The Difference Between Traditional and Functional Medicine Doctors

At the moment, there are two different schools of doctors. Functional Medicine Practitioners are members of the Institute of Functional Medicine, holding specialties in their medical degree and strive to use diet and lifestyle changes to understand the underlying ROOT CAUSES OF DISEASE. Traditional doctors do not belong to this school of thought, but instead address THE SYMPTOMS OF DISEASE.

Most traditional doctors take note of your symptoms and figure out what diagnosis they can bundle those symptoms into. This usually dictates your treatment. So, if you and a friend both have the same symptom, you both often will get the same diagnosis and the same treatment. This usually works for trauma cases and health issues such as a broken leg where certain things such as surgery can remedy an immediate problem. Unfortunately this does not work when you are trying to treat and prevent complex, chronic illnesses.

Functional medicine doctors, on the other hand, are medical detectives. They try to gather as much information about their client in order to understand where and how they got to the stage they are in. They put together clues of your past (birthplace, traumatic events, your health history and your family’s) and of your present (potential toxins in your environment, social life, stress level, relationships, diet, sleeping habits etc.) to come to a conclusion.

Armed with all this information, a functional medicine Dr. tries to uncover how and why your body is not functioning well and then moves forward by implementing diet and lifestyle changes and then introduces medication to solve the problem. Sometimes they need to bring in both at the same time pending on the case. The reason is because sometimes by just eliminating the root cause from the diet the problem is solved with out medication.

I found this saying, which I think sums up everything said previously into a nice analogy: “If you are siting on a tack, the answer is not to treat the pain. The solution is to find the tack and remove it.” – Sidney Baker.

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