| Functional Medicine FAQ

How is functional medicine different from traditional medicine?

With Functional Medicine the focus is on the underlying factors that are causing symptoms and affecting your health, the root cause. Then we determine your specific treatment plan which integrates Western medical practices, such as standard labs with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” approaches like nutrition, botanical medicines, supplements, detoxification programs, stress-management techniques and exercise, and specialty functional testing, among others. In Functional Medicine, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment so even if you and a friend had the same symptoms or condition you won’t get the same treatment plan. In contrast, traditional medicine lumps specific symptoms, not considering other symptoms that may be related, to obtain a diagnosis, therefore, if you and a friend have the same symptoms, you often get the same diagnosis and then the same treatment. Also, traditional medical testing can only measure or see cells that have died or are diseased. The testing done in Functional Medicine can show the interconnectedness between organ systems and the underlying imbalance.

What does a first appointment look like?

You should expect a thoughtful, humanizing experience that is the first step on your journey to better health. During the appointment, you and your clinician will discuss your symptoms, health concerns, medical, family, social and psycho-spiritual history, childhood, diet, exercise and sleep habits, among other information that will help create your treatment plan. You will have ample time to ask your clinician any questions. At the end of the visit, the clinician will determine which laboratory tests you should proceed with and suggest foundational changes in your diet and nutritional supplementation. Treatment plans are modified as lab results as received.

Are labs covered by insurance?

Standard Labs may be covered by insurance. Specialty testing is an out of pocket expense, ranging anywhere from $500- $3000 US dollars.

How long do I need to commit to see changes?

A minimum of 6 months. The body has many intricacies that require detective work, in addition it requires adequate time to heal. When we remove the factors that are causing distress and add in the appropriate nutrients and lifestyle changes specific to your needs, function will follow. We also work in phases, addressing the phase that requires the most attention and moving onto the next system. We can’t work on all these systems all at once.

Who benefits from functional medicine?

Anyone that is frustrated and has not found answers in traditional medicine. The goal of Functional Medicine is not only to improve your health if you have a chronic illness, but also to prevent future health issues. It’s a patient-centered approach, where we address the whole person not just your isolated set of symptoms. The result? A program that’s personalized for you, one that will remedy or reduce the severity of your symptoms, help prevent chronic disease and optimize your body and mind to be as healthy as possible.

What kind of laboratory testing do you use?

Standard blood work like quest and labcorp, in addition to specialty functional testing like microbiome stool test, saliva testing, breadth test, nutrigenomic tests and nutrient tests.

What is the initial investment?

Functional Medicine is NOT your common 15 min “diagnosis and adios “visit you commonly experience with your doctor. The clinician sits down with you listens to you, your medical and life history and reviews your case and maps out the interconnectedness of all the symptoms you’re experiencing and puts together a personalized treatment plan with personalized nutrition specific for your needs, lifestyle recommendations that will support your healing journey, and explains the reasoning behind your botanical and nutraceutical recommendations. Functional Medicine is NOT for those who want an easy quick fix, it requires time and commitment from both parties and your clinician will be your guide throughout your journey answering any questions you may have. Optimizing your health and feeling good to do the things you want to do is your greatest wealth! Investment ranges from a 3-5 figure dollar investment.

Why doesn’t my doctor order the same test and have the same approach?

Most traditional doctors don’t do this testing because they don’t have the experience or training or are too busy or skeptical to invest the time to learn.

Functional Medicine vs. Acupuncture

Check out our deep dive on the intersection between FX Medicine and Acupuncture

Read the Difference