Holistic vs. Functional Medicine: What’s the Difference?

Holistic vs. Functional Medicine: What’s the Difference?

The medical world comes with its own vocabulary, which can get confusing for the average patient. But learning to differentiate between some of the latest terms can ensure you find precisely the care you’re looking for in your health and wellness journey.

Dr. Terry L. Franklin integrates Eastern and Western philosophies at his practice in Monterey, California. As part of his creative approach to health care, Dr. Franklin even pioneered and coined his own system: Appreciative Medicine™. 

Two essential components of Dr. Franklin’s practice involve holistic and functional medicine. Have you ever felt confused by these two terms? Here’s what you need to know.

Looking at the whole person with holistic medicine

The easiest way to think of holistic medicine is to associate it with the whole person. More simply put, instead of focusing on your symptoms, holistic medicine assesses all aspects of your life that contribute to your health and well-being.

At the core of holistic medicine lies the understanding that the mind, spirit, and body all play an interconnected role in a person’s health and well-being. As a result, you must nurture all of these components to maintain optimal health. 

When you include holistic medicine in your health and wellness program, Dr. Franklin helps identify and incorporate mental, emotional, environmental, and physical factors into your treatment plans. For example, your holistic care plan could include the following:

These types of treatments work to restore balance within your whole person, whether you have an existing illness or want to focus on disease prevention. Think of it as making good self-care choices to keep you feeling your best — like getting enough sleep, eating right, managing stress, and moving your body.

Finding the root cause with functional medicine 

Functional medicine also recognizes the whole person in health and wellness. But this medical focus works to identify the root cause of the disease. Looking at a specific example can help clarify this subtle distinction.

Let’s say you have a headache. In most cases, you’d likely reach for an over-the-counter pain reliever to solve the problem. While this can offer temporary relief from your symptoms, it doesn’t get to the bottom of what caused them.

The functional medicine approach to headaches involves looking for the root cause of the problem, which could involve any aspect of your whole body — mental, emotional, physical, and social. 

For instance, a headache might occur because you’ve been under a lot of stress lately or because you have allergies or a food additive sensitivity.

Dr. Franklin develops functional treatment plans on a case-by-case basis, depending on your unique needs. These therapies could include:

When you get functional medicine care, Dr. Franklin also looks for environmental factors that could trigger illness, like exposure to allergens or toxins.

At the end of the day, think of functional medicine as the best way to get to the root cause of health concerns so you can treat them at the source. 

Whether you’re looking for holistic or functional medical care, you can find a trusted partner in your wellness journey with Dr. Franklin. He offers virtual, in-office, and home visits to fit any lifestyle.

Learn more about your wellness care options by contacting Dr. Franklin’s office in downtown Monterey, California. Call 831-647-3190 today.

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