Nutrition and Health
Functional and Integrative Medicine
Difference between Functional and Integrative Medicine
Often when I meet someone they ask what kind of medicine I practice. When I answer Functional Medicine, they often will ask about what that means. While Functional Medicine and Integrative medicine have many things in common, there are a few key differences to acknowledge. Check out more information on the Institute of Functional Medicine site here: www.ifm.org
Functional Medicine approaches health from cellular level optimizing nutrient status, detoxification and immune status to improve overall functioning and health. Integrative Medicine incorporates many different strategies to utilize what might work best for the patient. Integrative medicine may use Ayurvedic or Eastern medicine approaches such as Acupuncture to address health concerns or complaints in an evidence based fashion. Functional Medicine focuses on looking for key deficiencies, genetic predispositions and toxicity that may be contributing to disease processes. Integrative Medicine will use many branches or types of practice in the approach to the patient looking for natural ways to improve health if possible. Actually, Functional Medicine would be under the umbrella of Integrative Medicine as well.
How to Choose the Best Provider
Different certifying boards have been developed in regards to these particular fields. The University of Arizona has a Fellowship Program under Andrew Weil that offers a Board Certification in Integrative Medicine through the American Board of Physician Specialists. The program to become a certified provider is rigorous and requires commitment and acquisition of certain standards to participate in the program. Many providers practice under the heading “Integrative Medicine” but are not certified by any organization or board to verify their knowledge base.
Certifying Boards and Qualifications
Functional Medicine also has become a more common field of practice over the last decade. The Cleveland Clinic has a department offering consults in Functional Medicine from Certified providers in the field. The Institute of Functional Medicine is the most well known certifying agency for providers. While many of the certified providers are MD’s or DO’s it is not always the case as this agency also certifies chiropractors, nurse practitioners and some health coaches. Verify that the provider is certified and if you are looking for medical care, that they are also licensed to practice medicine as well.
Functional Medicine and Cellular Health
Both of these fields focus on a healthy diet and improving the microbiome and gut health to improve overall health. While functional medicine looks more deeply into aspects of cellular function and health by focusing on genetics, nutrient status and detoxification pathways/toxicity- an integrative practioner may also incorporate these ideas. Both of these fields look into the status on the autonomic nervous system and it’s relationship to health as well. Integrative medicine uses these ideas and approaches very often in relationship to improving health. Functional Medicine addresses concerns with toxicity and removing and replacing components in the human system to improve health. Read more on my blog on the Cell Danger Response here: