Happy 2019! New year, new me! With January officially in full swing, many of us have specific health goals in mind- whether it’s to lose a little weight, try a new type of diet (looking at all you Whole 30-ers), or maybe even to get to the bottom of a chronic issue.
If you’re visiting my site, you probably are somewhat curious about holistic approaches to health and wellness. So today, I wanted to chat about how you can find a functional medicine doctor to help you achieve your health goals for 2019 and furthermore, a greater quality of life. Have you heard of Dr. Oz or Dr. Mark Hyman or even Dr. Axe? Ok, these are the type of peeps I’m talking about. Your health is especially an area to think about investing in as we all start to become real, legitimized adults with pre-mature aging (hello forehead wrinkles) and responsibilities like houses and kids (yikes, but like yay). Plzzz keep in mind these are just my own tips from my own personal experience. Do you baby boo.
OK- First things first. What the F is functional medicine?
Functional medicine looks at the root cause of the overall problem, and not just the symptom(s) occurring. You may have heard this term before along with others like naturopath or integrative. They all vary somewhat but come from the same “functional” grouping in my book.
Basically, most of us American millennials grew up only knowing about conventional medicine, aka standard healthcare (i.e., you get sick, you go to the doctor, he looks at you for 5 minutes, and you walk out with a prescription for a few drugs to treat the symptoms you’re experiencing). As one of my fave functional medicine mavens, Dr. Will Cole, notes, “This traditional model works well for acute diseases, trauma, infections, and emergencies,” (i.e., you break a bone!) Where this can go wrong is in the form of chronic conditions (maybe something is off in your gut or your hormones, etc causing those symptoms).
I was first introduced to this world of alternative medicine options when my mom decided to 100% use this holistic approach to treat her ovarian cancer, rather than only looking at chemo, radiation, and surgeries as options. And, if you’re an avid reader of my blog, you’ll know this route she’s taken has been incredibly successful.
I’ve also turned to this whole functional medicine thang to help with chronic sinus/allergy issues, migraines, and skin problems of my own- all symptoms of what I believe to be a greater underlying issue. It’s a long journey of discovery and I’ll be sure to share the story along the way, especially in this upcoming year. But, enough of that saga for now.
If thinking about exploring functional medicine options, keep in mind there are two ends of the spectrum, as one of my go-to resources This Organic Girl notes. Her own post regarding her search for functional medicine is what actually helped me find a doctor, the inspiration here!
Let me break it down:
On one side, we have practitioners (health coaches, nutritionists, etc who are not doctors but have received varying certifications and courses). Great for those who do not have serious chronic health concerns. Usually a good match for goals like losing weight, improving diet, or addressing symptoms related to minor digestion discomfort and fatigue. (Psst, you can work with me as your health coach here!)
On the other side, we have actual doctors with specialty medical training and clinical expertise: MD, DC, NDs. Probably worth going this route if you have more serious and persistent issues.
Forewarning, no thanks to our healthcare system, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for these services as insurance does not cover them. I know, I’m rolling my eyes right now too. But, I truly believe without a doubt the greatest investment you can make is to invest in your health.
So, here are the top 3 online databases I personally used to find my own functional medicine doctor. Just put in your own zipcode!
Any questions? I’d love to help however I can! Until next time,
XOXO – Dani