How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
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How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

According to a 2019 study, 72% of Americans avoid taking prescription medications, and 55% use alternative medicine whenever possible. Functional medicine, the science-backed holistic approach to diagnosis and treatment, is growing in popularity across the US. With more and more providers to choose from, many wonder how to find a functional medicine doctor they can trust with their most valuable asset: their health.

 

Why Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine tops the list of holistic healthcare choices for a good reason. Functional medicine provides a marriage of cutting-edge technology and time-tested, whole-body treatment that addresses the root of medical conditions.

 

The relief functional medicine provides isn’t just a temporary pause of uncomfortable symptoms. It’s a long-term approach to reversing the issues that caused the condition in the first place.

 

Finding a Functional Medicine Doctor You Can Trust

If you’re wondering how to find a functional medicine doctor you can rely on, look for these qualities:

 

1. A Good Listener

One of the reasons patients turn to functional medicine is because they don’t feel like their conventional doctor listens to them. Even worse, some patients feel their physician doesn’t take their symptoms or concerns seriously. 

 

A recent study found that 72% of surveyed patients reported some form of medical gaslighting involving bias, judgment, stereotyping, and dismissal of symptoms as unimportant. Even more alarmingly, 71% of the survey’s respondents reported being told by a provider that they imagined their symptoms.

 

An essential component in how to find a functional medicine doctor involves ensuring that the provider listens to you and addresses all your medical concerns. If the provider dismisses you, look elsewhere for your care.

 

2. Flexibility

For many, it’s not just how to find a functional medicine doctor but how to find one that is flexible and willing to work with your unique needs. This includes finding a provider with telehealth options, phone consultations, and office visits.

 

The flexibility of the provider’s focus is another critical factor. Functional medicine doctors act as primary care but can also specialize in one practice area. Look for a team of specialized providers working together to create comprehensive treatment plans addressing nutrition, IV therapies, women’s health, and chronic conditions.

 

Lastly, functional medicine doctors shouldn’t be out to ruin your fun and take away everything you love. Look for a provider who can find areas in your treatment plan that may be a little more flexible, if possible, to ensure you stick with it. 

 

3. Transparent Fees

Thanks to the rising costs of traditional medicine, a single office visit can include separate lab bills, specialist bills, and even bills from doctors you never saw. Your physician also has several tiers of office visits and costs, ranging from brief to comprehensive. Complex insurance deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance add to the financial uncertainty.

 

Knowing what your medical care will cost before you commit to treatment is essential. Look for functional medicine doctors who are upfront and transparent about their fees to avoid unwelcome surprises. 

 

An increasingly popular approach to healthcare costs is the monthly membership model, which provides several levels of coverage available at different price points. This ensures your costs are predictable while you enjoy all the benefits of your healthcare package.

 

4. Values and Philosophy

An essential consideration in your search is how to find a functional medicine doctor who makes you feel comfortable. This is important because your office visits can last up to an hour.

 

An excellent functional medicine provider never makes your appointment feel rushed. They will take time to explain all findings, lab results, and treatment plans thoroughly.

 

There should be evidence that your provider practices what they preach. Don’t be afraid to ask for their personal recommendations regarding diet, exercise, and other lifestyle adjustments.

 

Lastly, your functional medicine doctor should never push expensive or unnecessary tests or treatment options. Make sure your provider understands your financial limitations and works within your budget.

 

5. Training and Certification

Just because a practice claims to use a functional medicine approach doesn’t mean its providers are certified functional medicine doctors. In fact, it doesn’t necessarily mean the provider is licensed in medicine at all.

 

Licensed, certified functional medicine doctors hold credentials such as DO, NP, or MD and additional training in functional medicine. 

 

6. Lab Work and Other Tests

Functional medicine lives at the intersection of science and nature. When wondering how to find a good functional medicine doctor, look for a practice that offers comprehensive lab work in its diagnostic and treatment approach.

 

Functional medicine doctors rely on standard lab tests and additional blood work, including food sensitivity, heavy metal testing, adrenal function evaluation, and tests for toxins. 

 

If necessary, your functional medicine doctor may order imaging in addition to blood work.

 

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor Near You

The best way to find a provider is through the recommendation of a friend or family member, but if this isn’t an option, here are a few tips on how to find a functional medicine doctor.

