What is Functional Medicine?

Is Functional Medicine the right path for you? Read on to learn more!

Functional Medicine is …

. . . the practice of healthcare that focuses on restoring the optimum function of the body and its organ systems. It does so by recognizing the relationships between all body systems along with the environmental factors and exposures that impact them, and seeing the individual as a whole.

Functional Medicine works towards root cause resolution

In practice, Functional Medicine uses systems biology and frameworks that work toward resolving the root causes of any sign, symptom or diagnosis, accepting that a diagnosis can be the result of myriad factors.

Functional Medicine is NOT …

. . . about chasing quick fixes, magic pills, fad diets, or one-size-fits-all solutions. These offer seductive promises, but often fall short on results for the patient population that most needs our help—the chronically ill.

Functional Medicine is NOT one-size-fits-all

The truth is, one size never does fit all. Unfortunately, the quest for the quick fix creates an endless search for the next pill or protocol, and for the patient to continuously seek a new practitioner who will deliver on this promise! When we chase symptoms instead of resolving issues at their roots, we’ve fallen for the Quick-Fix Trap. This often leads to new, sometimes worse, symptoms showing up for patients already in distress.

“I love the word “functional.” It means useful and whole. It’s as medicine should be.”

Andrea Nakayama, FNLP, MSN, CHHC, CNC

Founder of Functional Nutrition Alliance, Creator of the Full Body Systems Functional Practitioner training program

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Functional Nutrition uses the principles of Functional Medicine

Functional Nutrition uses the principles of root cause resolution, taking a full body systems approach, and working in therapeutic partnerships in the realm of diet and lifestyle modification.

Functional Nutrition counselors fill a GAP in Functional Medicine

Functional Nutrition counselors support and educate their clients on how to make uniquely targeted diet and lifestyle modifications that will shift their biological terrain and help them to meet their goals. Functional Nutrition fills a GAP in healthcare, and actually makes the entire Functional Medicine model function at its best!

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Why Functional Medicine?

‘Functional’ has become a buzzword in the health industry. And for good reason. Functional Medicine is the future of medicine. The principles of functional medicine—regardless of your designation or scope of practice—are best suited to address the healthcare needs of the 21st Century.

Functional Medicine shifts the traditional disease-centered focus of healthcare to a more patient-centered approach, addressing the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional Medicine aims to get to the roots of the problem by listening to patients’ histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.

Functional Medicine is said to better address the healthcare needs of the 21st century

How we practice the principles of Functional Medicine

There are three core tenets to our unique process:

1. First, we address the underlying root causes of any sign, symptom or disease state.

We work to resolve both the current symptoms and their upstream root causes, creating sustainable results.

2. Second, we take a full body systems approach, recognizing that each physiological system ultimately connects with every other body system.

The web of interconnections in the body is vast, and to truly get to the roots (tenet #1) we need to pay heed to these connections. Our protocols are also systems based, meaning that we opt for frameworks over formulas, and individualized treatments over blanket prescriptions.

3. Third, we work to create therapeutic partnerships.

These partnerships exist between patient and practitioner, between various practitioners on the patient’s medical team, and between the patient and their own body. Creating therapeutic partnerships increases compliance, clinical results, and ultimately empowers the patient to once again feel like they’re in the driver’s seat of their own health.

These tenets can be applied to any field of expertise or scope of practice in healthcare. When we’re working towards root causes, taking a full body systems approach, and working in therapeutic partnerships, we create a functional healthcare system. One that works.

For more information about creating a truly functional practice check out our three part series: What’s Functional and What’s Not.

What does a Functional Nutrition Practitioner do?

Functional Medicine has identified that diet and lifestyle modification are a top priority for patient success-stories, and that patient education is essential.

And let’s face it, patient education takes time and specific skills—time and skills that the physician likely does not have. So while the concept of Functional Medicine provides a solution, the model also has a gap.

It’s a gap that a Functional Nutrition coach or counselor can fill.

It’s time for the nutritionists, health coaches, registered nurses, physician’s assistants, dieticians, nurse practitioners, acupuncturists, massage therapists and other integrative practitioners to step up and fill the GAP.

We do this by thinking Functionally and working in partnership with the patient and the patient’s team.

Functional Nutrition holds the keys to the Functional Medicine model’s success.

And stepping into the role of a Functional Nutrition coach or counselor holds the keys to your success!

Our comprehensive nutrition immersion program—Full Body Systems—gives you the tools and skillsets that will enable you to work with any client, no matter their symptoms or diagnosis.

