How do you find the best functional medicine doctor near you? This is a common search online, but everyone has a different definition of “best.” Looking for the best might mean different to you than other people.
In this article, I will cover topics such as the doctor’s education, how well-known they are, do they get good results with their patients as well as the best overall experience. This will help you sift through the information so you can make the choice that is best for you.
Every doctor has a different way of practicing and some doctors are very good at what they do and there are just as many who are not. As with any profession, there are the good and not-so-good. I have been practicing functional medicine for a very long time and I have seen this field conceived and grow over the years. I hope you find this information useful. Here are some very common questions that people have about functional medicine and functional medicine doctors:
- Best function medicine doctor near me?
- Does the functional medicine doctor treat the health issues I have?
- Is functional medicine covered by insurance?
- Are functional medicine doctors real doctors?
- How much experience does the doctor have?
- Does the doctor believe what I believe?
- And finally, will the doctor and their office policies align with what I am looking for?
Choosing a functional medicine doctor?
When choosing any doctor, not just a functional medicine doctor, you want to be a good match. Just as there are all sorts of personalities, there are all sorts of doctors. Maybe you really want someone who matches you emotionally, or you may be more interested in their clinical experience. Money might be the biggest factor? There are many things to consider when making such an important decision. We receive over 100 inquires every week from people just like you, looking for help.
There are different agencies that provide education and certification for doctors, but how do you know which agency to trust? Probably the most recognized, would be The Institute for functional medicine.
Another agency is the Functional Medicine University. This is a different training and certification program than IFM.
There are many excellent doctors who have received training and certification from these two agencies, but there are just as many excellent doctors who have not been certified through a functional medicine school or institute.
Certification may or may not be one of your criteria. I have been practicing functional medicine for over 20 years, which means I have been practicing functional medicine before the label “functional medicine” existed. I was sitting in the same courses and classrooms as the doctors that are teaching at these institutes today. If a doctor does not have years of education and experience in this field, then getting certification provides a shortcut or fast-track to get them familiar with the concepts of the field.
Certification does not necessarily make the doctor proficient in functional medicine, but it provides a foundation to start from. The reason I say foundation is because there is a huge gap between learning the concepts of a field and putting into practice successfully. It takes years of clinical experience to know what works and does not work in the real world. The gap between theory and the real-world.
Many techniques and procedures need to be modified and blended to be successful and this can only be learned through experience.
Afterall, you are going to a doctor for results, not necessarily where or how they received their training. For example, if I was looking for a surgeon, I would choose a doctor from a state school who had many years of experience and an excellent track record over a doctor from an ivy league school with relatively little experience and no proven record. I would be looking for an excellent outcome, not which diploma they had hanging on their wall.
Top functional medicine doctors?
So, what makes someone a “top functional medicine doctor” anyway. Is it how many books they have written or how many people listen to their podcast or read their blogs? This is not a reflection of how good they are as a doctor in my opinion. I have written hundreds of blogs and articles and filmed countless educational videos, but this does not necessarily make me a good doctor or a good fit for you and your needs.
Often the “best” doctors are those others have heard of. This is not necessarily the result of getting good results with thousands of patients, but more often the result of excellent marketing. Below is a perfect example:
Most of these doctors don’t even seen patients. They have shifted from being doctors to being authors. Again, nobody knew who they were until they promoted and marketed themselves. They sell products, they don’t see patients. There is nothing wrong with this, in fact they are providing a much-needed service. Specifically, they are making countless individuals aware that something like functional medicine exists.
If I use my surgeon example again. I can find a surgeon who writes books and does talk shows, but odds are, I won’t ever see that doctor as a patient. If I were looking for a doctor I could actually see as patient, I would need to find one that is still practicing.
Here is an example that is specific to functional medicine. Dr. Mark Hyman is a very well-known functional medicine doctor, but he does not see patients anymore. Instead, he has a clinic, the UltraWellness Center, where you can see other functional medicine doctors, presumably trained by or approved by Dr. Hyman. You might be disappointed however if you look at the patient experience. They only have 43 Google reviews a 3.5 star rating (as of April 19, 2021). This is lower than many functional medicine doctor offices you can find in your own backyard. Again, being know or famous does not equate to good functional medicine services and outcomes.
So back to the important question, what are you looking for? Notoriety or getting well?
Cost? Money? Insurance?
Does insurance cover functional medicine? Will my insurance cover functional medicine? How much does functional medicine cost?
My office gets countless questions like this every week.
It has been my experience that most health insurance companies will not cover all functional medicine services. In fact, much of the time they cover little if any of the costs. It is unfortunate that this is the case, but functional medicine is not mainstream medicine. We live in a pharmaceutical world right now and insurance companies are much more likely to pay for drugs to manage disease instead of diet, nutrition, and lifestyle modification guidance. Our health care system is not truly a healthcare system, it is a sick-care system. We do not accept health insurance in our office because they make it extremely hard…if not impossible for us to collect payment for the services we provide. I wish this were not the case, but hopefully this will change in the future.
If you are looking for a function medicine doctor, I suggest you take a moment and decide what is most important to you. Here are few key points to consider and things to do:
- Where are they located, and do you want in-person or virtual visits (or both)?
- How important is insurance coverage?
- What is their track record (see reviews)?
- Go to their website and see if you like the “feel” of the doctor and their office.
- Do they have articles, blogs, podcasts, videos, etc. This can help give you a sense of their personality, beliefs, and methods.
- Will you have any interaction with the doctor or will you be seeing associates and support staff only?
- What exactly are expectations? What do you really hope to achieve?
In the end you want to have a rewarding doctor-patient experience and get achieve good results.
I hope you have found this helpful and I hope you find someone who is a wonderful match for you and meets your needs and expectations.
The purpose of functional medicine is:
Understanding how the body works, knowing how and where to investigate health issues, knowing what to look for, understanding the significance of what is found and creating a plan of action to reverse and correct the root cause the health problems.
My wish for you…health, happiness and a better quality of life!
If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com
Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.
This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. This article is for information purposes and is not a substitute professional healthcare services. Contact our office for more information.