Holistic Health vs Functional Medicine

What is the difference and what is the same about these two natural modalities?

Holistic and Functional medicine are two different medical modalities. They both use specific approaches to help treat the body. The two do have a natural cohesion. A lot of the time, the two modalities are combined to give a balanced and holistic way to achieve overall health and wellness. 

Today, we will look at what similarities and differences these two modalities have and how they benefit us in their own way. 

What Are The Similarities Between Holistic Health And Functional Medicine?

Both modalities want to help treat the body holistically and naturally. They consider all physiological, biological, and chemical factors that influence health and wellness. This includes the mind and emotions as well as the body.

Holistic and Functional medicine does not focus on eliminating current symptoms. Instead, they focus on identifying the underlying cause of any existing health issues. For example, you might go see a professional to deal with your sore throat but it turns out, that your sore throat is caused by emotional trauma. The more stressed you become, the worse the symptoms appear to be. The professional will help you manage the trauma so that the physical symptom of the sore throat can go away. 

Both modalities believe that prevention is a primary focus. This means that your professional therapist will not only see you when you are experiencing negative health symptoms, they will also see you for maintenance. Centre Spring MD say that “Wellness in this type of medicine is seen as the pursuit of the highest quality physical, environmental, mental, spiritual, social, and emotional aspects of the human experience.”

What Are The Differences Between Holistic Health and Functional Medicine?

The main difference between the two modalities is the methods in which they treat a person. 

Holistic medicine or health is a healing-orientated mindset that focuses on the full range of physical, emotional, mental, socials and spiritual influences that can affect a person’s health. It does not only consider the physical symptoms you might be experiencing but also looks at your emotions and environment. A holistic approach sometimes requires you to solve your emotional turmoil to help you deal with your physical symptoms. 

Functional medicine believes in uncovering the underlying cause of conditions. It is believed that bodily as well as mental and emotional, are interconnected through chemical, biological and physiological properties. 

Functional medicine views all organ systems as integrated and considers how they work together rather than separately.

In other words, Holistic looks at the 5 aspects of holistic health. If one of the aspects are out, the whole body begins to suffer. Functional medicine looks at how the systems work together and tries to look for underlying conditions and causes that could have created the symptoms in the first place. For example, a bad neck ache has been linked to bad gut health. Fix your gut problems and your neck pain could go away. 


Both Holistic and Functional medicine want to help treat the body as naturally as possible. There are times when traditional medicine will be needed but it is better for your overall health if you ingest less prescription medication and aggressive treatments to help maintain conditions such as a mild headache or chronic inflammation. 

To learn more about Holistic health, read the article below: Everything You Need to Know About Holistic Health Tools.

The History Behind Holistic Health

The ancient roots of holistic health and how the industry has evolved today

Holistic healing has been part of ancient science dating back at least 5,000 years ago. The healers believed that there is a healthy way of living that allows a person to live in harmony with nature. 

The great philosopher Socrates recognized this idea and he suggested that we should take the body as a whole and not part by part. 

Today, we dive into the history behind holistic health, where it came from and how it has become part of our daily lives. 

What Is The Oldest Form Of Healthcare?

Did you know that herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare? This is where you achieve a holistic balance and learn about the medicinal properties of plants. Western herbalism originated in Ancient Greece and Rome, then spread to Europe, then North and South America. Healers would treat sick people with herbs, flowers and other materials that they found in nature. This is where healers began to learn the healing properties of each natural material.

Where Did Holistic Health Originate From?

Long before X-rays and antibiotics, healers knew the importance of emotional and spiritual well being. They knew that the two elements played a role in achieving physical health. It is hard to say where holistic health came from because each culture has its own story to tell. 

 2 of the most well documented holistic health traditions are Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Ayurveda

It is estimated that Chinese Medicine has been around for almost 5,000 years and it has continued to evolve into a treatment method that is still being practised today. 

Ayurveda on the other hand, originated in India in the 6th century by Sushruta known as “the father of surgery”. This modality focuses on the 5 elements of the universe, the seven elements of the body, and the three “doshas” or biological energies that each element represents.

Holistic Health and Modern Medicine 

Hippocrates lived in the 4th century. He was known as the father of medicine. He had a strong belief in encouraging people to learn how to self-heal the body. There was a constant debate between supporting the body and intervening with the body’s natural way to self-heal. These debates happened all the time under the scientific revolution of the 19th century. 

As we began to evolve, science proved that illness and disease were caused by germs. Slowly but surely, people stopped putting the focus on the other elements that might make people sick and only focused on science and what germs and bacteria did to the body. This ideology made people more sceptical about the holistic approach to treating the body. It was easier to take a pill and get rid of the symptom than to look at the cause of the symptom in the first place.  

It was then discovered that not all medicine can cure disease and many scientific treatments failed. Holistic medicine came back and taught people about living a healthy lifestyle, environmental factors that can cause harm as well as the importance of emotional health. More people began to look into treating the body from a holistic point of view and the Modern Western Holistic Movement was born. 

The Modern Western Holistic Movement

This movement began in the late 1960s. People started to realize that modern medicine focused too much on drugs and medical technology for diagnosing and treating diseases. Soon after, people began to see that Holistic practitioners have the same degrees as traditional doctors do but they have extra training in herbal therapies, nutrition and so on. 

Did you know that The first National Conference on Holistic Health came to California in 1975? Shortly after the Holistic Medical Association came in 1978. Finally, The American Holistic Nurses Association came in 1981. Since then, people have begun to believe that there is proof and reason to start treating the body from a holistic approach once again. 

