What is a Functional Medicine Doctor?
Functional medicine doctors are qualified healthcare professionals, like all other licensed doctors. So, what is a functional medicine doctor? He or she is a doctor who goes beyond the conventional ‘standard of care’ health model.
A functional medicine doctor uses an in-depth diagnostic approach to address a patient’s health issues. They don’t just look at your symptoms. They look at you as a “whole person.”
Have you always felt that your conventional medicine doctor always rushes through your appointments? Do they ask a lot of questions before prescribing medication or treatment? Do you feel comfortable opening up about your health to them?
A good functional medicine doctor can be your long-term health coach and mentor. Their goal is to empower you with sustainable wellness. They provide ‘personalized medicine.’
They give you quality time, not just a prescription based on a quick look at your symptoms. This way, you don’t have to spend more time and money on health services that give you short-sighted solutions.
Functional medicine doctors also take a naturopathic approach to treatment. Naturopathy is a “holistic approach to wellness.” It recognizes the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
A naturopathic approach means treatment is based on an assessment of a person as a whole individual. It includes modern, evidence-based science and the traditional wisdom of holistic health practices.
What Is Functional Medicine?
According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, it is a “systems biology-based approach.” It focuses on addressing the root cause of diseases. It asks ‘why’ and ‘how’ diseases occur.
It is based on six core foundations:
- Gene-environment interaction. It requires an understanding of metabolic processes at a cellular level. This allows the doctor to design targeted interventions based on a unique biochemical phenotype.
- Upstream signal modulation. The intent is to influence biochemical pathways “upstream.” Functional medicine seeks to prevent the overproduction of damaging end products.
- Multimodal treatment plans. It uses a wide range of interventions to achieve optimal health. This can include stress management, exercise, and movement.
- Understanding the patient in context. There is a structured process that enables your doctor to create a detailed view of the patient’s history.
- Systems biology-based approach. A systems biology approach means addressing core physiological processes that go beyond anatomical boundaries.
- Patient-centered and directed. Functional medicine is a collaboration between patients and doctors. The goal is to find an appropriate and acceptable treatment plan that will address underlying health issues.
I Am Seeing A Functional Medicine Doctor Near Me. What Should I Expect?
To prepare for your appointment, here are some questions to ask a functional medicine doctor.
- What is your approach to treatment and what therapies do you use?
- What is the importance of nutrition and long-term health and what dietary changes should I be making?
- Are my options for after-hours consultation?
- How much should I prepare for each visit? Will this be covered by insurance?
- How can functional medicine help with chronic illnesses?
- If I am not showing symptoms, can I still come in for a consultation?
You can ask your doctor more questions that are better suited to your unique situation. This kind of approach requires transparency and a certain level of trust. Asking questions is a great way to get started on that.
Questions about naturopathy and functional medicine? Our team of doctors are also qualified experts in integrative medicine. Contact us now for a free consultation.
About the Author
Dr. Steven Sorr is the founder and chief medical officer at Source of Health in Scottsdale, AZ and has been in clinical practice using rejuvenating medicine since 2013. He received his doctorate in naturopathic medicine from SCNM and is a licensed healthcare provider in Arizona.
Dr. Sorr brings a huge passion for life and diverse educational background of food, yoga, and medicine to the Source of Health. His goal is to revolutionize the standard of care mindset by making significant strides in evidence-based therapies that are drug and surgery-free to restore high-level health for all.