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Do I Need to Work With a Functional Medicine Doctor?

Oct 2, 2021 | Blog, Functional Medicine

This is a great question!

 

Finding the right healthcare provider in 2021 can feel like an impossible uphill climb. It can also feel challenging to know what sort of treatment you need from your doctor, how they will prescribe that treatment, and if they have your best interests at heart.

 

Most doctors I know genuinely want to help people. Yet many encounter time and resource limitations due to their conventional training and the constraints placed on them by delivering care deemed appropriate by the insurance companies.

 

So, without further ado, here’s how to answer the question: “Do I Need to Work With a Functional Medicine Doctor?”

 

Answering This Question With Questions

 

I know, it’s a typical doctor move. But you’ll understand that to answer your question correctly, we must dig a little deeper into your current situation. So, if you’re at a point where you’re unsure whether or not the functional medicine approach is right for you, I’d recommend asking yourself the following 7 questions as a starting point.

 

Do I feel my very best?

 

Most conventional doctors view optimal health as a range of “acceptable” numbers. As long as you fall somewhere within that range, they consider their job complete. However, functional medicine does not stop there. I want you to feel the very best you can. Arriving as close to optimal as possible (and staying there) is where you and I want you to be.

 

Is my current physician really hearing my concerns?

 

When talking, the doctor often listens for keywords, assigning a diagnosis, and beginning to think quickly and easily for treatment options. They are busy and have a lot of patients to see as effectively yet promptly as possible. They scan the words you’re saying to figure out the best solution based on what your insurance will cover. The problem with this is that many patients will end up with a diagnosis that labels the problem but doesn’t fix the root cause.

 

Is my current physician offering all options available to heal my body?

 

Now, this is a difficult question. I believe many conventional medicine physicians are doing the best they can. Still, unfortunately, under the constraints of insurance-based care and traditional training, they may not offer you all available options. What does this mean? Well, it means some testing will just not be available.

 

Do I feel like I’m getting to the root cause of my health problems?

 

This is an expansion on question #2. So often, we will treat the symptoms of our discomfort without actually getting to the root cause of the issue. It’s kind of like you’re putting a bandaid on a bullet wound.

 

Is my only solution at this time to take more medication?

 

While medication is a medical miracle (i.e., antibiotics) and can sometimes be unavoidable, you can certainly take other steps before coming to this last resort. Functional medicine explores other options thoroughly and remains cautious when determining medication as the only solution.

 

Why are all my numbers “normal,” but I still feel awful?

 

In conventional medicine, doctors choose tests to run based on the symptoms you‘re experiencing. But sometimes, these tests are not the best ways to determine the root cause. Also, the lens doctors use to interpret them is looking for normal but not optimal. There are so many tests out there that I didn’t know about until I expanded my training from conventional medicine to functional medicine. I never purposely withheld this knowledge–I just didn’t yet know about it.

 

Am I ready to invest in myself and take my life back?

 

Up-leveling your health is not something you can experience with the snap of your fingers. Instead, it takes dedication and partnership with your doctor to change your lifestyle, mental health, diet, and physical activity.

 

How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor

 

Once you’ve had the opportunity to answer the 7 questions above, it’s time to move on to find your doctor. If functional medicine seems like the right fit for you, there are two methods to finding a Functional Medicine Practitioner that I recommend.

 

The Institute for Functional Medicine Website

 

The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) is the gold standard for educating and endorsing medical professionals in functional medicine. I believe in this organization and their training so much that I became a Certified Practitioner myself!

 

On their website, you’ll find an index of certified practitioners across the United States based on a specific location. In addition, you can dive deep into practitioners’ training and backgrounds and view their contact information on their profile page. You can find this index at ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/.

 

Consult with Your Dietician or Chiropractor, or another healthcare professional

 

Many other health care professionals like dieticians and chiropractors are familiar with functional medicine, and some incorporate the fundamentals into their practice. If you’re unsure where to start and are hesitant to do the research, start by asking your local dietician, nutritionist, chiropractor, or personal trainer to see if they have any recommendations.

 

Now that you’ve found a functional medicine doctor, where should you go next?

 

Determining Your Path

 

As I’ve shared in this blog post and many previous ones, having the freedom and ability to choose how to partner with your physician is one of the most significant benefits of functional medicine. In fact, at Best Life Functional Medicine, I have built four different options for clients to work with me based on where they’re at in their health journey.

 

Standing on the Shore

 

New to the functional medicine world and not quite ready to commit? I invite you to join my network! You can:

 

  • Follow me on Facebook for helpful information, inspiration and encouragement.
  • Check out my blog to learn about functional medicine more in-depth.
  • Stay in the know by joining my mailing list for the latest news and offerings. Sign up at the very bottom of my website in the footer.
  • Join the #BestLifeChallenge, an exclusive Facebook group community looking to create small yet meaningful changes to their everyday lives and improve their overall health.

 

 

Toe in the Water

If you’re looking to take that very first step toward reclaiming your health, I recommend signing up for my free weight loss program. Here, I share exact recipes, workout routines, and supplement recommendations to help you lose weight safely and effectively in the program.

 

Wading in the Water

 

If you’re looking to make more extensive changes in your life and get to the root cause of why you feel the way you do, I recommend signing up for my virtual program, From Fatigued to Flourishing. You can start this program today. No waitlist. No extensive form fill-outs. Just register to get started!

 

In My Program, You’ll Receive…

 

  • A holistic understanding of your adrenals & why you’re constantly feeling tired or burnt out.
  • A breakdown of the adrenal healing process & areas to focus on to restore your energy.
  • Insight, strategies, and resources from a functional medicine practitioner certified by the Institute of Functional Medicine.
  • Actionable steps to heal your adrenals on your own, now and in the future.
  • 8 downloadable worksheets to help you learn and retain the lessons.
  • An opportunity to try out the 28-Day Adrenal Support Cleanse Diet or the 28-Day Intermittent Fasting Mediterranean Diet (courtesy access given via
  • the Well World app by Designs for Health).
  • 100% online learning with lifetime access to the knowledge.
  • Special discounts on high-quality pharmaceutical-grade supplements.

 

Diving In

If you’re looking for one-on-one personalized care, I recommend signing up to work with me. To ensure I give each of my patients the best experience, I only accept a small number of patients each quarter to work with on an individual level.

 

No One-Size-Fits-All

Starting this journey may feel overwhelming at first, but I want you to know that many other medical professionals and I are in your corner rooting for you. As a unique individual, finding what is best for your health will take time, trial, and error. But, be confident that you have already completed one of the most challenging hurdles: taking that first step!

I’m here for you if you have any questions. You got this!

In health,
Dr. Libby

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