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Functional, Foundational and Conventional Medicine Compared

Oct 3, 2022 | Blog

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What is Functional Medicine?

Functional or Foundational Medicine is an exciting, emerging field of medicine best described as the NEW science of biology, the REAL understanding of how our bodies work, WHY they break down and how to RESTORE FUNCTION and OPTIMIZE health. It goes beyond the ‘suppression of symptoms’ of Conventional Medicine to uncover the ROOT CAUSES of your health issues by looking at your WHOLE body and your environment. In this article, we will discuss the highlights of Functional, Foundational and Conventional Medicine compared.


Functional or Foundational Medicine is true ‘HEALTH’ care. The focus is on increasing vitality, not merely the suppression of symptoms. Professional healers and educators’ partner with clients as they recognize the body’s innate ability to heal when DEFICIENCIES and TOXICITIES are corrected.


Part of the allure and success of Functional/Foundational Medicine, and why academic hospital-based centers like the world-famous Cleveland Clinic are embracing it, is the wholistic approach to healthcare.

Read on to discover ‘The Future of Medicine’, available now.




Conventional Medicine separates the body into smaller and smaller parts, without emphasizing the interconnectedness of those parts.

For example, the branch of medicine known as CARDIOLOGY deals with diseases or abnormalities of the heart, while the branch of NEUROLOGY deals with the nervous system and ENDOCRINOLOGY deals with the endocrine system, which controls the hormones in your body.

These systems (as well as MANY others) are generally addressed separately and there is no greater proof of this than looking at the SPECIALISTS who take care of these issues.

So, if you are diagnosed with problems with your heart, your nerves or your hormones, chances are that you would be referred to three different SPECIALISTS.

Respectively, these would be a cardiologist, a neurologist and an endocrinologist.

On the other hand, one big difference compared to this new, emerging science of biology is…


FUNCTIONAL/FOUNDATIONAL MEDICINE breaks apart this artificial division of the human body into separate, disconnected parts. The truth is that your body is ONE INTEGRATED, ORGANIZED and WHOLE system.




The other main difference is that while Conventional Medicine may occasionally identify things that contribute to poor health there’s not a deliberate solution to answer the real, ROOT CAUSES of chronic illness and chronic degenerative disease.

For example, we have all had headaches in our lives.

Now, if you have severe headaches, you will almost certainly be given a drug.

Aspirin, for example.

The question is, has the CAUSE of any headache in history ever been ‘the lack of aspirin in the bloodstream’?

No. Never.

However, IF lack of aspirin in your bloodstream was a cause of headaches, then the aspirin would be addressing the CAUSE.

So, even though taking the aspirin (or any drug), changes your physiology and does have an EFFECT (that EFFECT being the SUPPRESSION of SYMPTOMS), it doesn’t address the underlying, FOUNDATIONAL CAUSE of symptoms, sickness or disease.

Functional Medicine and helps us understand and emphasizes the underlying FOUNDATIONAL CAUSES of imbalance and eventual disease. CAUSES like INFLAMMATION or STRESS or TOXICITY or NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY or ENERGY (MITOCHONDRIA) PROBLEMS – these are all FUNDAMENTAL/FOUNDATIONAL CAUSES across all specialties that are not being bridged in conventional thinking.


In other words, Functional Medicine is the bridge that can connect the dots of the whole story of medical history and medical science.

Another example of the difference between temporary suppression of symptoms and sustained resolution of symptoms, sickness and chronic disease.

Someone comes in with a sever inflammatory disease, let’s say an autoimmune disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, where the persons own body, specifically their own immune system is attacking their body, in this case, their joints.

The conventional approach is diagnosing and treating the disease with a drug:

‘You have an inflammatory disease; we’re going to SUPPRESS the inflammation.’

The thing is INFLAMMATION, since we’re talking about it in this example, is defined as the body’s natural, healing, intelligent response to an injury.


It is normal and GOOD for your body to have a temporary inflammatory response.


But, if that response becomes CHRONIC, then we have to figure out WHY. Otherwise, we may suppress it (temporarily) but the underlying CAUSE will persist and the problem will persist, or come back.

Just suppressing the inflammation by using pharmaceuticals, chemicals design to block, shut down or interfere with normal human physiology ignores the CAUSE.

Drugs are excellent at changing physiology.

However, they do not (because they CAN NOT) heal and repair.

By themselves, they rarely restore function unless underlying CAUSES are addressed.

So, in the examples above, whether a simple headache or a debilitating autoimmune disease, doctors may identify WHAT is happening, but they don’t go deep enough to uncover WHY it is happening on a FOUNDATIONAL, ROOT CAUSE LEVEL.


Ask WHY to get to the REAL CAUSE


Functional/Foundational Medicine asks, ‘Why is that happening in the first place?’

So, we address and answer the main question that is not being asked in CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE which is not HOW can we shut down the inflammation but WHY the inflammation is there in the first place.

In other words…

What are the CAUSES of our body’s SYMPTOMS?

So, exactly WHAT ARE THE MAIN CAUSES of symptoms, sickness and disease?


A SMALL (but Significant) Distinction – ‘Functional vs. Foundational’

In Foundational Medicine, a new term you may be hearing more and more of, we almost look for ‘The CAUSE of the CAUSE’.

In other words, we may have a stubborn symptom like diarrhea, and perhaps a specialist, in this case a GASTROENTEROLOGIST, may diagnose it as a disease like ‘Irritable Bowel Disease’, or ‘Crohn’s Disease’.

So, in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE, we’re looking at addressing those symptoms, with a specific diet, advanced nutritional supplementation, herbs, botanicals – things like that. It is certainly more natural, and a safer approach than pharmaceuticals and many times more effective and permanent.

But in FOUNDATIONAL Medicine, we go even deeper.

Why the symptom to begin with?

The beautiful thing is that no matter what is going on in the human body, whether stomach related or ANYTHING else, the ROOT CAUSES are almost always one or more of the following:


  5. SCARS


 ALL of these CAUSES are the drivers of chronic disease.

The conventional medical approach focuses on symptoms and identifies the name of the disease and trying to match a drug to the name.

This is the ‘A specific pill for every ill’ approach.

There is a big difference between the DETECTION and CORRECTION of CAUSES versus the DIAGNOSIS (labeling) and TREATMENT (suppression) of SYMPTOMS.


The NEW way of Taking Care of You


So, how does this affect how we take care of patients?

The biggest difference is that Functional Medicine doctors use a different set of tools that are based on first IDENTIFYING and then ADDRESSING these CAUSES.

So, if FOOD (DIET) AND NUTRITION is major contributor/CAUSE of heart disease (and it most DEFINITELY IS), we use diet not only to prevent heart disease but to address and reverse it.

If FOOD is the driver of INFLAMMATION, then we use it to help cool the inflammation to reverse it in the body.

For example, if someone has an autoimmune disease and gluten exacerbates the inflammatory response of their immune system, there symptoms are worsened when they eat this protein known as gluten, it shows up in their body as joint pain.

If someone has a TOXIN that’s driving their immune system or that’s causing mitochondria injury leading to brain dysfunction, we help the body remove the toxin to improve the detoxification of the body.

So, we use the same concepts of science but we reframe it in a way that prioritizes the cause rather than the symptom.

Functional Medicine is medicine that helps you understand the CAUSE of disease.


CONCLUSION -The Future of Medicine, available NOW.


In Functional/Foundational Medicine, more and more conventionally trained and holistically trained doctors who are frustrated with mediocre, often temporary clinical results are asking…


The promise of Functional and Foundational Medicine is to find answers to that question not only for these dedicated healers and educators, but for their patients as well.