What is the difference between functional medicine and integrative medicine? Or are they the same?
Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Digestive Health Support Group.
Hi @jackiem95 i wanted to share this article that breaks down the difference between the functional and integrative medicine.
I hope you find this to be helpful!
@ethanmcconkey This was interesting. I was not at all familiar with either of these approaches. Does Mayo have any practitioners in these fields or is still considered to be outside of regular medical treatment?
I would like to know, too!
I'm new to Mayo (first appt today), but seems they have some Integrative providers (https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/complementary-alternative-medicine/about/pac-20393581). I posted elsewhere about Functional Medicine (I thiiiiink if you click on my username it'll take you to that post?).
I have been hearing for something called "Functional Medicine" that is related to more than just drugs for your health issues. Does anyone have any information or does Mayo Clinic have any department that addresses this?
Jump to this post
I'm new to Mayo (first appt today), so not sure if they have anything. From my initial perusals of these forums and online content, they seem to 'debunk' much of what Functional Medicine has to say. But I've found Functional Medicine to be a more fruitful path than traditional medicine, esp for a cluster of symptoms that traditional docs don't seem to understand as parts of a whole. Functional Medicine practitioners do, like all providers, really range from the great to the terrible, so do your research and find one of the great ones, even if they're not geographically close to you. Many do video consults. Don't bother with their lower-cost 'coaches' or 'practitioners,' they're still in training; make an appt with the MD directly. And if you don't see improvement in 1-2 months, move on to the next one. https://www.ifm.org/
I moved your message and combined it with this existing discussion as I thought it would be beneficial for you to to connect with other members who are also discussing functional and/or integrative medicine.
@bluejay3 has provided some good information (thank you!), and I’m tagging @mrmie @rainofpain @stumpjumper @nicoleg15 @bobbiellen since they’ve discussed functional medicine in other conversations on Connect.
Hi @suemer . I am currently working with a functional medicine doctor. He works on getting to the root cause of my illness. For example, I was having obvious low cortisol symptoms — debilitating fatigue, salt cravings, increased thirst, hypoglycemia and more. The endocrinologist however simply looked at my blood work and since my cortisol was in the "normal" lab reference range, he dismissed me. A functional medicine doctor will look at the entire picture and take in to consideration optimal levels. My cortisol and other labs were NOT at optimal levels. Anyway, those issues are now being addressed and I am seeing improvements. I think there is a Functional Medicine Clinic that is part of the Cleveland Clinic. I am not sure about the Mayo Clinic though. I have been dealing with recurrent Epstein-Barr and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. From what I understand, Mayo does not deal with those things. In fact, their website info is not even up to date with the CDC when it comes to CFS. I'm not sure if this is helpful. Hopefully others will chime in. I wish you the best in your healing journey.
Sigh. First (& probably ONLY) Mayo visit underscored the vast difference between functional medicine and traditional medicine. Like @mrmie, the endocrinologist looked at my blood work, things looked "normal," and he dismissed me. Worse, he first tried to give me bisphosphonates for the osteoporosis, and diet & exercise brochures for the osteoporosis, which I could've gotten from my small-town PCP without a trip to Mayo. I had to fight for blood work at all, and then they failed to test (though they promised they would) for the Celiac gene, so now they're mailing that kit to me at home. To be fair, many functional practitioners have also missed the possibility of Celiac, seeing the GI issues through their own lens (and just treating the leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, which has failed to heal despite all their efforts), failing to widen that lens broadly enough to see how the osteoporosis and anemia and 20+ other symptoms form a complete picture. One naturopath tested for the islet antigen (IA2), which came back high, and suggests something she caught (possible Type 1.5 Diabetes, or LADA), and something she missed — but an outstanding functional MD caught — (IA2 food cross-reactivity; you can geek out here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5551512/). In sum, what looks "normal" to the Mayo endocrinologists requires both deeper looks at existing tests (some functional practitioners describe test results as lab low/high vs functional low/high) and deeper testing (e.g., for IA2). Honestly, in hindsight, I wish I'd saved the money and time and hassle and waste of hope, and skipped Mayo in favor of more work with functional MDs. That said, I've also encountered many a naturopath and functional MD with too narrow of a lens, so it is essential to keep looking until you find the right one. I'm not sure I'm there yet. I'll definitely recommend when I find THE one, if they exist. Meanwhile, I'm considering training to become a certified functional medicine coach — but I'm too sick to do it right now! — because I want to spare others the hellish journey I've been on for so long. These complicated chronic illnesses are multifactorial (numerous causes), and traditional medicine is still too deductive a process to understand and treat those cases. Deductive has a theory and seeks to test it. Inductive has data and seeks to discover a theory. Functional is more inductive but, alas, even those practitioners — if they lack experience &/or motivation to keep pulling on the ball of yarn — can get too deductive to understand and treat the outlier cases that don't fit their experience. Hope this helps someone out there!
Connect with thousands of patients and caregivers for support and answers.
Already have an account? Sign In