Guest Post: How to Find a Functional Medicine Doctor by Dr. Tom Sult | happyliving.com - image via Unsplash

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the first step.”
(Martin Luther King)

Trying something new requires a small amount of courage. There is comfort in going along with the status quo and discomfort in pursuing the unknown. Even something as seemingly simple as finding a new doctor can be a challenging task. What if his bedside manner is lacking? What if you disagree with her approach?

Today’s guest post from Dr. Tom Sult shares some great advice for finding a functional medicine doctor. Instead of letting the process overwhelm you, take one step at a time…

Step one is becoming acquainted with functional medicine (here is an introduction). If this sounds like the kind of approach you would like your doctor to take, move onto step two: searching for and identifying a doctor. Step three is taking the leap and trying something new. As with any relationship, take some time to get to know your physician – and if you don’t mesh well for some reason, remember that there are many other “fish” in the medical sea!

Dr. Tom Sult is board-certified in family medicine and integrative holistic medicine. He practices functional medicine and strives to find the fundamental cause of health issues. Dr. Sult is also an inspirational speaker and the author of Just Be Well: A Book For Seekers of Vibrant Health. For more information about Tom and the Just Be Well Movement, click here.

And now, I’ll let Dr. Sult take over…

You’re convinced: whether you are determined to get to the root of your chronic illness or whether you are in a quest for optimal health, you’re ready to see a functional medicine doctor. That’s great. But where do you start?

Functional medicine is one of the fastest growing practices in the United States, but it can still be difficult to find a doctor who has been fully trained in the principles of functional medicine. A quick Google search can lead you to a host of providers that describe their practices as “holistic” or “integrative” or “functional.” But those terms are not necessarily interchangeable. That’s even true with me: I’m board certified in holistic integrative medicine—but that’s not exactly the same as functional medicine. Functional medicine is a specific type of holistic integrative medicine.

Any doctor can approach a patient, considering their mental, physical and spiritual well being, but a functional medicine doctor has also completed vigorous training in the specialty and specific areas including gastrointestinal, detoxification, immune system, and hormones. Functional medicine doctors must complete a written exam on the material and receive a passing grade on a case report based on an Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) template. For my specialty in functional medicine, I became an IFM certified practitioner as well.

The Institute of Functional Medicine specializes in training healthcare professionals to treat chronic disease. The IFM website is a resource to help find professionals who have completed the IFM educational program and are certified to practice functional medicine.

Although functional medicine is a growing practice, it’s not available everywhere, and it may be tempting to seek out something “similar”. But I encourage you to do what it takes to find a functional medicine doctor, even if travel is involved. The benefits you’ll receive by going to a doctor who is an expert in this specialty will be well worth the trip.

To see this article as it appears on the Just Be Well movement website, click here.

Image via Unsplash

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