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How to Choose the Best Functional Practitioner in the UK

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How you find a doctor or practitioner specializing in Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is a holistic, patient-centred approach to address the root causes of disease.  Finding the best functional medicine doctor in the UK can be tricky and stressful. So here are the steps and a few questions to consider when trying to find a Functional Medicine healthcare practitioner.

Search for Functional medicine doctors in the UK.

If you live in a large city, try searching in some areas near you. For example, I’m located in Harley Street, which is close to Paddington and Kings Cross. If you live in the Paddington area be sure to check: functional medicine doctor Harley Street.

What’s the clinical training of the doctor or practitioner?

Not all functional medicine practitioners have the same level of clinical training. For instance, Medical Doctors (MDs), on the whole, have been through a fairly rigorous medicine education program with hundreds of hours of supervised hands-on clinical training and had to pass licensing board exams and register with the General Medical Council in order to practice medicine. While this doesn’t automatically qualify them as good Functional Medicine practitioners it gives you a sense of their background and experience. Other professionals, such as Acupuncturists, Dietitians, Nutritional Therapists, Nurse Practitioners and Certified Nutritionists have been through standardized training and as such are trained and qualified to deal with your health care issues.

What type of training in Functional Medicine have they had?

There are a lot of courses and programs teaching Functional Medicine and the functional medicine provider should state their qualifications and experience on their website.

What do they specialize in?

Some practitioners have more experience and /or specialize in certain health care conditions. When you find someone you like, email them and ask them what their experience has been treating a condition like the one you’re suffering from.

What are their reviews like?

Search the practitioner by name and check their online reviews. What past patients think about the practitioner?

Is a functional medicine doctor a real doctor?

There are different types of practitioners that offer functional medicine consultations, and it’s important that you know the difference, so you can choose which is most beneficial for you.

Medical Doctor (M.D.)

A doctor who first went through traditional medical school and then added training and education in integrative and functional medicine. They will have the most flexibility in ordering tests and prescribing medications to treat symptoms. It is not uncommon for unscrupulous individuals to call themselves “doctor” without any basis or credentials, playing on the vulnerability of the public

Nurse Practitioners

Many people don’t realize that nurse practitioners in many ways have similar abilities as doctors. They are able to own and operate their own practices and can also prescribe medications.

Doctor of Chiropractic

Although Chiropractors treat orthopaedic dysfunction, they are also able to practice functional medicine. They cannot prescribe medications and usually have a medical doctor they work with or recommend if you need a traditional treatment.

Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine

These doctors use a system of treatment of disease that avoids drugs and surgery and emphasize the use of natural agents, prescribing and licensing privileges vary by state.

What is a functional medicine practitioner?

functional medicine practitioner is a healthcare professional trained to offer a form of alternative medicine approach to healthcare that encompasses a number of methods and treatments for the body that unlike western medicine focus on the “root causes” of diseases and chronic conditions based on interactions between the environment and the gastrointestinal, endocrine, and immune systems to develop individualized treatment plans

How much do functional medicine doctors cost?

The cost of a functional medicine consultation depends mainly on the experience and qualifications of the functional medicine doctor and also on location.

For example, a practitioner who is also an experienced medicinal doctor like DR Stavy will probably charge more than someone else without a medical degree.

The location of the functional practitioners practice also plays a significant role in the cost of consultation fees. The fee of a functional doctor in London will more likely be higher than a doctor outside London

Can functional medicine doctors write prescriptions?

If the functional medicine practitioner is a medical doctor or primary care physician will be able to write prescriptions,

What does a functional medicine doctor do?

The most important emphasis is placed on the primary prevention of disease (before the disease process has begun). There is much wisdom in the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Once a disease process has started, a determination is made as to which core clinical function is imbalanced and responsible for causing it. Most functional imbalances can be addressed, some substantially improved (treated) and others completely returned to optimal function (healed). Rebalancing core clinical functions always have a significant positive impact on the health of the patient. A large toolbox of available interventions are evaluated and a customized treatment plan is applied for maximal impact on the underlying functionality.

Functional medicine expands the physician’s toolbox beyond pharmaceuticals and surgery. It also includes botanicals, supplements, therapeutic diets, exercise plans, functional neuro-rehabilitation, detoxification programs, stress management techniques and much more.

The physician and patient become active partners. Such a partnership allows the patient to truly be in control of improving their health and achieving optimal wellness.

What is the difference between integrative and functional medicine doctor?

Various forms of alternative medicine, such as functional medicine and integrative medicine, have been quickly gaining popularity in the 21st century. Many believe functional and integrative medicine is the future of medicine. Physicians are beginning to take a more holistic approach to treat patients, no longer just concentrating on treating disease. Although functional medicine and integrative medicine have similarities and overlap in several areas,  there are a few factors that make each discipline somewhat unique.

The only way you’ll know you’ve found the doctor perfect for you is if you make an initial appointment. I believe your doctor should make you feel at ease and help you understand what needs to be done to be your healthiest self.