12 Minutes

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We agree with the proverb that “prevention is better than cure.” You can actively manage your health if you have a clear understanding of how your body functions as well as what it needs to do so.

New medical techniques are entering the healthcare industry as a result of advancements in research and medicine, which eventually benefits people. The 21st century has seen plenty of best complementary and alternative medical systems coexisting for the treatment of various disorders, ranging from Functional Medicine to Ayurveda. Integrative medicine and functional medicine are the two most fundamental types of alternative medical systems. These medical systems help doctors think more broadly about things than mere sickness. It made patients aware of the value of their mind, body, and soul. Although integrative medicine and functional medicine share some similarities, they also have distinctive qualities that help to distinguish them from one another and that can support you on your path to a better lifestyle.

Your emotional, mental, and physical requirements are intended to be met by these constantly expanding medical treatment options. Integrative medicine attempts to comprehend the person as a whole and uses a variety of therapeutic modalities to promote wellbeing, in contrast to functional medicine, which focuses on developing personalized treatments designed to address the underlying causes of illness.

With the help of this guide, you will learn the differences between these two types of medical care.

To give patients effective treatments and preventive care, integrative medicine mixes alternative and conventional medicine. Integrative medicine not only treats diseases’ visible symptoms but also fortifies and nurtures the body from the inside, reviving the immune system. In addition to conventional and alternative treatment, integrative medicine treats patients using holistic, functional, naturopathic, osteopathic, and regenerative methods.

Leading proponents of integrative medicine claim that the use of both conventional and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods are appropriate, that patient involvement is required, that the emphasis is on health promotion and primary prevention, and that the use of natural, minimally invasive methods is preferred.

The tenets of integrative medicine are as follows:

  • A collaborative relationship between the patient and the doctor
  • Appropriate application of traditional and complementary techniques to support the body’s natural healing process
  • Taking into account all aspects of health, wellbeing, and sickness, including the mind, spirit, and community in addition to the physical body
  • An understanding of things that welcomes alternative remedies without rejecting traditional medicine
  • Acceptance of the idea that excellent medicine should be based on sound knowledge, be inquiry-driven, and be open to new ideas
  • Whenever possible, use natural, efficient, and less invasive methods.
  • Use of the more general notions of health promotion, preventive care, and disease treatment
  • Practitioners are educated to be role models for health and healing who are dedicated to the path of self-discovery and self-development.

Integrative medicine is a holistic discipline.  When a patient has a specific sickness, conventional medicine can help, but integrated medicine aims to treat the underlying reasons for the illness. Integrative medicine is more effective than traditional care because of its unique approach. The expense of using integrative medicine is reasonable. Patients are resorting to it to improve their health without going bankrupt. Integrative medicine is subject to several misunderstandings.

The most untrue assumption is that it exclusively offers patients complementary or alternative therapy. Integrative medicine truly provides all of the healthcare services offered by contemporary medicine while also utilizing complementary and alternative medicine treatments to enhance the effectiveness of traditional medical care. Integrative medicine involves patients in the healing process and supports them in making wiser decisions about their health. Integrative medicine specialists think that a healthier diet and regular exercise might strengthen the body’s resilience to illness.

Functional medicine is emerging as a progressively popular and successful treatment option for people with chronic illnesses as well as those who are predisposed to particular diseases due to family history.

These are the five fundamental tenets of functional medicine:

Patient-centered healthcare

According to the philosophy of functional medicine, each person is unique on a genetic and biochemical level, hence there is no one size fits all medication or treatment. Utilizing the body’s natural healing processes also tries to treat the full person rather than just the illness or specific set of symptoms. To achieve optimal wellness, functional medicine practitioners collaborate with patients to treat the disease’s underlying cause.

Therefore, a functional medicine specialist considers the person’s genetic background together with environmental and lifestyle factors that may have an impact on their general health and susceptibility to chronic disease. A customized treatment plan is then developed using this data as a starting point.

Medicine Based on Scientific evidence

In functional medicine, a wellness plan is created particularly for the patient using the most recent genetic science research. The doctor will be able to determine why specific symptoms started appearing in the patient in the first place.

Some chronic diseases can arise and advance as a result of a variety of conditions. To treat each person’s unique illness symptoms, functional medicine seeks to provide an opposing impact through natural means.

