How does Functional Medicine differ from conventional medicine?
Conventional medicine tends to look at the constellation of symptoms first (the branches and leaves), which usually results in disease diagnosis. Often, this diagnosis is associated with a drug or drugs that can be prescribed to treat this constellation of symptoms, and that is the end of the story. But this approach neglects the more fundamental aspects of health. It treats all patients who present with similar symptoms the same way and completely ignores the inherent differences among patients and the myriad possible causes that a "disease" can have.
Functional medicine is holistic in how it views patients and the problems they present with. It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. Functional medicine includes the core concepts of naturopathic medicine within its system, is built on the foundation of conventional medicine, and incorporates the open-mindedness of integrative medicine when determining the most effective modality needed to get the patient well. Functional medicine has built upon all these other approaches to healthcare to make available to the patient the most effective medical system currently known. Functional medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century.