It’s common for people to not know the difference between integrative medicine and functional medicine. The first thing you need to know is that integrative and functional medicine both work to promote the body’s natural healing response, they simply use different strategies to get there. Functional medicine uses the latest in research and nutritional and laboratory science and knowledge-gathering to further create personalized treatment plans that address the root cause of illness.
But of course, there’s much more to it than that. Today we’re going to demystify the similarities and differences between integrative medicine vs functional medicine to help you decide which personalized approach is best.
The Functional Medicine Approach
If you want to know what is functional medicine? Here are the details to know. As medical technology and knowledge gathering have improved over the years, different forms of medicine that cater to patients’ specific needs and wants have been developed. One of the more popular approaches to improving health involves functional medicine, which focuses on underlying causes of illness that are influenced by genetic predispositions and the environment in which one lives. Functional medicine typically utilizes individualized therapies to identify what exactly is causing your problem and implements special testing to assess whether imbalances developed prior to the disease or were a result of treating chronic illness. Functional medicine represents the next organic evolution of medicine, where it thinks about how all our systems relate to one another.
How Integrative Medicine Differs
On the same hand as functional medicine, integrative medicine functions in a similar, albeit different, way as it seeks to evaluate the patient as a whole and not just as a disease. Integrative medicine views the patient as a combination of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs that are interdependent on each other and affect the entire well-being of the person. Since there are so many different parts to address, integrative medicine physicians often use a combination of multiple therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, behavioral therapy, homeopathy and energy work to provide thorough treatment in all areas.
The Difference Between Functional and Integrative Medicine
Functional and integrative medicine are very similar. There is a large emphasis on treating the body and mind with both medicines combining conventional and holistic treatments. However, there is one aspect of functional medicine that sets it apart from integrative techniques.
People seek functional treatment to get an in-depth look at why they are unwell. Integrative medicine looks at how and what but functional medicine also asks why. Research into the patient’s background takes priority and it includes an analysis of their genetic makeup.
Functional Medicine health coaching focuses on four main components: Functional Medicine, Functional Nutrition, Positive Psychology, and Mind-Body Medicine. Functional Medicine health coaches will dive into each component while staying within their scope of practice.
In Integrative Medicine, this language differs according to the physicians, their experience, and their knowledge. Integrative Medicine health coaching focuses on three main components: the science of behavior change, personal health planning, and mindful awareness. They can work in modalities such as homeopathy, music therapy, aroma therapy, nutrition, acupuncture, and exercise health.
The bottom line is that functional medicine is a patient-centric approach to your care, rather than a disease/symptom approach. After all, it’s your health.