Advantages of Functional Medicine for Chiropractors, Naturopaths, Acupuncturists and Medical Doctors

For health care practitioners hoping to carve out a reputation for achieving remarkable results with patients, a relatively new diagnostic paradigm called Functional Medicine provides a promising route. Because training in this approach builds on a practitioner’s previous medical education, just six to eight months is enough for new Functional Medicine graduates to begin building a reputation for helping patients who had nearly given up hope.

By looking at the whole patient and at data from advanced laboratory tests, Functional Medicine practitioners can frequently diagnose and treat difficult cases that have stumped other health care professionals. Their success rate with hard cases in turn leads to strong patient loyalty and increased referrals from patients and other practitioners. It’s also relatively easy for graduates to receive local media coverage because this modality is relatively new to the general public.

Practitioners act like medical detectives, many times finding that conditions in one bodily system produce puzzling symptoms in what appears to be a very different system. In addition, their laboratory tests and medical histories often show that what brought about a certain set of symptoms in one patient was totally different from what brought on very similar symptoms in a second patient. Only after tracing a health problem back to its cause do Functional Medicine practitioners prescribe treatment.

Treatments in this system aim at reversing symptoms through diet, exercise, stress reduction, detoxification, lifestyle changes and other custom-designed interventions. In contrast to many holistic practitioners who base their treatments on traditions passed down through the generations, these practitioners derive their medical recommendations from intensive study of scientific journals – especially research that questions established protocols for drugs or surgery.

Training typically involves rigorous modules on the GI system, the effects of stress, the immune system, the endocrine system, inflammation, detoxification and more. Continuing education credits are available for chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists, among others.

Functional Medicine is particularly helpful for chronically ill patients who have been to a succession of specialists, who each conclude “No problem” and have no answer for the question, “Then why do I feel so terrible?” No wonder patients are uncommonly grateful to have found someone who adheres to this philosophy, and no surprise that patients are often willing to travel long distances and wait several months to see a Functional Medicine practitioner.

For someone drawn to health care out of a desire to help people and alleviate suffering, Functional Medicine offers rich rewards.