What is Integrative and Functional Medicine?
Integrative medicine is a more hands-on, comprehensive approach to patient care than you may have had with your primary care doctor. Most primary physicians will see their patients for only a few minutes per visit and focus primarily on a symptom-based approach. Alternatively, doctors specializing in integrative medicine will utilize a holistic point of view. Often, integrative and functional medicine practices are smaller, boutique medical clinics that can afford attention to each patient. As such, they focus on the whole patient, rather than a list of symptoms and diseases.
A Whole Approach to Patient Care
With integrative medicine, physicians blend conventional medical wisdom with alternative medicine to create customized treatment plans for each patient. So, they might employ a combination of medications, herbal supplements, and lifestyle changes to address a person’s whole-body needs. This is a holistic approach, which considers the social factors, family history, and lifestyle of a patient. These personal factors are often crucial in the person's illness and must be addressed if any progress is to be made. Since each person is different, the treatment plan for each person will differ based on these many factors.
Treatment Based in Medical Science
Though integrative medicine does utilize some alternative medicine practices, it is thoroughly rooted in medical science. Additionally, it is often more effective than conventional medicine, because all medications, mind-body methods, and supplements are prescribed and monitored by the same physician. In other words, patients aren’t left scrambling to see different practitioners to achieve a complete level of care and wellness.