In the medical field, there are two popular forms of medicine. Holistic medicine focuses on physical, mental, and emotional needs. Functional medicine creates individualized treatments to treat the underlying cause of illness. Holistic and functional medicine are similar, yes, but they’re also unique. The question, however, is what those differences are.
How Holistic Healthcare Compares to Functional Medicine
When discussing your health, you must take the right approach to meet your needs. Technology and information gathering have improved in medicine over the years, and different methods of medicine that cater to individual needs have been developed. Functional medicine focuses on underlying causes of injury or illness that stem from genetics or the patient’s environment. Functional medicine utilizes individual therapies to identify the cause of an illness. This type of medicine also implements special testing to determine whether imbalances developed before a disease or if they resulted from treating another illness. Functional medicine centers around the idea that one illness can have many causes. You could be diagnosed with depression due to a Vitamin D deficiency. Or your depression, arthritis, diabetes, and heart condition could result from inflammation.
Integrative medicine is similar to functional medicine. But it evaluates the patient instead of the disease. Integrative medicine employs methods that evaluate the patient’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. These factors depend on each other, affecting a person’s well-being. There are many different factors to address, meaning integrative medicine physicians use multiple therapies to provide thorough treatment. Integrative medicinal principles include:
- The patient is active in the healing practice and is considered equal to the practitioner.
- Integrative medicine tries to use natural and less invasive treatments.
- Mental, physical, environmental, and spiritual health are considered.
- When curating a treatment plan, the practitioner considers the patient’s needs, circumstances, and condition.
- Healing sciences are used to encourage a natural healing response in the patient.
Integrative medicine is a traditional approach to health. Combined with less conventional therapies, natural responses are often preferred to traditional methods. Traditional treatments are still used when natural options aren’t working or have been exhausted. Integrative medicine encourages healthy behaviors and skills necessary for the patient. And self-care techniques are encouraged to remain healthy.
Understanding the difference between functional and integrative medicine can help you determine the best method. Physicians often use a combination of both practices when evaluating a patient. Both practices are tailored to provide options that avoid surgery and an overload of medication. Each practice has benefits. Integrative physicians often offer more services than functional physicians. But physicians who use functional medicine primarily focus on one form of treatment. Lifestyle coaching and functional testing are examples.
Understanding Holistic and Functional Medicine
Functional medicine and integrative medicine are excellent choices for most conditions. Most decisions fall on the patient’s relationship with their physician and the services they offer. Contact the Alternative Health Center of the Woodlands to schedule a consultation if you’re looking for more than lifestyle coaching, surgery, or medication. You can also contact us online if you need to schedule an appointment.