How Full Body System Graduates Work in Functional Medicine

fbs grad chris dehollander

Full Body Systems has taken my understanding of the body to a whole new level. I now look to get to the root cause of whatever is going on with someone’s health instead of focusing on their diagnosis. This training has given me the tools I need to work confidently with complex clients. This investment paid for itself ten-fold as I now am able partner with functional doctors who send me referrals that I wouldn’t have been able to help without the knowledge I gained in Full Body Systems.

Chris DeHollander
Certified Holistic health Coach
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There’s a GAP in the Functional Medicine model—an opportunity for a different type of practitioner—one that you can become.

– Andrea Nakayama, Functional Medicine Nutritionist and Founder of the Functional Nutrition Alliance

Is Functional Nutrition training right for you?

  • If you’re a Nutritionist looking to get better results with those “Tough To Reach” clients that have been difficult in the past… then yes.
  • If you’re a Holistic Health Coach who wants to go beyond ‘weight-loss’ and get real results that will make you stand out from other coaches and make other practitioners want to work with you… then yes.
  • If you’re a Registered Nurse who wants to turn heads at the practice that you work in showing how you can get patient-centered results where your colleagues have struggled… then yes.
  • If you’re an Acupuncturist who wants to more effectively address the modern-day overload of toxicity and lifestyle imbalances… then yes.
  • If you’re a Nurse Practitioner who wants to incorporate more in-depth dietary and nutritional healing into your practice… then yes.
  • If you’re a Physician’s Assistant who wants to be the hero in your practice by having a deeper understanding how functional nutrition and lifestyle choices affect the different systems of the body… then yes.
  • If you’re a Medical Doctor who knows a lot about the systems of the body, but didn’t have the opportunity to study much nutrition…then yes.
  • If you’re a Functional Medicine Practitioner who understands the theory of Functional Medicine, but finds it challenging to incorporate it on a practical hands-on level that gets a high level of compliance and real long-term results…then yes.
  • If you’re any type of health professional who is fully satisfied with the results you’re getting —whether that’s because you’re happy helping the population who feels better using “boxed” programs, or your practice is overflowing because of referrals from doctors and other practitioners…then no, but you may want to recommend it to your colleagues who aren’t having the rush of success you are!

Internationally acclaimed Functional Medicine Nutritionist Andrea Nakayama has designed Full Body Systems, the comprehensive online immersion program that gives you the skills you need to work with any client, no matter their symptoms or diagnosis.

Working fully within your scope of practice, you can highlight where health and healing truly begin, differentiate what you do in the field of health and medicine, and make a difference, like you are meant to do.

Full Body Systems is for coaches and practitioners who want to get breakthrough results with every client, creating a stream of referrals coming into your practice.

Full Body Systems will give you the skills to:

Root Causes

The tools you need to uncover the unique root-causes of your clients’ issues (even the tough and tricky cases)  

Create Individualized Treatment Plans

The skills to create individualized treatment plans for your clients, so they feel seen and get better results  

Influence Positive

Insights into the Art of Counseling, allowing you to positively influence your clients to take action and commit to their health goals  

Feel Confident You Can Help Anyone

Everything you need to improve your results, boost your confidence, and become the go-to practitioner who can help anyone  

Full Body Systems

Our signature training in Functional Nutrition

Full Body Systems, our 10-month practitioner training program is for coaches and clinicians, practitioners and aspiring practitioners, who want to get breakthrough results with every client by harnessing the powers of Functional Nutrition.


Endorsed by Top Functional Medicine Industry Leaders

Andrea Nakayama is one of the thought leaders in our field of Functional Medicine and it’s no surprise that her training program generates excellent quality nutrition counselors that are well prepared to handle working effectively with doctors in the field treating complex patients. Nutrition counseling requires a delicate balance of emotional support as well as understanding the underpinnings of Functional Medicine to deliver patient-centered results. Andrea’s program creates the nutrition counselors that doctors need to grow and build their practices on a bedrock of solid clinical results.

Dan Kalish, DC
Functional Medicine Expert, Founder of the Kalish Institute

Sign up for a free training series
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functionally today!

Sign up for a free training series with Andrea Nakayama where you will learn her groundbreaking approach to root cause resolution for chronic conditions. It’s full of practical tips and insights into the nature of health, disease, and your unique role in the healthcare revolution.



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Andrea Nakayama Founder and Lead Instructor

Meet Andrea Nakayama

Our founder, Functional Medicine Nutritionist Andrea Nakayama, blends the latest insights from Functional Medicine and Functional Nutrition into the training curriculum as well as our clinical practice for optimal outcomes. Andrea is a gifted educator, with an exceptional talent for turning complex concepts into practical insights – so, that you can put the latest thinking in Functional Nutrition to practice, right away.

Meet Andrea