So, you’ve decided that you would like to see a Functional Medicine Practitioner, but where do you start? Trying to find the right doctor can feel overwhelming and disappointing. It definitely took me awhile to find someone and embark on my healing journey. Luckily for you, I’ve already done a lot of work for you. All you have to do, is benefit from my experience.
First of all, I have found the best place to look for a Functional Medicine Practitioner, or FMP for short, in your area is at The Institute For Functional Medicine’s Find a Practitioner Page.
After entering your search information, the results will be laid out like this:
This is my Functional Medicine Practitioner in Bend, OR! If you live in the area, I highly recommend Jennifer Paulson, FNP. She is currently working toward her certification as a Functional Medicine practitioner and stays up to date on all of the latest tests and resources.
It can be tricky to sift through the results and find the right doctor for you. Here are some things I learned that helped me pick my FMP:
- IFM Certified Practitioner means that the FMP has completed the Institute for Functional Medicine’s rigorous certification program and is thoroughly trained in Functional Medicine.
- AFMCP means that the FMP has completed a five day foundational course called Applying Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice.
- The FMPs title matters! Here are some common titles you will see and what they mean.
MD: Medical Doctor
NP: Nurse Practitioner
ND: Naturopathic Doctor
OMD: Oriental Medicine Doctor
DO: Osteopathic Doctor
LAc: Licensed Acupuncturist
RD: Registered Dietician
- I have had the best luck with NPs and MDs as my primary FMP. OMDs, DCs and LAcs serve well as secondary resources to help you along in your healing journey.
- Pay attention to where their office is located. I only visit my FMP once every 6 weeks, but if your case is severe, you could be seeing them more often. Consider your time and the cost of getting to their office when deciding who to see.
- Read their specialities. You may not know what’s wrong with you, but most of us have a general idea. Is it digestion? Hormonal? Or Medical? The listed specialities here may not be a complete list, but it will give you an idea of what the FMP focuses on.
- Conduct more research. Google the FMP, read their reviews, visit their website, see what they are interested in and you will get a better idea if you two are a match.
Let’s Talk Insurance:
Pay attention to your insurance! Healing is important, but you don’t have to spend your entire pay check to get there.
Typically, if you choose to see an MD or an NP your insurance will cover their visits and you will
only have to pay the copay. (And, with some insurance companies, if you make them your Primary Care Physician your copay could be even lower!)
If your FMP has any other title, you might have to look into adding a plan for Alternative Medicine to your current medical plan. Some of these plans are not very costly and could get you acupuncture, massage and chiropractic or oriental medicine visits for a low copay.
Always call your insurance company before your first visit to see exactly what they cover and what you will be expected to pay. This way you won’t have any surprises!
What To Do Before Your First Visit:
- Make a general list of your symptoms. Scan your entire body and notice what bothers you throughout the day. Nothing is too small to include, you never know what could be an important symptom.
- Keep a journal of your eating, sleeping, pooping and exercise habits. (Yes, I said pooping! It’s that important.) Women also keep track of your periods. This info will help your FMP to see what your lifestyle is currently like. And remember, be honest!
- Track when your biggest symptoms seem to be the worst. Is your stomach sick after you eat dairy? Do you have terrible sleep when you eat sugar before bed?
- Complete any paperwork your FMP requires. Bring your ID, insurance card and paperwork with you to your first visit.
Now you should be ready to see your Functional Medicine Practitioner and start healing your body! Let me know who you see and who you love in the comments below. Help us spread the word about great doctors who are in the healing business!