  • Internet Search: Your first place to look is a Google search. Read all reviews, check potential providers’ ratings, and browse testimonials.
  • Social media: You can search any social media platform for hashtags or groups focused on functional medicine and ask the community for recommendations in your area. Most providers have social media pages, so check them out too.
  • Healthgrades: Enter your city and state into a site such as Healthgrades to find a list of providers near you.

 

Book an initial consultation with your top choices of potential providers. This consultation, sometimes called a discovery call, is usually free and is a great way to get a feel for the practice and the doctor’s approach to your health concerns.

Wondering how to find a functional medicine doctor in and around Newton, MA? Every day, Five Journeys helps people find their way back to health and vitality through affordable membership plans, comprehensive lab tests and treatment plans, and compassionate providers committed to every patient’s health and well-being. Start your journey with us today!

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How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test looks for the inappropriate presence of bacteria in the small intestine known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or “SIBO”.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Breath

COLLECTION INSTRUCTIONS

COST

$85-$225 depending on insurance coverage. 

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the presence of harmful mycotoxins (toxins produced by molds).

LOCATION PERFORMED

At Home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Urine

COLLECTION INSTRUCTIONS

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$699

INSURANCE

Fully covered by Medicare. Repeat test prices $249

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the genetic profile for multiple health indicators. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood Spot

COST

$319

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted

COLLECTION INSTRUCTIONS

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This company can test for lyme, babesia, bartonella and additional tick-borne illnesses. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

In office

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood

COST

around $1600 (depends on panel selected)

INSURANCE

Fully covered by Medicare. May be reimbursed with PPO plans.
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the presence of harmful mycotoxins (toxins produced by molds).

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$299

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates a wide range of environmental toxins that may be leading to harmful health effects.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$199

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted $30 discount given if done with mycotoxins.
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

Blood work for blood count, urinalysis and vitamin levels.

LOCATION PERFORMED

BLOOD FLUID

Blood

NOTES

You often have to fast for these tests-please check your providers notes.

COST

Depending on the test, deductible or copay may apply.

INSURANCE

Depends on insurance coverage, deductible or copay may apply.
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

Glyphosate (“Round Up”) is a pesticide that is widely used and this test indicates the body’s levels.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

Glutathione for 1 week, then bath or sauna.

COST

$99 ($69 if performed with mycotoxins or environmental toxins).

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted $30 discount given if done with mycotoxins or GPL Tox.
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates many measures including micronutrients, antioxidants, minerals, detox, overview of gut function, omegas and toxic exposure. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home.

SPECIMEN TYPE

Urine

COST

$179 – $400

INSURANCE

Depending on insurance coverage. Fully covered by Medicare.

INSTRUCTIONS

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the gut function and indicates microbiome balance, overgrowth, infection, inflammation, parasites and digestive efficacy. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Stool

COST

$179-$425 depending on insurance coverage.

INSURANCE

Depending on insurance coverage. Fully covered by Medicare.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS

No probiotics for one week.

VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the full menstrual cycle, female hormones, and adrenal profile.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Urine

COST

$160-$329

INSURANCE

Depending on insurance coverage. Fully covered by Medicare.

NOTES

Must be off hormones in order to do the testing.
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test is specifically for a tick-borne illness called “Bartonella”.

LOCATION PERFORMED

In office

BLOOD FLUID

Blood

COST

$260

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test evaluates the presence of potentially harmful heavy metals stored in the body.  Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

SPECIMEN TYPE

Urine

COST

Testing: $79 x2 paid to Doctor’s Data
DMSA: $38 paid to Johnson’s Compounding Pharmacy

INSURANCE

Not covered by Insurance
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test measures saliva cortisol testing throughout the course of one day and informs us where there might be an adrenal imbalance.

LOCATION PERFORMED

At home

BLOOD FLUID

Saliva

COST

$80

INSURANCE

No insurance coverage

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs
How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor That Fits Your Needs

WHY DO WE DO THIS TEST?

This test is designed to look at food sensitivities (IgG immune responses). It is available in both a 99 or 184 panel. Click here for more information.

LOCATION PERFORMED

In office

SPECIMEN TYPE

Blood

COST

$129-238

INSURANCE

No insurance accepted