What Is Functional Medicine?!

Updated: Jan 4

What is Functional Medicine?

You may know that I am in grad school for Functional Medicine and Human Nutrition at The University of Western States. A lot of people ask me what functional medicine, and honestly, I believe that it is one of the most interesting, brilliant, and important approaches to health care.

In this YouTube video, I talk about functional medicine and how it compares to other approaches to healthcare.

Give it a watch! :)


"To contribute to the development or maintenance of a larger whole" - Merriam Webster Dictionary

"Of or having a special activity, purpose, or task." - Oxford Dictionary

"Designed to be practical and useful, rather than attractive." - Oxford Dictionary

Functional approaches can (and should!) be applied to many types of healthcare:



Physical therapy







Do you know the difference between a standard conventional medicine doctor and a functional medicine doctor? Let me explain!

A conventional medicine doctor looks at symptoms and prescribes treatments based on symptoms and lab tests. Sounds pretty standard right?

What a conventional medicine doctor doesn't do is take into account the "contributing factors" or "root causes" that are causing those symptoms to being with. In an acute or emergency situation, treating the symptoms is very important and lifesaving. However, chronic conditions need a different approach, otherwise the symptoms become the main focus and you will probably be reliant on medication much longer than ideal. This is because the root causes must be addressed before symptoms will reside. This flow chart that I created gives you a good idea of the two directions the approaches take in regards to an individual.

The general idea is that functional medicine focuses on the individual, while conventional medicine focuses on the symptom/condition.

It's so important to know and understand that your body doesn't "rebel" against you and you don't show symptoms/ have conditions "just because." Your body wants to find balance and all of those symptoms/conditions are simply the cause of imbalance. Functional medicine acts as the detective that goes in to determine what that root cause is and how to bring it back to balance, resulting in symptom reduction.

Make sure to watch my YouTube video for a description and comparison of HOLISTIC, ALTERNATIVE, COMPLIMENTARY, and NATUROPATHIC approaches to medicine as well :)

Have you been dealing with a health condition that you have not been able to resolve with conventional medicine and treatment?

The Institute for Functional Medicine, IFM, is a fantastic resource for learning about what functional medicine is, how it can help you, and where to find a practitioner in your area.

Check out IFM.org for all the details.

I'm excited to be working towards my Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) credentials which will allow me to certify through IFM and become a functional medicine practitioner, nutritionist. I believe that this is the future of healthcare!

Stay in touch for all things functional nutrition and fitness:

Instagram: instagram.com/kelli.foerster

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk9aPVQm9eekYzhbBo8YKpg/featured

Email Newsletter: kellifoerster.com/subscribe

xoxo Kelli.Foerster


My name is Kelli and I am a NASM-certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and nutrition and functional medicine graduate student (2020).  I help individuals build a strong foundation in wellness through functional nutrition and functional fitness.  


Every health journey is different because every BODY is different.  I recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to nutrition and fitness.  My goal is to provide you with the knowledge to take control of your health, reach your goals and live your very best life. 

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