San Diego, California, USA

Alternative Medicine

Functional Medicine vs. Alternative Medicine: The Differences Explained

In my professional career in the world of health and wellness I have seen my clients frequently ask the question of how to differentiate Functional Medicine from Alternative Medicine. Sometimes these two terms are intertwined and can lead to confusion, but to help you out of that doubt in this article I will talk about the key differences between these two approaches from my experience.



From my perspective, Functional Medicine is an approach that truly puts into practice the philosophy of “treat the cause, not just the symptom”. As practitioners of Functional Medicine, we delve into a thorough investigation of the underlying roots of disease. We don’t just stay on the surface of visible symptoms; instead, we consider how the body’s systems interact with each other and how factors such as genetics, lifestyle and nutrition influence a person’s overall health. We believe that a good healthcare professional goes beyond fixing the current problem and looks for the overall solution.

Functional Medicine


Alternative Medicine is intriguing, but often challenging territory. Understanding the differences between the various alternative approaches can be complicated. In general, these approaches tend to be outside the realm of conventional medicine. While some patients have experienced improvement with alternative methods such as acupuncture or homeopathy, I have found that they often lack the solid scientific basis that underpins Functional Medicine. Functional Medicine only works in specific cases and should be taken with a grain of salt in discussions about patient benefit.



  1. Cause vs. Symptom Approach: I have seen how Functional Medicine is more effective because of the way it works with the patient, it looks for a general diagnosis and attacks the problems from all possible angles, the scientific support of Functional Medicine allows a more accurate diagnosis than any of the other forms. On the other hand, Alternative Medicine does not take these points into account and focuses on relieving the patient’s symptoms or pain without looking at the underlying causes.
  2. Scientific Basis: I have always opted for a scientific endorsement of each medical procedure we perform, so we can give the patient the assurance that the treatment has already been tested and proven in various studies that demonstrate its effectiveness in the recovery of their health. Functional Medicine far exceeds Alternative Medicine in this area, although the latter has presented results in specific cases, these do not present a record that is safe for all cases.
  3. Collaboration with Conventional Medicine: This is my favorite part, in Functional Wellness Network we operate a community of health professionals from different fields that can respond to requests in search of a comprehensive response to the problem. This is a unique way that Functional Medicine has to the ailments of the sufferer, while in Traditional Medicine, generally, is practiced independently and often do not match between their different methods.

When I talk about how to take care of our health and wellness, prevention is our best ally. That’s why at Functional Wellness Network we work with the state-of-the-art ANTIOXIDANT SCANNER, which allows you to detect the levels of antioxidants in your body and assess your state of health in just a few minutes. You can get a clearer picture of your well-being and discover how you can optimize your diet to align it with a good state of health.


Ultimately, both Functional Medicine and Alternative Medicine have their place in the world of health and wellness. However, it is critical to understand the differences between these approaches in order to make informed decisions about our medical care. Functional Medicine is noted for its focus on addressing the underlying causes of disease and its collaboration with conventional medicine. At Functional Wellness Network, we are committed to providing quality information and solutions that empower healthcare professionals and their clients toward optimal wellness.


Both Functional Medicine and Alternative Medicine have their place in the world of health and fulfill the same function: to help the patient recover. Only their difference lies in the approach given to the problem. While Functional Medicine approaches the problem from different angles and solve it in a comprehensive manner through a network of health professionals specialized in each area of human health.


I would like to invite you to our Webinars that we do twice a month, on Thursdays at 12:00 PM (-07:00 GMT Pacific Time). In these conferences we are talking about different health topics, news and changes in the health world and business strategies for your integral health center.


We help you to build your integral wellness!


Dr. Mansi Shah
Functional Wellness Network

Be part of our healthy community on Social Media

Learn more on this topic

Related Blog Posts

Connection between oral health and general health.

Connection between oral health and general health.

The connection between oral health and general health is an area of research that has gained increasing attention in recent years. Advances in the understanding of the oral microbiota, systemic inflammation and cell signaling pathways…

read more

Naturally Effective Health Solutions

San Diego, California, USA

Functional Wellness Network® 2021 . All rights reserved.

Pin It on Pinterest