October 12, 2020

Jem Fundano

What is Functional and Integrative Medicine?

Different approaches other than conventional medicine are commonly dismissed by some people. One reason is that there's a confusion with the terms. There's a common mix-up between two known types of medicine: functional medicine and integrative medicine.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a medical treatment created by Dr. Jeffrey Bland. It was developed to teach healthcare workers a method that tracks, prevents, and treats the build-up of chronic diseases. Through a combination of treatments, it helps patients recover. Functional medicine includes:

  • an organized system to analyze the root cause of a disease
  • a step-by-step medical treatment plan that can help the patient gradually recover
  • an individualized or personalized healthcare for the patient
  • a practitioner-patient relationship that is collaborative or a partnership
  • biological factors are analyzed to know more about the patient's health status

With functional medicine, the goal is to treat the individual instead of the disease. It also embraces the notion that habits greatly affect a patient's lifestyle.

What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is a form of medicine that's merged with non-conventional modalities. This means that it integrates with different methods like acupuncture, chiropractic practices, and naturopathy.

It's not just about healing the disease in a patient, its goal is to focus on healing the person as a whole. Integrative medicine includes:

  • analyzing the health status of a patient through clinical or non-clinical measures
  • identifying the characteristics of the disease to diagnose the patient
  • non-conventional treatments like aromatherapy, massage, phytotherapy, wellness, mesotherapy, yoga, acupuncture, music therapy, and bioenergy
  • applying different conventional or medical treatments
  • interventions for habits that affect patient's lifestyle
  • nutritional and exercise practices are taught to the patient

Integrative medicine is oriented to heal a patient's body, mind, and soul. This is why clinical and non-conventional practices are combined.

The Difference Between Functional and Integrative Medicine

While both forms of medicine aim to help the person achieve holistic healing, the processes are different.

Functional medicine's goal is to determine the root cause of each and every disease. A detailed dive into the patient's genes, medical history, and lifestyle is done. The process of finding the 'how' and 'why' an illness is formed is more important.

Integrative medicine's goal is to provide or educate a patient with practices that can help the person feel better. These can range from clinical interventions, herbal medicines, and to lifestyle changes.

What You Need To Know More About Functional and Integrative Medicine

Because of how functional and integrative medicine are commonly confused, here are common questions you might be asking:

Is a functional medicine doctor the same as a naturopath?

A naturopath concentrates on using natural remedies or medicine for different illnesses. Most functional doctors focus on the needed intervention of the individual. This means that some illnesses cannot be alleviated using only natural remedies.

Is an integrative medicine doctor the same as a naturopath?

Integrative medicine doctors use natural and chemical-based treatments for patients. Naturopathic doctors only recommend using natural forms of medicine.

How much is a functional medicine doctor?

Most functional medicine doctors offer their services in bundles or per session. A physical appointment usually lasts an hour. They charge a minimum of $280 , and for bundles or packages, $18,000. The cost differs on the intensity and type of care you'll be receiving.

How much is an integrative medicine doctor?

Integrative medicine doctors offer services with a minimum cost of $130 for wellness assessments. Since integrative medicine is a combination of conventional and non-conventional treatments, recommendations are done. This means that a patient can be referred to different clinics who are specializing in different treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, or mindfulness therapy.

Related: What is Mindfulness Therapy?

Do integrative medicine or do functional medicine doctors accept insurance?

Most functional and integrative medicine doctors don't accept insurance. Since both types of medicine cover model of care treatment processes, it's not covered by insurance. One reason why these doctors don't accept insurance is that it can be used to lessen the cost of functional laboratories.

Where can I find integrative and functional medicine doctors?

The following are resources where you can find the closest functional and integrative medicine doctors near you:

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