Finding A Functional Medicine Practitioner

Functional Medicine is getting more and more popular so the natural question for most people interested in Functional Medicine is where do I find a doctor or practitioner specializing in Functional Medicine? That’s where the Find Doc directory comes in. So here are a few questions to consider when using this directory to find a Functional Medicine doctor or a functional medicine  healthcare practitioner:

  1. What’s the clinical training of the doctor or practitioner? Not all the practitioners on this directory have the same level of clinical training. For instance Medical Doctors (MDs), Osteopathic Physicians (DOs), Chiropractic Physicians (DCs) and Naturopathic Physicians (NDs) on the whole have been through a fairly rigorous 4-year residential medical education with hundreds of hours of supervised hands on clinical training and had to pass licensing board exams in order to practice medicine. While this doesn’t automatically qualify them as good Functional Medicine practitioners it gives you a sense of their background and experience. Other professionals, such as Acupuncturists, Dietitians, Nutritional Therapists, Nurse Practitioners and Certified Nutritionists have been through a standardized training and as such are trained and qualified to deal with your health care issues.
  2. What type of training in Functional Medicine have they had? There are a lot of courses and programs teaching Functional Medicine and the My Functional Medicine directory does its best to show you, the visitor, what training programs the doctors and practitioners have been trained in. We even give a brief description of the training course so you can see how many hours it is and what qualities it gives the practitioner.
  3. What do they specialize in? You can search the directory looking for a specialty or condition that a practitioner has experience working with. When you find someone you like, email them and ask them what their experience has been treating a condition like the one you’re suffering from.
  4. What are their reviews like? The reviews are posted by patients that have worked with that practitioner. Read them to see if they resonate with you. Have they had a good or bad experience? What were the success stories like?
  5. What are the ratings like? A rating of 4.5 from 25 people is often more telling than a rating of 5 from only 2 people. It’s hard to please all the people all the time so having a good rating from a lot of people is usually a good sign.

What is functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a form of Western alternative medicine that seeks to identify, assess and address the underlying root cause of diseases that you, the patient, are suffering from. With that information, a Functional Medicine practitioner can better prepare and implement an individualized treatment protocol for you that will not only deal with the issues you are suffering from but also go way beyond that by improving all aspects of your health, wellness and vitality.

Functional Medicine is patient focused and not disease focused and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. For instance a Functional Medicine doctor or practitioner is not treating a patient’s Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), they are assessing for the weaknesses and imbalances in the patient’s physiology to try and understand why the patient has RA. They are discovering and correcting the underlying cause of a disease process or dysfunction so the body can in turn return to a state of health and wellness.

In order for this system to work, Functional Medicine respects the close relationship between practitioner and patient, be clinically effective, easily implemented, and have a high degree of success.

In summary, the main role of Functional Medicine is:

  1. The prevention of disease and dysfunction by listening closely to the patient’s history and story, by examining the totality of symptoms as they relate to the patient’s genetics, environment, diet and lifestyle and focusing on the major risk factors of mortality and morbidity.
  2. The early detection of disease and dysfunction through the use of Functional Diagnosis Assessment methodologies:
    • A focused history– Functionally oriented signs and symptoms analysis
    • A Functionally and nutritionally oriented physical exam
    • In-office assessment techniques
    • In-office lab assessment techniques 
    • Functional Blood Chemistry and CBC Analysis
    • Advanced Functional Diagnosis Testing (Saliva testing, stool analysis, etc.)
  3. Advanced patient-specific individualized treatment techniques