Holistic Health Today 

Over one-third of Americans, today use complementary and alternative medicine to help heal their body. Acupuncture is one of the most well known alternative healing therapies in the world today. 

People tend to be more concerned about their overall well-being. They now have a better understanding that for you to be healthy, you need to treat your mind, body and soul together. Instead of just treating the symptoms, they are now looking into the cause of the symptom in the first place. 

It is unfortunate to say that we live in a time of great imbalance. There are more chemicals around us than ever before. We do not have a work and home balance. In general, we lead very stressful lifestyles and this leads to unhealthy habits, bad health and poor mental health. 

Even though some conventional doctors do not practice holistic treatments, there are hundreds of trained holistic practitioners that want to help you and your body. 

A 2012 study proves that massage helps to speed up muscle healing, reduces inflammation and promotes mitochondrial growth. This is just one of the holistic modalities that people use daily to try to help maintain a holistically, healthy body. 


“Want to know one of the most rewarding and holistic ways to heal & make significant life choices that will fully align? Learning to slow down, breath, think, journal, talk, and process before reacting. Knowing you have worked through the issue, be it mentally, emotionally or spiritually, before taking action lets you write the script of your life how you want. Which in turn gives you the best chance of achieving your dreams”- Natasha Potter 

The holistic health industry is growing every day. More and more people are starting to see the benefits of treating their bodies from a holistic point of view. They might turn to homoeopathy to treat hayfever, massage to treat muscle pain, journaling to help with their mental state and herbology to help with stomach aches.

Everything You Need to Know About Holistic Health Tools

The 5 aspects of holistic health and their benefits

Holistic health is about caring for the whole person. A professional will assess your physical, mental, spiritual as well as social needs. By understanding these 5 main tools, you can see how these aspects affect your overall health. 

Today, we are going to take a look at the 5 aspects of the holistic care tool kit and how they benefit our lives. 


When you think of physical health, you think of overall health. This is because our body shows us physical signs when something is wrong. You have a fever because there is an infection in your body, you bleed when your skin is open and so on. The physical signs are easy to track and measure. Looking after your physical well-being is important because it can make a difference to your overall health. 

Here are a few ways you can keep your body physically healthy:

  • Sleep for 8 hours a day. This will allow your boy to rest and repair any damages that it might have
  • Eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet will help ensure that your body is getting enough vitamins and nutrients to stay strong and healthy 
  • Exercise. You need to move your body for 30 minutes a day at least


Our emotional health is often overlooked. People assume that their emotions are not always important and they feel like their emotions do not affect their health. This is not true. Your emotions do affect your health. Stress is an emotion that you feel. When you are stressed, you increase the cortisone in your body and decrease your immune response. This can lead to you getting sick. 

You can support your emotional health by:

  • Go to therapy if you need help dealing with your emotions healthily and holistically
  • Learn to deal with your stress. Journal, meditate, do some art or find a hobby that allows you to switch off from the world for a few moments


Research has shown that the happiest people are the ones who have deep connections with their friends, family and community. People who have a healthy social life, tend to be more satisfied with their lives. Life is meant to be shared and enjoyed with those around us. 

You can get the benefits of living a healthy, holistic social life by: 

  • Make time to connect with your loved ones. If you cannot physically see them, call and catch up for a few minutes every week
  • Make an effort to spend quality time with your friends. You cannot work all the time. You need to make time to be present with your friends and family
  • Get involved in a charity. There is nothing more satisfying for your soul than to help someone in need. Get involved in a local charity, help the community and you will start to feel more satisfied and content with your life


This is a bit of a hard aspect for you to get in touch with. It is an amazing tool to have at your disposal to help you holistically see life. Spiritually does not mean that you have to become religious. Your spiritual health should focus more on how you connect with your inner soul. Get a better understanding that there is a greater world around you and a higher being that has a bigger picture and plan for us. 

You do not need to go to a place of prayer to achieve spiritual awakening. You can simply:

  • Spend time in nature
  • Meditate for a few minutes
  • If you want, you can take time out every day to practice your faith
  • Spend a few minutes in the morning saying thank you for what you have been given in your life. Even something small like a great cup of coffee


Our final tool is our mental health. There is a difference between emotional and mental. Emotional refers to our daily mood and emotions that we feel on the spot. Mental refers to our cognitive abilities which affect how our brain functions. 

You can help stimulate your mental holistic tool by:

  •  Keeping your mind active. Learn new things, do puzzles and problem solve 
  • Consume foods that are high in antioxidants as well as omega-3s. This will help reduce inflammation and support cognitive function
  • Avoid excessive drinking, smoking and consuming recreational drugs 
  • The brain is directly connected to the gut. If you keep your gut healthy, you can help keep your brain healthy. Consume prebiotic and probiotic-rich foods

Why is keeping your 5 aspects of holistic health healthy so beneficial?

Your body is designed to function like a well-oiled machine. If you have a rusty part, it will affect the other parts of the machine. This will make the machine not run smoothly. 

By taking care of all 5 aspects of holistic health, your body will function at its optimal. You will feel mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually ready to take on whatever life has to throw at you. You can do this with a clear mind, a healthy body and a belief that it will all be okay. 


Looking after your 5 aspects of holistic health, you can connect your mind, body and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being and ensure that everything is functioning at its optimal. Holistic health will help you find the cause of your problems, give you natural tools to deal with them and the ability to look after your body without having to rely on synthetic materials. 

Holistic health is a lifestyle choice that allows you to take responsibility for your level of well-being, your daily choices and take charge of your health. This does not mean that conventional medicine is not needed from time to time. You will be able to be more connected to your body and know that something is off.