We at the Sound Clinic strive to offer our patients the best of both the conventional and alternative approaches to healthcare. It’s not always easy to make distinctions between various terms like Integrative vs Natural vs Functional Medicine. We like to think of ourselves as grounded in the science of evidence-based medicine, but also open to other avenues, especially if they are safe and represent good value. We hope the section below will lay the foundation for a better understanding of what we’re trying to say in the next Scope of Practice section.
Definitions and Distinctions
DO vs MD
All American physicians are either DOs (doctors of osteopathy) or MDs (medical doctors). Their schooling is identical in duration and very similar in content in the core studies of pathology, pharmacology, anatomy etc. The principal difference between the two types of physicians is that DOs are trained in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM). DOs and MDs compete as equals for internship and residency training positions in all specialties. This is similar to American dentists, who can be DDSs or DMDs; in both medicine and dentistry, there is no legal distinction between the paired credentials.
Most DOs now practice in conventional medical settings but many still feel that their decisions are informed by Osteopathic principles. We go into more details in the Musculoskeletal Medicine section but we feel the need to state here that the Clinic is ultimately guided by the Osteopathic philosophy, even when providing for patients who aren't complaining of pain.
If there is a single unifying Osteopathic principle it is a belief in the body's innate drive to self-correction. This may seem obvious but it is often at odds with the pharmacological approaches that form the foundation of allopathic medicine. MDs are technically 'allopaths,' but this term has mostly fallen out of use since the early 20th century, when homeopaths, osteopaths and allopaths were more distinct approaches to healthcare. We think that there is value to be found in all three of these and that they are not mutually exclusive.
Alternative vs Conventional
The term ‘modern medicine’ represents an attempt to create distance between current high-tech practices and a history marred by interventions that did more harm than good. After centuries of blood letting, mercury administration, leeches and the like, it is not hard to see why the medical industry might want to make such a distinction. We believe wholeheartedly in modern conventional medical science as it is applied to many chronic and almost all acute disease states. But, in some ways, the pendulum has now swung too far in the other direction.
Despite incredible advancements in technology, millions of Americans continue to fall through the cracks of the prevailing medical paradigm. Big pharma has given us many valuable tools, but in their search for a quick fix, especially one which requires perpetual treatment, they have helped create a culture of chronic disease. It has become routine for patients to be labeled with diagnoses like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome that imply neither a cause nor a cure. We believe that these and many other disease states represent common end points of complicated processes involving (but not limited to) nutritional deficiencies, chronic infections and overloaded detoxification pathways. If these underlying causes can be addressed, even longstanding symptoms often resolve. It may sound trite and it isn’t always easy, but we always look to address the underlying cause rather than just manage the symptoms.
Functional Medicine vs Integrative Primary Care
All of the Sound Clinic practitioners integrate conventional biomedical and alternative philosophies into their approach to the patient. In the setting of a clinic that is equipped to provide services related to the management of common conditions, this could be called integrative primary care. Integrative medicine practitioners may describe themselves as being rooted in conventional medicine, but also integrating manual medicine, acupuncture and other modalities such meditation and essential oils into their treatment plans. Functional Medicine could also be described this way, but a better definition would include mention of the desire to more deeply understand a patient’s individualized biochemistry. Functional Medicine practitioners typically recommend specialized lab tests that allow for the creation of a holistic and personalized treatment plan. A typical plan might be expected to include nutritional supplements made from herbs, nutrients or homeopathic remedies, and is generally targeted at underlying imbalances rather than symptom management. We hope this page and the practitioner biography section will help you to determine which of our talented practitioners are best suited to your needs and beliefs.