Traditional, or conventional “Western” medicine in the US is typically doctors treating illness or disease that is already in play in our bodies. Typically making a diagnosis based on symptoms or behaviors rather than the cause of the disorder. Treatment will often rely on synthetic pharmaceuticals and surgeries. ** The thing that upsets me most about Western medicine is this: Most US citizens don’t even know there are other options.
Integrative/ Holistic medicine is a comprehensive medical approach that takes into account the habits of a patient and they treat the whole person (mind, spirit, and body) rather than just an illness or disease. Integrative medicine uses a combination of healthcare practices to diagnosed and treat patients, which may include lab work, diet, acupuncture, homeopathic supplements or pharmaceuticals if necessary.
Naturopathic medicine Some naturopaths will adhere to a strict practice of “nature cure” focusing only on diet, lifestyle modifications, detoxification and other natural interventions. Other naturopaths will offer additional non-conventional modalities such as acupuncture or homeopathy. At the other end of the spectrum are naturopathic physicians who extensively manipulate the body’s physiology and biochemistry by means of botanicals, nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. A majority of naturopathic practitioners incorporate pieces of all these elements in their practice and care for their patients.
Functional medicine uses the most current scientific information about how genetics, lifestyle, and environment interact as a whole to diagnose and treat dysfunctions and imbalances. (I believe we will see more functional medicine doctors in the future.)