Medicine is an ever evolving field—there is never a scarcity of new discoveries and breakthroughs. And rightly so, as we, the consumers, only stand to benefit from these constant changes.
But along with our continuous search for the best is the dilemma of having to choose between the old and the new, the time-honored and the up-and-coming.
Of all the current advancements in the field of medicine, the two forms of alternative medicine that have been quickly gaining popularity in the 21st century are functional medicine and integrative medicine. Many experts even go as far as to declare them as the future of medicine.
Although functional medicine and integrative medicine may be similar in a lot of ways and overlap in certain areas, there are many components which allow us to differentiate between the two disciplines.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine incorporates a whole body approach to health and wellbeing. It focuses on the underlying causes of disease rather than simply the treatment of symptoms. Functional physicians spend more time with their patients, taking in other information such as genetic and medical history, environment, and lifestyle.
Basically, in functional medicine, functional physicians shift the focus from the traditional, disease-targeted medical treatment procedures, towards a more patient-centric approach. In essence, they put the patient in the driver’s seat, not the healthcare system.
Research done by functional medicine thought leaders introduced dramatic results to patients who previously never experienced any breakthroughs on their individual conditions after going through the path of traditional medicine alone.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative Medicine, as its name implies, is a concoction of technologically advanced Western medicine practices and the more unconventional approach to medicine composed of modalities (acupuncture, herbs and homeopathy, to name a few).
While an integrative MD will diagnose you using typical lab tests and prescribe pharmaceutical meds, they will also include Eastern styles of treatment. For example, your doctor will still order an ECG and MRI, but he will add such methods as stress reduction techniques and herbal supplements.
Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional practices nor exclusively allows alternative methods; it considers all factors that affects a person’s overall health.
The models for these unconventional modes of therapy continue to be met with a doubtful attitude and fear, especially in Western territories. But, as with most health reforms, it will take a lot of time and education before the majority opens their arms to such changes, and even longer for the government to set necessary health-related policies in place.
Healthcare will continue to go through extreme changes, to the point where we will be asking ourselves in the future how we could have gone by practicing medicine so primitively. It also goes without saying that practitioners who accept the Functional and Integrative Medicine paradigms will be pioneers of the future of healthcare.
If you’re interested in these alternative branches of healthcare, you don’t have to look any further. Colorado Concierge Functional Medicine is your leading authority in functional medicine in Colorado.