How do I find a functional medicine practitioner?
Our practice books up every January for the year and though I have other providers in my practice, this is probably the most common question I have gotten since I stopped personally seeing new patients. And I totally get it… You’re tired of hopping from doctor to doctor or just going on your health journey alone. But you don’t know how to find a provider with whom you resonate. Someone you trust who will walk alongside you and actually get to the root cause of your symptoms.
I want to do my best to provide my thoughts and a few resources that might give you some direction. I have to start out by clarifying that I’m speaking to those of you who are looking for a provider to get to the root cause of your nagging symptoms or chronic inflammatory conditions or someone who can help optimize your health. I am not speaking to those who have immediate, emergent medical needs. I have always said in the case of emergent needs or trauma, I’m thankful for Western medicine. But this post is not directed at that end.
Before diving into how to find a functional medicine provider, you must hear this: Don’t lose hope. There are providers out there who truly care. Providers who want to see you healthy and well. Sometimes it just takes a little research and asking the right questions in order to find the practitioner you’ve been looking for.
I highly suggest working with a functional medicine or integrative provider who approaches wellness from a root cause perspective. This type of provider will ask about your symptoms only as the tip of the iceberg. He or she will want to also know about your diet, lifestyle, sleep, genetics, gut health, stress management, etc. If you’ve found a provider who isn’t asking about the above, you may consider to continue looking.
Here are a few suggestions I have when it comes to searching for a functional medicine provider:
Search for a provider who is well-trained, credentialed, and certified. Many credentialed programs or organizations even offer a “Find a Provider” feature on their website. Some places I would start include:
BUT even more than credentials and certifications, find someone who has a good rapport with his or her patients. Someone who has years of clinical experience and has testimonials and a proven track record. I’d highly encourage you to ask around. Is there someone near you who is also passionate about integrative health? Perhaps he or she will know of a provider in the area. Or maybe they’ll know of a fantastic remote provider from personal experience.
Credentials and certifications are good and important. But experience and success are also. This will require inquiry and research. In the end, you can find out a lot about a provider from patients who have seen him or her. Save yourself the time and money of trying a bunch of different practitioners by doing some due diligence beforehand to determine whether you think he or she would be a good fit.
Call functional medicine test companies to find providers nearby. This one is reverse engineering!
One of my best tips when searching for a functional medicine practitioner is to call the laboratories/companies behind the most valuable and highly rated functional medicine tests and ask for names and contact information of providers with whom they work who are near your location (or offer online services). You might find a provider nearby who does the exact hormone testing you need simply by calling the stool testing laboratory and asking for the information!
Here are some of the functional medicine test companies I use and love:
If you’re looking for support with a specific condition or symptom, it might be worth it to find a functional medicine practitioner who specializes in that particular condition. Even if your medical services must be remote, you will be well supported by someone who is qualified and knowledgeable in the area you need. A few of my favorite “specialist” functional healthcare companies, persons, and organizations include:
Often, finding the right answers means asking the right questions. When looking for a functional medicine practitioner, these are some of the questions I would ask:
I hope this gives you confidence and tangible knowledge as you go about looking for a functional medicine practitioner who can walk alongside you on your health journey. Don’t be impatient. Don’t give up. Your health is worth it.
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