Naturopath versus a Functional Medicine Doctor

Functional medicine is an approach that determines how and why a chronic disease has arrived to restore health by correcting the root causes of each individual's imbalances. It is a science-based approach that puts the patient at the center of care. The same disease can have different causes in different people. The same cause can be responsible for different symptoms in different people. Thus, the caregiver and the patient work together to correct the imbalances that are causing the symptoms. Functional medicine, and practitioners of functional medicine differ from traditional Western Medicine in many ways. You do not need an MD to be a doctor of functional medicine. However, a master’s degree in a health field is required. Practitioners can have a background in public health, behavioral health, pharmacy, medicine, physical therapy, nursing, or other health-related fields.

Conventional Medicine VS. Functional Medicine

Conventional medicine is especially excellent in the treatment of acute problems. A traditional doctor will ask: “What symptoms lead to what diagnosis? What treatment for this diagnosis?". The care focuses on the drug prescription in the majority of cases: a drug is supposed to soothe a symptom. In acute cases, once the symptom has subsided, the body often regains its balance naturally (e.g. the fracture heals on its own once the bone has been put in the right position and the pain has subsided). While this approach is good for acute cases, it might be so good for chronic diseases. The acute approach will always aim to soothe the symptom with a drug or an action. Except that in chronic cases, the symptoms accumulate, so the drugs accumulate and their interactions lead to side effects and thus new symptoms. Since the body has been in moderate distress for a long time, it can no longer regain its balance because the causes of the imbalance have not been resolved by treating the symptom.

Functional medicine is best suited for chronic problems. The Functional Medicine Practitioner will ask the questions of “How and why? How did this symptom happen? Why could his cause have taken hold? What innate mechanism was disrupted and by what?” Although drug treatment can be used in functional medicine, its primary goal is to balance the causes of the disease and not its symptoms.


The figure of the naturopath works in the field of prevention and protection of well-being, illness and treatment are the responsibility of the doctor. The naturopath is the operator of holistic well-being according to nature, a professional who deals with active prevention and the dissemination of information, techniques and methods to preserve well-being.
The figure of the naturopath moves in the field of well-being and prevention through the use of multidisciplinary methods and methods that promote the protection of the condition of physical, mental and hormonal balance.

The activity of the naturopath starts from a global, holistic observation of the subject who turns to him: physical, environmental, behavioral, emotional. The naturopathic interview can last up to an hour during which present and past conditions, lifestyle, nutrition, physical activity, family relationships, emotional reactions, and all the aspects that the subject will want through a multi-level conversation are taken into consideration.

The naturopath is not a doctor, they do not make a diagnosis or “cure” diseases, but they help the patient to take the path of restoring well-being, or to be able to deal with the disease to the best of their conditions, allowing the patient to find the mental and physical energy to tackle the fight against disease.

Naturopathy does not act as a substitute for allopathic medicine (classical Western medicine), but as a complementary, integrative tool that can help pharmacological treatment to be more effective more quickly.

What Does Function Medicine Treat