What Does An Expert Functional Medicine Doctor Do?

african american patient discussing lifestyle choices with functional medicine doctorA functional medicine doctor is trained to address underlying causes rather than just the symptoms. They combine conventional and alternative medicine research to determine what causes a person’s health problems. These doctors work with a team of healthcare professionals to optimize their patient’s health. Functional medicine specialists may also use dietary supplements and other therapies to help their patients feel better.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that uses a holistic, integrative, and evidence-based approach. It focuses on restoring health by addressing the underlying causes of illness rather than just minimizing symptoms. Functional medicine practitioners use various methods to assess patients’ overall health concerns and identify patterns of dysfunction that can be addressed with targeted therapies. We can heal ourselves if we provide our bodies with the right environment and targeted therapies.

It is effective with various conditions, including chronic pain and digestive problems. It can also help people avoid or manage common side effects from conventional modalities. Functional medicine is growing in popularity, and many healthcare providers are beginning to offer it as an option for their patients. Functional medicine doctors often use traditional and complementary methods to get their patients the best results.

As more people seek out healthcare that works specifically for them, functional medicine is gaining in popularity, especially among those looking for alternatives that don’t involve prescription drugs or surgery. By addressing the root cause of an illness instead of just its symptoms, functional medicine physicians help patients get better faster.

The approach involves examining the entire patient’s medical history to discover what is causing their health issues. Unlike conventional doctors, functional medicine practitioners take time to understand each patient’s lifestyle and history. They use this information to create a plan customized to individual needs.

Functional Medicine Doctors Offer A Personalized Approach

The personalized medicine approach focuses on finding the underlying causes and how they can be addressed. It is a process that helps deal with health issues such as diabetes, asthma, and many more. It also includes using alternative modalities that are not commonly used today but could help save lives at some point by giving people a chance to live healthier lives.

Focusing on prevention rather than reaction with a functional medicine doctor is the way to go when a person is experiencing illness. Traditionally, doctors focus on minimizing symptoms and waiting for a large body of evidence before using new medications. Modern functional medicine teachings approach the root causes and aim to prevent them before they occur. Its approach is collaborative and involves the whole person in determining the best options.

doctor and patient discussing a customized health plan

Education & Training

Functional medicine doctors typically attend medical school and then complete a residency. After that, they often complete additional training in one or more of the following areas: integrative family medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), molecular biology, pharmacology, metabolic issues, and functional imaging studies.

The education required to become a functional medicine practitioner is usually at least one year above the minimum requirement for becoming a doctor of medicine. Functional medicine specialists’ education and training set them apart from other doctors, who may only be familiar with acute conditions. They are well-versed in chronic conditions, often involving various medical disciplines such as chiropractic.

The Institute For Functional Medicine offers the Functional Medicine Certification Program, designed to certify professionals who have completed coursework. They use specialized labs to identify how specific systems and organs are affected and help their patients adopt the correct diet and supplements to heal themselves.

What Services Do They Provide?

Functional medicine doctors are a special breed of doctors who can provide comprehensive patient care. It includes identifying chronic infections, addressing food sensitivities, and more. As a result, patients can rest assured that their health coach optimizes and gets the most out of their healthcare. Patients can also expect functional medicine physicians to be able to work with a wide range of issues, making them an ideal choice for those with complex needs.

They also prescribe supplements and lifestyle changes to help improve overall health. Functional medicine specialists are often the first to identify problems like food allergies and environmental toxins. The holistic approach is often more effective than traditional medicine and can help people achieve long-term health goals.


Functional medicine is a wellness movement that combines traditional Western medicine’s best elements with alternative, complementary and integrative medicine practices. It’s generally defined as the application of scientific knowledge to identify lifestyle choices (both healthy and unhealthful) that are problematic for people’s health, based on an individual assessment.


A functional medicine doctor may use detoxification to help patients cleanse and restore their bodies. It may involve using supplements, herbs, or a lifestyle assessment to help the body rid itself of toxins. This type of doctor may also recommend detoxification options if their patient has a complex health condition.

In addition to supplements and cleanses, they may perform pH tests and other analyses to determine which organs need attention. Ultimately, their goal is to restore body balance to function at its best. By doing this, they help people live longer, healthier lives.

Sensitivity Testing

It is essential to test for potential sensitivities and intolerances. It can be done through blood tests, breath tests, skin sensitivity tests, or with specialized medical devices. A functional medicine specialist can detect potential sensitivities by performing a comprehensive health history and physical exam. The doctor may also perform laboratory tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions causing the sensitivity. If there is no identifiable cause for the sensitivity, the doctor may recommend lifestyle changes or supplements to help reduce symptoms.


Functional medicine doctors use nutrition as one part of a comprehensive plan. Nutrition can help to support overall health by supporting the body’s natural healing process, helping to maintain energy levels, promoting healthy skin and hair follicles, and moderating inflammation. Functional medicine physicians may address some of the most common symptoms with nutrition, including chronic pain, fatigue, digestive issues, and autoimmune problems.

If a patient is not vegetarian or vegan, don’t let that stop them from visiting a functional medicine doctor – they offer services for all types of diets. Being open-minded about food is one of the best things about functional medicine – it allows practitioners to approach healing holistically rather than relying on restrictive dietary guidelines.

Limits Of Traditional Medicine

Traditional medicine is an integral part of the health care system, and it can be helpful for certain patients. However, many limitations to traditional medicine also need to be considered.

Traditional medicine is based on the theory that all illnesses can be traced back to physical causes. As a result, conventional medicine often involves prescribing medications that aim to address the symptoms of an ailment. However, this approach is not always practical or sustainable. In some cases, it might even cause more harm than good. For example, antibiotics are routinely prescribed to combat bacterial infections.

However, these drugs often have adverse side effects – such as leading to antibiotic resistance and expanding the range of bacteria that can cause issues. Moreover, traditional methods such as surgery or radiation therapy also have their share of limitations with chronic health conditions like asthma or arthritis. Alternative therapies in holistic medicine are less invasive and are sometimes better for patients.

Does Insurance cover it?

person paying medical billsWhile it is not yet widely accepted by insurance companies, its potential benefits are undeniable. If there are serious health problems and functional medicine is an option, be prepared to pay out-of-pocket expenses – but it may be worth it in the long run. Some functional medicine practices are considered “complementary and alternative” modalities, which can be covered under some policies. Many insurers also cover acupuncture and naturopathic therapies.


This approach is effective in addressing a variety of health problems, from chronic pain to digestive issues. Functional medicine is a tailored, system-based model that empowers practitioners and patients to attain optimal health.

BioScan technology can be used by a functional medicine doctor for examinations and prevention measures. It uses a natural stress method that creates a suitable environment to bond with your patients as you evaluate all aspects of their health and lifestyle to determine why the body isn’t operating optimally.


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