Active Healing Method

Functional medicine seeks to treat and assist prevent aging-related illnesses as well as improve how well the body’s organs and tissues function. Correcting an imbalance of natural chemicals in the body may be necessary for this.

Re-Balancing of Body Systems

All of the body’s internal systems can naturally balance and self-regulate in the human body. A substance imbalance in the body that may have resulted from disease, medication, environmental, or lifestyle factors can be treated using functional medicine.

Enhancing Wellness and Health

Optimizing a person’s health, wholeness, and vitality is the ultimate goal of functional medicine. Numerous degenerative disorders can be avoided and treated, or their progression slowed down with this strategy.

Is integrative medicine the same as functional medicine? This is one of the frequently asked questions that patients and people from all walks of life often ask. Although they share a fair bit of similarity, they are fundamentally different.

Integrative medicine is a healing-focused field of study that considers the whole person (body, mind, and soul). Integrative medicine, as its name suggests, combines different science-based health systems from across the world with Western medicine, the form of medicine taught in American medical schools and applied in the U.S. and other industrialized nations.

Integrative medicine is described as a combination of conventional medical treatments and alternative therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of effectiveness and safety.

Good science is the foundation of good medicine. All elements influencing health, well-being, and disease are considered. Integrative medicine incorporates the use of complementary medical systems like traditional Chinese medicine, as well as Indian or Ayurvedic medicine.

Interventions and treatments that are as natural as they can be, that support the body’s natural healing process, and that take into account the whole person.

Chinese herbal medicine. Origins are 2500 years old and have Taoist roots. has provided us with a variety of ideas, including those related to nutrition, herbal remedies, the yin-yang principle of balance, cupping, acupuncture, chi gong, tai chi, movement, mindfulness, relaxation, and breathing.

The practice of Ayurveda. The name, which translates from Sanskrit as “the science of life,” was given to this medicinal system more than 5000 years ago. Meditation, aromatherapy, massages, concepts of stress alleviation, cleaning, and yoga, to name a few, have all benefited from an improved understanding of how nutrition and foods affect the physical being brought about by ayurvedic medicine.

In circumstances where there has never been a clear benefit and where the treatment may do more harm than good, alternative medicine is the use of unproven therapies. Examples include using vitamins, colonics, radio waves, or other therapies, like those used to treat cancer.

Alternative medicine is not what is meant by integrative medicine. It is a significant issue that the scientific world is coming to acknowledge and accept.

Functional Medicine is based on scientific evidence. acknowledges the unique genetic and biological makeup of every person. Instead of using medications to treat the person’s current medical condition, we take a historical look at the events that led to it from the beginning of the person’s existence.

It acknowledges the impact that a person’s nutrition, emotional and physical stressors, antibiotics, pollutants, family, and community have on how a disease develops.

Functional medicine covers a wide range of topics, including the cutting edge of genomics, the modulation of gene expression by lifestyle variables, and the significance of maintaining good gut flora through diet and nutrition.

It explains that even though some people may be born with genes that could lead to specific diseases, just because a gene is malfunctioning doesn’t guarantee that it will be activated and result in that condition.

Although functional medicine theories have been around for more than 20 years, mainstream medicine has only just begun to accept them.

Western medicine and integrative medicine are enhanced by functional medicine. It incorporates the most cutting-edge medical research in an unbiased manner.

The American medical and health sector is currently all about business and profit, with very little of it having to do with the health of the patients. As a result, many practitioners will identify as holistic, integrative, and functional medicine specialists, doctors, or physicians even though they have never received formal training. Do your research. Instead of making a decision only on Google evaluations, consider your education and experience. Find a person who will talk to you and adequately respond to your inquiries. Be wary of anyone who offers a variety of goods and services. 

The body has the intrinsic capacity to heal itself, as every Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine practitioner is aware of. Our job is to step aside and let the patient choose their path to wellness.

Although the terms had been used interchangeably in the past,  are they two distinct types of medical care?

As people look beyond the traditional Western medical therapy options to control their chronic health concerns, holistic medicine approaches have grown in popularity recently. So let’s examine functional and holistic medicine and clarify how these two forms of treatment differ from one another.

Holistic Medicine

The term “holistic medicine” is used to refer to a wide range of supplementary and alternative treatment approaches. The goal of holistic medicine is to treat the whole person, including their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health. With 30 percent of American adults adopting a holistic medicine treatment each year, holistic medicine has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. As more people learn about the advantages of holistic medicine, this number is rising yearly.

