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What is Functional Medicine?

Before we may jump into the real concept here, what comes to your mind when you hear about Functional medicine? Does the term make you feel as if it is the only working kind of medical practice or how exactly do you understand it? Well, what we know is that you must be having lots of questions which is why we’ve come up with this kind of analysis. First of all, we’re going to answer the main question which is, “what is functional medicine?” Thereafter, we shall give you an in-depth explanation of the main difference between functional and conventional medicine.

So, What Really Does Functional Medicine Entail?

Functional medicine is the type of treatment which focuses mainly on the fundamental causes of a particular disease rather than its symptoms. In this case, the medical practitioner works in close association with the patient so that he or she may single out the root causes of the infection and then design a specific treatment plan for the individual. Some of the key factors that are considered in functional medicine include the environmental interactions, genetic makeup, endocrine, lifestyle and one’s immune system among others.

Simple Understanding Functional Medicine

The best example we have always used in explaining the meaning of functional medicine is by using plants. Most fruits, for example, suffer from a disease known as Blossom end rot – which usually results in the premature falling of the fruits. Blossom-end-rot results from insufficient amounts of calcium in the soil.

Therefore, if functional medicine were to be applied in this case, then it would have considered examining the soil and never the actual fruits nor even the blossoms. Yes, there could be a remedy to strengthen the blossoms so that the fruits don’t fall, but unfortunately – this kind of treatment would just be a temporary one.

Another very simple example would be spraying insect-infested farmland with pesticides without finding out where the pests had come from. Functional medicine would look into the matter really so differently – perhaps, by starting to clear the bushes adjacent to the garden plus considering some other relevant factors. We hope these two examples make it a bit straightforward to understand.

Functional Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine

• The first main difference between the two is that conventional medicine uses symptoms to diagnose a disease after which the relevant treatment is recommended. On the other hand, functional medicine gets down to the root cause of given diseases and launches a more comprehensive approach towards designing a treatment plan.

• In conventional medicine, the treatment for a particular infection is the same for all individuals while for conventional, each treatment plan is individual specific even for the same diseases.

• In conventional medicine, the entire treatment process is fully controlled by the practitioner while for functional medicine – the practitioner in charge works in association with the patient in determining the causes and, thereafter, suggesting the best treatment plan.

What Kind of Patients should go for Functional Medicine?

i. Those with skin diseases

ii. People who are suffering from hormonal imbalances

iii. People with digestion related problems

iv. Individuals suffering from hypertension, diabetes, and heart-related complications.

You can find a more in-depth comparison in our article functional medicine vs traditional medicine

Are there Any Advantages of Functional Medicine?

Yes, there are! For instance, because it predicts a treatment plan based on the root causes of a given disease, functional medicine produces long term remedies for various health problems. Another notable benefit of this kind of medicine is the fact that it encourages the patients to work even much harder in ensuring that their wellbeing is achieved. This is always possible since the patients work together with medical practitioners.

Are there any drawbacks.

Well, despite having named some of the good things about functional medicine, we would also like to take you through a few of its disadvantages. Let’s have a quick look!

• It may not work so well in some cases as it involves a change in some behavioral activities. For example, most people would prefer taking a pill instead of having to let go of their daily diet – and this could easily result in laziness to follow their treatment plans.

• Its high level of complexity and the fact that the treatment takes a little longer period just turns off most patients.

However, no matter how great the benefits could seem, you need to note that what works well for your friend must not necessarily do wonders for you. Always take time to understand your body and yourself as a whole and you’ll never regret any move.

Traditional Medicine vs Functional Medicine

The dichotomy between common medicine and functional medicine will give a better picture of what each of them does. The analysis would help to choose the better one notwithstanding their objective is to make people feel better in a health condition. We’ll discuss here briefly the comparison common medicine vs Functional medicine.

Traditional or Modern Medicine

Traditional medicine encompasses medical doctors psychologists, physical therapists, nurses, and other health care professionals. Common medical care is also known as standard medical care.

In this approach, the treatment is done using drugs, and radiation. The modern allopathic medicine comprises mainstream medicine, biomedicine, and western medicine. The approaches used in common medicine are nothing but the conventional methods developed over the last couple of hundred years.

Functional medicine

In Functional medicine system of healthcare, there is a singular focus on the underlying cause of the ailment. According to the system, each of the symptoms diagnosed may have several contributing factors that cause illness in individuals.

This approach focuses on an overall approach to total wellness. Under the system may find multiple causes for a health condition. The underlying concept of functional medicine is that each of the causes symptoms and conditions is an overall impact of many causative factors including lifestyle, genes, and environment.

Comparing Traditional medicine to Functional medicine

1. The approach followed by Functional medicine involves an investigation into the causative factors. It takes into account the symptoms and analyses the underlying causes of the problem. This leads to clarity and the right remedial approach could be adopted.

On the other hand, symptoms, and factors that play in their investigation a significant role in common medicine. It does not, however, address the root cause of the symptoms.

2. Functional medicine takes a comprehensive approach to the problem and recognizes the importance of the relationship between health and disease.

The traditional medicine system visualizes the body as a bundle of distinct parts for which there is a different set of people medicine specialists, pediatrician, urologists, cardiologists, and so forth.

3. When it comes to safety, Functional medicine causes little or no side effect. The side effects, if any, are mild and subside soon.

In traditional medicine, symptoms are likely to cause side effects and complication that need separate treatment.

4. In Functional medicine, all the attention is on the patient. It makes the patient feel good and not the disease. Treatment for each patient is unique according to the individual patient’s need.

In Common medicine approach, the disease is made to leave the patient.

In Common medicine system, the disease is driven away by the approach at the cost of the ease for the patient. If there are two or more patients with the same disease, they’re given the same treatment without taking account the needs, and consequence of the treatment done.

5. Traditional medicine approach ignores the apprehensions, opinion, and the patient is allowed to play little role in the treatment approach.

Functional medicine approach takes into account the sensibilities of the patient. The patient is given the due liberty for their opinion and encourages them to get educated and informed. This encourages the patient to play an active role in the healing process.

6. Common medicine system bases its treatment approach solely on medications, surgery even though they are proven not safe.

Functional medicine involves a combination of the best methods of modern and traditional approaches. It emphasizes the diet and lifestyle of the patient.

7. common medicine system makes a palliative approach of treatment for the condition. All the tests, treatments aim to save the patient from death and serious illness without addressing the causative factors.

Functional medicine approaches an illness with tests such that it results in the normal healthy function of the body and improves life quality.

8. The common Medicine system focusing on the disease once it reaches an irreversible state.

On the other hand, Functional medicine adopts a preventive approach.

10. Traditional medicine is based on the pharmaceutical and insurance companies that are motivated by profits.

Functional medicine takes into consideration the research and breakthrough and follows them in true letter and spirit. It does not get influenced by business or political interest groups. All this is good in the interest of the patient and all others


As the comparison Common medicine vs Functional medicine, goes on, Functional medicine goes with a realistic approach. It takes into account the uniqueness of each patient and modifies the treatment accordingly. Further, it also advises for the right quality diet along with different methodology as required. This only helps in accelerating the healing process reverse the disease ultimately.