What is the Difference Between a Naturopath and Functional Medicine Doctor? | Trivida Functional Medicine

What is the Difference Between a Naturopath and Functional Medicine Doctor?

Naturopathy and functional medicine have some similarities, but the two medical fields have some stark differences, as well. Naturopathy focuses on natural remedies to illness, while functional medicine looks at the entirety of the body and how the environment around the body affects it. These different approaches can sometimes come to the same conclusions, but it’s important to know the differences between the two when looking for practitioners for naturopathy or functional medicine in Colorado.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine gets to the core of the underlying causes of disease by implementing a systems-oriented approach that focuses on the patient. Instead of focusing on the disease, condition, or symptoms, functional medicine takes aim at the whole person. This methodology is science-based, but looks at the uniqueness of someone’s genetic and environmental makeup. 

By focusing on the individual patient, it can find the balance of the internal factors affecting the patient, as well as external factors from the environment. The focus is on maintaining overall health, not just getting rid of disease. Taking this 360-degree view can enhance the patient’s overall health, and get a better understanding of all the factors that are impacting the patient.

What is Naturopathy?

Naturopathic medicine puts an emphasis on self-healing through natural therapies. This practice blends a philosophy that nature is the optimal healer with knowledge from current research to identify the underlying causes of disease. Because the focus is on natural healing, this system of medicine is based on the belief that diseases can be successfully treated without the use of drugs. Instead, this focuses on things like diet, exercise, and massage.

Naturopathy aims to identify and remove the underlying causes of illness over simply suppressing symptoms. The focus is put on things like dietary changes, exercise therapy, homeopathy, herbal supplements, and practitioner-guided detoxification – among other things. There are some naturopathic practitioners that utilize other methods, and may refer their patients to outside conventional health care providers, as well. 

How Do I Know Which is Right for Me?

Both of these fields of medicine are similar in that they are both centered on the patient, treat the cause, and use evidence-based medicine. While both fields take the approach of treating the cause of the disease, they differ in where the cause is. Functional medicine works to get rid of what is leading to the disease, while naturopathic doctors take an overall look at lifestyle and environment. 

One of the main differences between these two fields of medicine is in how naturopathy leans on the healing power of nature – trusting in the body’s ability to heal itself. This is generally performed by getting rid of the obstacles to a cure by giving the body what it needs. Figuring out which type of care is right for you can come from talking to a trusted professional. For more information on functional medicine, naturopathy, and which might be right for you, reach out to the experts at Trivida today.

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