Holistic medicine aims to restore equilibrium and get rid of any bodily dysfunction that may be the source of chronic illness and its symptoms. Through careful evaluation, adjustments to lifestyle, amount of activity, food, and holistic medical therapies, the body can be brought back into a healthier state of balance.

Options for conventional holistic therapy include:

  • Tai chi and yoga
  • Meditative Mantras
  • Homeopathy
  • Chiropractor services
  • Massage treatment

Each of these holistic alternative treatments entails individualized care given by a holistic medicine practitioner, and this kind of therapy has several advantages. Before beginning therapy, be sure to go over your health objectives with your holistic medicine practitioner.

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a subset of holistic medicine; hence, the debate is less of a functional medicine versus holistic medicine as functional medicine equals holistic medicine in many aspects if not all.

To treat dysfunction and imbalances in the body, functional medicine places a strong emphasis on patient-centered care. A functional medicine physician will collaborate with their patients to develop individualized treatment regimens that involve dietary and lifestyle modifications to address any imbalances in the body.

The following are the seven defining traits of functional medicine:

  • The focus of care is on the patient
  • The body has connections that resemble a web.
  • Our environment and genes interact dynamically.
  • Care is customized to the patient’s biology.
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles is the aim.
  • Not merely the absence of sickness, but overall health is a desirable result.
  • The treatment is based on physiological functions

A functional medicine physician develops individualized treatment strategies to help with health improvement based on these key principles. Changing your diet and getting your food sensitivity tested are common changes, as are talking about stress management techniques and boosting your activity levels.

Your functional medicine physician will spend time listening to you since they are interested in understanding your symptoms, health objectives, and expected treatment results. Due to the individualized nature of care, establishing a solid therapeutic rapport based on respect and trust is a vital part of functional medicine treatment. To lessen disease symptoms and enhance your general health, you and your functional medicine physician will work together to make adjustments to your lifestyle, nutrition, and level of activity.

By applying framework-based methodologies and fostering a collaborative relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider, functional medicine seeks to uncover the underlying causes of illness. It is a change in the way medicine is administered that better meets the needs of modern medicine. Functional Medicine focuses on the whole individual, not just a distinct arrangement of symptoms, by shifting the traditional ailment-focused focal point of medical care to a more patient-focused technique. Competent Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their stories and examining the interactions between inherited, environmental, and lifestyle factors that might affect long-term wellbeing and baffling, persistent illness. Functional medicine supports the remarkable expression of wellbeing and importance for each individual as a result.

On the other hand, naturopathic medicine is a different kind of medical treatment. The wisdom of nature and the ills of modern science are combined in naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are trained as providers of essential healthcare who assess, manage, and care for patients with severe and ongoing diseases while caring for illness and damage on the levels of the body, mind, and spirit. An ND prioritizes a patient’s overall wellness by promoting health and preventing sickness while also paying attention to the underlying causes of a patient’s condition. The fact that NDs are multifaceted enough to work as clinicians, scholars, authors, researchers, and business people are also crucial to comprehend. They use every resource at their disposal to make facilities available to their patients from a variety of clinics, emergency hospitals, medical centers, and care clinics.

How can you choose the approach that is most effective for you now that you are aware of the differences between functional and integrative medicine? Since many doctors combine the two when assessing a patient, it shouldn’t be surprising that both are necessary for the best possible care, treatment, and recovery. 

Each approach can improve your life differently, but they both aim to give the patient less traditional options for therapy that avoid surgery and prescription overuse. Functional medicine physicians primarily focus on one topic or type of treatment, such as functional testing and lifestyle coaching which can be more advantageous if you are looking to make a substantial habit and life changes. However, integrative physicians typically have a wider range of services available than functional medicine doctors.

Both choices are excellent for the majority of health-related issues, but most patients choose one over the other based on their rapport with their doctor and the treatments that particular doctor offers. Functional medicine is for you if you’re seeking someone who just specializes in lifestyle counseling. Integrative medicine will be your best choice if you wish to make use of as many services as you can during your recovery. Before making an appointment, find out who in your region offers integrative and functional medicine services. 

Learning more about the advantages of both services will enable you to make a more informed choice and will best prepare you for the advice and demands that a particular physician will place on you.


Senses is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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