No. Integrative medicine and functional medicine are two distinct treatment methods with different approaches to health and wellness. While modalities and goals may be similar, the methods used are largely different.
Many people now seek alternatives to conventional medicine for a lot of reasons. Traditional medicine often treats the disease but leaves the underlying problem unattended. In fact, it often leaves patients confused about their diagnosis and with a chance to re-experience the same symptoms or worse.
Integrative and functional medicine at Pro-Health Center has proven to be viable alternatives in dealing with common health challenges. However, you need to know what each of these approaches offers to make the best decision for your health. Read on to find all the information you need to know.
What is functional medicine?
Functional medicine is also known as root case medicine. This approach focuses on understanding the underlying problems behind health challenges. The functional medicine model is to understand root causes and treat them for long-term health benefits.
To understand the root cause of health problems, practitioners need to study carefully and understand the human body, genetics, and other external factors that can affect the body and cause diseases. With this in-depth understanding, they can better address the problem instead of managing and suppressing the symptoms as common with conventional medicine.
Functional medicine also understands the interrelationship between symptoms and seeks to help patients maintain long-term health and wellness.
Functional Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine
You need to know what sets functional medicine apart. This is especially true if you’re already familiar with conventional medicine and its approach. The differences are vast in that functional medicine seeks to understand the root cause of the problem suffered by the patient. In fact, functional medicine relates multiple symptoms and how they are pointers to bigger underlying health issues.
On the other hand, conventional medicine often suppresses and manages symptoms instead of treating or curing them. For example, a patient with a mental condition like anxiety or depression can most likely expect to leave their conventional medical appointment with prescription medicine to suppress or manage the symptoms. The patient may also be referred to a mental health professional who may also use more prescription medicine in most cases.
For functional medicine, the approach is quite different. Practitioners are more interested in the other areas of the patient’s life. Although they ask about the symptoms, they further assess the patient for things like nutritional deficiencies, exposure to toxins and heavy metals, hormone imbalances, inflammation, gut health and microbiomes, etc.
By investigating those aspects, they can better understand why the patient feels or suffers from the condition and how to holistically correct it.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine takes a holistic and combined approach to health and wellness. Practitioners often combine conventional and functional medicine approaches to address the patient’s condition. Taking the example above, an integrative medical expert will not only prescribe the use of medicines like antidepressants and therapy but also seek to understand the underlying conditions and how they can help.
Integrative medicine vs. Conventional medicine
With integrative medicine, patients can expect a holistic approach to health and wellness. This means that their appointment will include;
- Consultations involving in-depth questions about patient symptoms and health. This also includes questions about stress level, coping mechanisms, emotional health, etc.
- An assessment of their lifestyle habits like sleep, alcohol consumption, nutrition, smoking, exercise, etc.
- Diagnostic tests to understand the patient’s condition and eliminate possible suspected underlying conditions
- Review of other aspects of the patient’s life, including work and family life, spiritual beliefs, support system, etc.
By focusing on these areas of human health, the practitioners are better positioned to understand what each patient feels, rule out possible underlying conditions, and arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
Functional Medicine vs. Integrative Medicine
Having understood the differences between functional, integrative, and conventional medicine, it is also important to make distinctions between functional and integrative medicine.
For clarity, both approaches share some similarities. However, their differences set them apart.
- Functional and integrative medicine focuses on uncovering and treating underlying conditions
- Offers direct treatment to address upstream health issues rather than manage or mask the downstream problems
- Offers a patient-centered treatment approach with long-term effects
- Understands the interrelationship between lifestyle choices and health.
- Functional medicine aims to understand and address the biological root cause, while integrative medicine is interested in treating the body, mind, and spirit.
- Functional medicine does not necessarily rely on medication, while integrative medicine combines conventional and functional medicine practices into one.
Experience improved health and wellness by choosing the right treatment approach for your health needs. Contact the nearest functional or integrative medicine providers in your area for more information.