Functional medicine is a patient-centered approach to healthcare that views the body as a system of interrelated and mutually dependent components. Very similar to the way that Chinese medicine sees the body as a whole, and aims to treat the root of the patient’s disharmony while avoiding the common practice of treating symptoms.
The primary difference between Chinese medicine and functional medicine is found in the diagnostic procedures. Chinese medicine practitioners rely on time tested methods of differential diagnosis based on the qualities of the pulse on the radial artery of the arm; the condition of the tongue including its shape, color, coating, and size, and specific questions that depending on the patient’s answers give insight as to which organ system may be out of harmony within the body.
Functional medicine is systems biology oriented and seeks to identify deficiencies through lab work that may include conventional blood lab work , stool testing, saliva testing, organic acids testing, hair analysis to name a few. The clinician is guided to chose the most appropriate test depending on the condition being treated and the signs and symptoms the patient presents.
Both systems rely on family history as a tool for assessing current complaints. In functional medicine, the family history is labeled as “the antecedents” and may point to genetic predespositions. Chinese medicine practitioner also take under account the patient’s overall constitution at the time of birth and label it as “pre-heaven Qi (Chi)”. In both systems it is accepted that genetic variants or the quality of the pre-heaven Qi, are not what leads to sickness. Instead, it is what the person does after birth. In functional medicine this is thought of as the epigenitcs or lifestyle. In Chinese medicine the post-heaven Qi, influenced by lifestyle, determines or influences the overall health of the person.
To learn on how functional medicine can be of help, call our clinic at: 904-806-7123