When it comes to Functional Medicine, finding the right practitioner is essential to receive effective and personalized care. In this article, we will explore the Top 7 Mistakes to avoid when choosing a Functional Medicine physician. By avoiding common pitfalls and prioritizing certain criteria, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your health goals and values.
Here are the Top 7 factors you’ll want to avoid when choosing the best Functional Medicine practitioner.
1. Lack of Certification
The number one factor – is this physician certified in Functional Medicine? Functional Medicine has become incredibly popular, and for good reason. In the hands of a well-trained Functional Medicine physician, patients find that many complex chronic diseases can be reversed. Even some of the world’s top hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic now have Functional Medicine centers.
The problem is that Functional Medicine has become so popular that many health coaches, nutritionists, nurses and even doctors are claiming to do Functional Medicine without any formal training, education, or certification.
So, the #1 factor to consider when choosing a Functional Medicine practitioner – avoid anyone who is not formally trained in Functional Medicine and fully certified by The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). IFM Certified Practitioners are consistently recognized as the most thoroughly trained and tested Functional Medicine clinicians and the most sought-after by patients. Link to Dr. Hanes’ certification at IFM.
Additionally, look for physicians who engage in ongoing continuing education, demonstrating their commitment to staying updated with the latest advancements in the field.
2. Only Treating Symptoms
When seeking a Functional Medicine practitioner, it is vital to find someone who goes beyond merely chasing and treating symptoms. Look for a physician who actively seeks the underlying causes of your condition or health issues. By addressing the root cause, rather than just the symptoms, you can achieve more sustainable and long-lasting improvements in your health.
3. Reliance on Medication
An effective Functional Medicine practitioner will prioritize diet and lifestyle modification, improving sleep, hydration, nutrition, and use medication only as a last resort. A focus on empowering patients to make meaningful changes to their diet and lifestyle can yield significant improvements in overall well-being.
4. Lack of Personalization
Each person is unique, with individual circumstances and needs. Avoid practitioners who use a one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. A good Functional Medicine physician will take the time to understand your specific health concerns and create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. Personalized care leads to better outcomes and enhances the patient-doctor relationship.
5. Emphasis on Quick Fixes and Protocols
Functional Medicine is not a quick fix, and it does not rely on protocols. It prioritizes identifying and addressing the root causes of health issues over suppressing symptoms. Be cautious of practitioners who promise rapid results or push unproven treatments. A reputable Functional Medicine practitioner will take the time to work with you to develop a comprehensive and sustainable treatment plan that promotes long-term health and well-being.
6. Lack of Focus on Lifestyle Changes
Your diet and lifestyle are the biggest factors contributing to your health or to your disease. Nothing else comes close to playing such a significant role in your overall health, which is precisely why a key tenet of Functional Medicine is to address these factors first in order to restore optimal well-being. Look for a practitioner who places a strong emphasis on the importance of diet and lifestyle changes, including exercise, nutrition, stress reduction and sleep. A comprehensive approach that addresses these foundational elements is not only the most efficient way to restore health, but it also provides the most durable solutions to maintaining your health.
7. Limited Availability
It is vital to work with a Functional Medicine provider who is easily accessible for follow-up appointments and encourages ongoing communication. A physician who is difficult to reach or who has long wait times for appointments may not be the best choice. Finding a physician who values your input and fosters effective collaboration will better support your healing journey.
When selecting a Functional Medicine practitioner, careful consideration of these factors is essential. Look for an IFM certified physician who is intent on investigating the root causes of your condition and does not get caught up chasing and treating symptoms. You’ll also want to select a physician who provides personalized care and one who utilizes diet and lifestyle modification as first-line therapies.
Ensuring accessibility and availability will further enhance your experience and support your ongoing journey toward improved health and well-being. By making an informed decision, you can find the best Functional Medicine practitioner who aligns with your needs and will help you achieve your health goals.
Do you want to take the next step on the path to optimal health? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Coby Hanes today.