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Integrative Medicine vs. Functional Medicine: Key Differences

Functional Medicine - IA

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The 21st century is seeing a major shift in the tide when it comes to the treatment of different ailments that people suffer from. There are various forms of alternative medicine, like integrative and functional medicine that doctors are opting for to help treat their patients. Both of these disciplines are regarded quite highly by renowned health care practitioners, with many believing that integrative and functional medicine in India might just be what we need. Doctors are increasingly taking a more holistic approach towards treatment, where they don’t simply concentrate on treating a disease and its symptoms, but on treating the entire body as a single entity.

Integrative and functional medicines both adhere to this approach; however, there are a few factors that can help one distinguish between the two.

What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is a holistic discipline of medicine that takes a person’s lifestyle habits into account when they come as a patient. The doctor or physician of integrative medicine works towards treating the whole person instead of looking for a treatment of just the disease they are suffering from. In short, the body and mind of the patient are taken as a single entity to promote their well-being and healing.

Under integrative medicine, the practitioner uses a combination of modern health care practices to diagnose the issue and to treat the patient. Treatments under this discipline can also include modalities like yoga, acupuncture or massage. This discipline also focuses on the exercise and nutritional habits of the patients in order to curb any factors that might be related to diabetes and obesity. Physicians that practice integrative medicine are of the thought process that poor lifestyle choices play a major role in many chronic diseases.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine doctors in India embrace a philosophy that’s similar to integrative medicine, but with a slight difference. It employs a systems-oriented medical approach that works towards identifying and understanding the root cause that underlines the disease that a patient is suffering from. Functional medicine in India also works based on the personalization of the offered health care treatment, and each care plan is unique and distinct for different patients. The relationship between the practitioner and the patient is more of a partnership, and each and every aspect of the patient’s medical history is fleshed out. Just like in integrative medicine, a doctor of functional medicine treats the individual and not just the disease.

Many a times, genetic and environmental research is also conducted by a practitioner in order to get a deeper knowledge of the health status of the individual. When one understands the biochemical individuality of a patient, they can find the underlying causes of diseases much earlier. Furthermore, it also assists in helping prevent any additional health risks which a patient may face in the future.

The Main Distinction

As it can be seen, the basics of integrative and functional medicines are quite similar. However, there is an important distinction between the two. While both medical disciplines focus on treating the patient’s body as a single entity, in functional medicine, the doctor strives to determine the root causes of every disease, especially chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Instead of diagnosing the symptoms to recognize a disease and then determining which drugs or procedure will be most suitable to treat the same, a doctor of functional medicine goes deep into the history and biochemistry of the patient to determine why he fell ill. These disciplines are highly personalized, and include details of the individual’s genetic makeup as well.

Healthcare is undergoing a lot of innovations in the present day, and it has already been proven how approaches like integrative and functional medicines work much better when it comes to treating a large number of diseases, especially chronic disorders. In a conventional treatment procedure, one treats the symptoms and a disease, which really does not do much for the overall health of the patient, and leaves him susceptible to many more issues in the future. These alternative disciplines however, concentrate on improving the overall life of the patient, which doesn’t just treat a single disease, but also helps people lead better lives.

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