What is a functional medicine practitioner?
A functional medicine practitioner is one who uses a biology–based approach of medicine that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease instead on treating the symptoms itself. The functional medicine approach emerged from the beliefs, insights and world-view of a group of people who held that the ailment or disease could be cured by treating the root causes of the symptoms being exhibited by the patients. In doing so, a functional medicine practitioner is likely to draw from nutritional science, genomics, and epigenetics while doing minimal intervention. A functional medicine practitioner therefore applies new research in these mentioned domains in their approach to a disease or condition.
Who qualifies as a functional medicine practitioner?
A genuine functional medicine practitioner will have a valid license to practise functional medicine. A qualified practitioner will have an acronym of CFMP® (Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner®) as a suffix to their name. Holders of MD, DO, DPM, OD, OT, PT, RPh, PharmD, DPT, PA, DC, ND, DDS, LAc, D.O.M., RD, LPNs, a BS in nursing, Mental Health Professionals, Health/Wellness/Life Coach can apply for the CFMP® Certification after which they undergo an intensive programme dedicated to Functional Medicine.
So when you are looking for a functional medicine practitioner make sure the one you choose has a practising license and a valid medical degree.
What to expect from a functional medicine practitioner?
While visiting a functional medicine practitioner, keep in mind that such a visit is going to be way longer than any of your visits to your regular, traditional doctor. Functional Medicine looks into details of your personal and family history, the circumstances surrounding the earliest of your symptoms, and the experiences you may have had with other healthcare providers. Your functional medicine practitioner is also likely to recommend some tests like micronutrient testing, comprehensive functional blood testing, hormones testing, and Organic Acids Testing. Additionally be prepared for a physical examination as well.
How to find a functional medicine practitioner around you?
You can search for a practitioner who suits you needs online as well as offline. You may also search for practitioners by using different criteria, which includes the filters of specialty, location, and accepted payment methods. Below are some of the questions you should ask the practitioner prior to finalising and booking an appointment:
- Do they work with other clinicians – Nutrition Professionals, Health Coach, etc?
- Do they have any experience treating your condition(s)?
- Do they take insurance? Or are they a cash practice?
- What are the principle therapies they use? (for eg: dietary, chiropractic adjustments, supplements, prescription medications, etc.)
- Are these therapies covered by insurance?
- How much does one office visit/consultation cost?
- How should I prepare for the first visit?
If you have any other queries it is better you clarify them with your practitioner or the practitioner’s office before you make up your mind on choosing/not choosing them.
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