healthcare. As I have seen even the slight changes in thought processes among even the most reductionistic conventional medical physicians over the first 20 years of the 21st century (for instance the importance of optimal serum vitamin D levels in relation to immune system function, rather than just bone health), I see that all health care is heading to the recognition of complex inter-system recognition between the processes leading to pathologic disorders. I see this paradigm shift in thought processes impacting every aspect of health care to the extent that fully accredited and experienced Functional Medicine physicians will be the “go-to” doctors among the public and professionals for the complex chronic “diseases” currently predominant and expectedly more predominant over the next couple of decades and beyond.
I believe that increasingly greater numbers of people will begin to understand that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health are all necessary to lead a balanced and healthy life and that they will seek health and wellness care accordingly.
-Scott Silverston, Founder of Shamanic Spirit Medicine
I believe holistic health care is going to continue to grow over the next 10-20 years. More medical professionals and the public is seeing the value of viewing and treating the whole body rather than merely treating symptoms. People are thirsty to resolve their issues, get better health, mobility and return to the things they love. Holistic healthcare and functional medicine allow just this to happen.
-Christine Camara, ANF Pain therapist, LCMT, NKT, Health Coach, Founder of Breakthrough Wellness RI
More telemedicine options as well as people realizing they need to find the core root cause of ailments versus covering up symptoms.
-Tenesha Wards, Founder of Infinity Wellness Center
I think that there will be a larger demand for holistic medicine. The biggest problem at the moment is that most health insurance doesn’t cover alternative therapy only functional medicine.
-Marie Hannon, Founder of Holistic Therapy For You
Medicine seems to be finding its way back to the holistic, full-person construct from which it began. Over these next years, one would hope that modern medicine and ancient wisdom medicines will walk together in full-person, full-life, rapport-directed approaches to healing.
-Elizabeth Ferrara, Founder of Vibrational Resonance
The information on this blog is not medical advice; nor is any of this information the explicit opinion of Functional Medicine SEO.