Have you ever wondered the difference between functional and conventional medicine? While both aim to treat illnesses, the approaches differ. Traditional medicine focuses on alleviating symptoms, while functional medicine focuses on determining the root cause of disease. A patient who incorporates both practices can increase the chance of experiencing optimal health.
Difference between Functional Medicine and Conventional Medicine
Conventional medicine has been the primary form of healthcare for centuries. This approach involves identifying and treating the symptoms with synthetic medications, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Conventional medicine often uses pharmaceuticals to address specific symptoms, with no or minimal emphasis on finding the underlying cause.
When a patient visits a Conventional medicine doctor, the doctor may ask questions like:
- What is the symptoms you are experiencing and when the symptoms started
- Current and past medical history
- A Physical exam might be needed
- Blood tests is usually the 1st line of investigation that is considered, maybe urine or tissue culture or biopsy will be needed
- Diagnostic testing like ultrasound, CT or MRI might be ordered
Patients use conventional medicine for:
- Emergencies, accidents and trauma
- Stroke, Heart attack
Functional medicine, on the other hand, takes a more holistic approach. Functional medicine practitioners acknowledge that every individual is different and has different underlying causes of illnesses.
When a patient visits a Functional medicine doctor, the doctor may ask questions like:
- Timeline of symptoms, correlation with other factors
- Diet and exercise habits
- Sleep habits
- Relationship questions
- Life stressor questions
This approach involves a comprehensive analysis of your personal and family history aiming to identify the root cause of the symptoms and treat the health problem you are experiencing with lifestyle changes, vitamins and nutritional supplements, hormones, peptides, energy adjustments and other types of therapies that support and stimulated the body’s innate ability to heal anything.
Why Use the Functional Medicine Approach?
Patients use functional medicine to treat many chronic conditions like:
- Chronic Pain
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic disease
- Early through advanced Cancer
The Functional Medicine Approach uses an array of alternative treatments that can benefit the healing process of a person’s body. The treatments can vary to include a large variety of options like detoxification, herbs, Vitamins, hormones, peptides, weight loss strategies, stress reduction techniques, exercise like yoga or TaiQi, meditation, massage, ozone therapy, neurobehavioral feedback, electromagnetic energy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, stem cell therapy and many more.
The purpose is to stimulate the body’s self-healing abilities using non-invasive natural therapies.
Functional Medicine focuses on optimal values rather than being in range as far as laboratory tests, and functional practitioners use a much larger array of tests like
- Saliva diurnal cortisol panel
- Food sensitivity test
- GI mapping
- Comprehensive Stool analysis
- Hormone saliva or urinary panels
- Urine and hair analysis for toxic metals
- Mitochondrial function and oxidative stress
- Inflammation levels, etc
Using Both Approaches to Achieve Optimal Health
While functional medicine has become increasingly popular, conventional medicine does remain vital in healthcare. Conventional treatment can be life-saving in emergencies such as heart attacks, severe traumas, or toxic overdoses, severe infections, organ failure, etc
Additionally, conventional medicine provides a range of diagnostic and imaging tests, laboratory assessments, and other interventions that can aid the practice of functional medicine.
Using both approaches to promote wellness rather than cure disease can lead to optimal health. Integrative Medicine combines the best of both worlds, combining conventional medicine with well-being interventions such as diet and movement assessments, hormone balances, supplements, and stress management techniques.
There is often a significant focus in this approach on prevention of disease and fostering wellness practices like mindfulness and self-care.
Functional medicine practitioners believe in addressing the root cause of illnesses. They spend considerable time listening to their patients, examining their lifestyle choices, nutrition, and environment to identify the underlying cause and restore proper body functions. The process engages the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.
Combining the wisdom of conventional medicine with the natural approach of functional medicine provides a comprehensive and patient-centered approach to treating the whole person, not just the symptoms.
Conventional medicine is essential as it focuses on life-saving interventions and laboratory-based and modern imaging diagnostic methods. In contrast, functional medicine focuses on identifying the root cause, treating the whole person, and fostering wellness and well-being practices.
Treating symptoms without considering the underlying cause can lead to temporary relief, masking the underlying issue and delaying healing. In most instances, incorporating conventional and functional medicine can lead to a more comprehensive approach to health care with better outcomes.
Functional Medicine is a game-changer and Dr. Mirela Cernaianu, also known as Dr.C at Hera Wellness and Beauty combines this with conventional medicine to help treat the root cause of different health conditions, not just the symptoms! Learn more about our treatments. Contact us today!