What are Functional Medicine Doctors?
Functional Medicine is a new way of looking at health care that promotes the body’s ability to heal. In contrast to conventional medicine, which focuses on environmental and genetic factors that contribute to disease, functional medicine looks for root causes of imbalance in the body and then restores balance by targeting nutrients, hormones, and lifestyle factors. Unlike conventional treatment, which treats symptoms without regard for underlying causes or conditions, functional medicine focuses on halting disease progression through comprehensive care of the whole person.
Headquartered in Vail, Colorado, functional medicine is a collaborative effort between conventional and complementary health practitioners. Working together, they make whole-systems assessment and treatment decisions that promote healing. This approach assures that specific recommendations are tailored to each patient’s unique needs and address the root cause of disease.
What is Functional Medicine?
The goal of functional medicine is to restore balance, or homeostasis, in the body’s systems through a process known as “functional integration.
What is the Best Training to Prepare for a Career in Functional Medicine?
In today’s society, people are constantly being told to go see their doctor before they have a problem. However, this is not necessarily the best way to prevent health problems from occurring. Functional medicine focuses on finding and treating the underlying cause of a patient’s health problem instead of simply treating the symptoms like traditional medicine does. With functional medicine, you can learn how your body works and how to make changes in your diet and lifestyle that may help with chronic diseases like diabetes or heart disease.
If you want to pursue your career as a functional medicine doctor, there are a variety of different options for education. One option is getting a medical degree and then completing a residency program. If you have already decided on functional medicine as the specialty of choice for your medical career, you can complete some extra training to specialize in this field. Another option is to gain practical experience through an internship or fellowship after receiving your medical degree. The final option is to take specific courses or training that are offered by universities and accredited institutions.
Hospital-based residencies are typically required before starting a private practice. After finishing your residency, you will be able to examine your patients more closely and have more freedom to prescribe treatments based on patient symptoms rather than lab tests and other pieces of lab work that are performed in traditional medicine.
There are many different specialties within the medical field, and you can choose from a variety of them when it comes to specializing in functional medicine. Some of these specialties include cardiology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, and family medicine.
If you are interested in becoming a doctor that specializes in functional medicine, you will want to get your medical degree first.
Eligibility for Functional Medicine Practitioners
Functional medicine is a health-care and wellness discipline that focuses on restoring the body’s ability to heal itself. Functional medicine practitioners use “integrative diagnostics” to assess their patients’ innate ability to self-regulate and identify root causes of disease. Presently, functional medical practitioners cannot regulate their practice without meeting one of two eligibility criteria: (1) completion of a specific degree program or (2) experience as a licensed medical doctor in another country.
To meet the first criterion, functional medicine practitioners must complete a specific degree program in functional medicine. This degree program must have been completed at a university or college within the past 10 years. At least 960 hours of coursework and internship training must be completed. The prerequisites for this degree vary by institution. Many universities require that applicants demonstrate an understanding of human biology, biochemistry and physics as they relate to the body’s homeostasis and immune system through the study of cellular processes.
The second criterion is met by practitioners who have held a license to practice medicine in another country for three years or more with one of the following credentials:
- Medical Doctor
• Doctor of Osteopathy
• Doctor of Chiropractic
• Naturopathic Doctor
• Nurse Practitioner
• Physician Assistant
• Registered Nurse
• Registered Dietitian
How Functional Medicine is Different
Functional Medicine considers all aspects of life including genetics, sleep quality, diet and nutrient status, exercise, environmental and toxin exposures, and stressors to spot the basis cause(s) contributing to inflammation, hormonal imbalances, immune dysfunction, suboptimal detoxification, and alterations in our microbiomes, etc. then we treat those imbalances, dysfunctions, and alterations accordingly.
Functional Medicine is an approach to treating disease and optimizing health, as against a specialized area of focus like cardiology or gynecology. Many licensed health care professionals are eligible for becoming certified during a Functional Medicine approach: doctors, nurse practitioners, naturopaths, dietitians, acupuncturists, etc.
1. What is the difference between a functional medicine doctor and an integrative medicine doctor?
The field of medicine is undergoing a dramatic transformation. From conventional to complementary health, integrative medicine practices seek to work with the body and mind in a holistic way, integrating natural and traditional methods from around the world. These approaches allow for an improved quality of life for patients and are beneficial not only in prevention but also in treatment. The practice of functional medicine seeks to address chronic conditions like depression, cancer, or diabetes by evaluating an individual’s genetic blueprint and employing specific dietary measures and other lifestyle changes that can be very effective. The word functional is used to describe a medical practice that seeks to address health concerns using principles of bioregulation, nutrition, lifestyle intervention, and the influence of the body’s organs and systems.
Functional medicine is becoming more accepted around the world as people seek natural remedies for common ailments and chronic conditions. While the line between conventional and alternative practices is becoming blurred, functional medicine focuses on “the whole person” in a way that addresses all factors – genetic, environmental, and lifestyle – that contribute to overall health.
2.What is the difference between an integrative medical doctor and an FM practitioner?
Integrative medicine practitioners work in a clinic setting alongside conventional doctors to distinguish when it is necessary to see a colleague for help with certain issues; for example, surgery or medications.
Functional Medical Doctors, on the other hand, are trained in integrative medicine and have graduated from a four-year medical school. Like their conventional counterparts, they have a Doctorate of Medicine (MD). The additional two years of training and education they have undertaken include training in functional medicine.
3.What is the difference between functional medicine and integrative medicine?
Both functional medicine and integrative medicine practitioners focus on the person, instead of only treating specific symptoms. In functional medicine we are concerned with the function, not just of the body, but also the mind; we take a much more holistic approach.
Functional Medicine is a preventive model that addresses root causes of disease in order to achieve lasting health and wellness. It recognizes that the body has the capacity to heal itself when given the proper support and resources.
Integrative Medicine is an approach to healthcare that seeks to find the best way to work with a person and their health challenges in a non-invasive way using both conventional and alternative or complementary therapies, depending on individual patient needs.