When did it first become popular?

Functional medicine as a distinct approach to healthcare has its origins in the late 20th century. While the roots of functional medicine can be traced back to earlier ideas and practices, it gained recognition and popularity as a defined medical approach in the following timeline:

  1. 1980s: Functional medicine began to take shape as a concept in the 1980s. Dr. Jeffrey Bland, a biochemist and nutritional expert, is often credited with helping to pioneer the field. Dr. Bland was among the early proponents of a more holistic and systems-oriented approach to healthcare that considered the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and focused on identifying and addressing the root causes of health issues.
  2. 1990s: The 1990s saw the formalization and development of functional medicine. The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) was founded in 1991 by Dr. Jeffrey Bland and Dr. Susan Bland to promote the principles and practices of functional medicine. The IFM began offering educational programs and training for healthcare practitioners.
  3. 2000s and Beyond: Functional medicine continued to evolve and gain recognition in the 2000s and beyond. More healthcare practitioners began to integrate functional medicine principles into their practice. The IFM expanded its educational offerings, and other organizations and institutes dedicated to functional medicine emerged.

The popularity of functional medicine has grown over the years, in part due to increasing interest from both patients and healthcare practitioners in a more holistic and personalized approach to healthcare. Patients seeking alternatives to conventional medicine, as well as those with chronic and complex health conditions, have contributed to the increasing demand for functional medicine services.

It’s important to note that while functional medicine has gained popularity, it remains a relatively niche approach within the broader field of healthcare, and its acceptance can vary by region and healthcare system. Additionally, it’s a field that continues to evolve as research and understanding of complex health issues advance.