Functional Medicine vs Conventional Medicine



In conventional medicine, the focus is on compartmentalizing the body into individual systems, and diagnosing and treating the symptoms of an individual system. The Functional medicine approach views the body as one integrated system, and seeks to identify and address the root cause of disease. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.

How functional medicine differs from conventional medicine.


Patient centered, personalized approach.
The body operates as an integrated system.
Gene expression can be altered.
Health is about vitality.
Function focused, root cause approach.
Prevention focused.
Lifestyle and nutrition-based.
Finding the cause.


Disease centered, generalized approach.
The body is a collection of parts operating independently.
Gene expression is not changeable.
Health is the absence of disease.
Pathology focused, system management.
Disease focused.
Pharmaceutical based.
Treating the symptom.

Why do we need functional medicine?

Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

Most physicians practice a system of medicine oriented toward acute care, the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that is of short duration and in need of urgent care, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.

Unfortunately, the acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. In most cases it does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of each individual or factors such as environmental exposure to toxins and the aspects of today’s lifestyle that have a direct influence on the rise in chronic disease in modern Western society.

There is a huge gap between research and the way physicians practice. The gap between emerging research in basic sciences and integration into medical practice is enormous—as long as 50 years—particularly in the area of complex, chronic illness.

Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.

Become a Patient

Are you interested in optimizing your health and wellness and becoming a patient? Call us at (888) 354-2466 or click the button below to get started. At Bion Healthcare, our goal is for you to experience personalized medicine that addresses the root cause of your health concerns and moves you toward optimal living.

About the author

Annamarie Salyer

Annamarie Salyer FNP-C is the co-founder of Bion Healthcare, a Functional Medicine practitioner, and author of the Bion Healthcare Blog. Mrs. Salyer, her husband, and their two daughters call the Indianapolis area home.

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