Choosing Between a Naturopathic Doctors or Functional Medicine Doctor or Functional Health Coach
The classic office visit at an MD or DO’s office includes a ten-minute consult followed by a written prescription for your concern or a referral to a specialist. Many patients feel do not feel heard by their conventional doctors and are want a more personal, intimate relationship with the doctor who is guiding their most precious asset, their health.
More and more people are shifting their mindsets about their health. They want to take control and have a say in how their healthcare is conducted. People seeking an active role in their health allows the focus to shift from treating acute medical conditions to preventing them all together and working toward optimal wellness.
This is where Naturopathic Doctors (ND’s) come into the picture.
Naturopathic Doctors attend a four-year Naturopathic Medical School accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME). Here they learn both conventional medicine as well as alternative medicines. They diagnose and test for disease much like MD’s and DO’s, but believe in addressing the underlying factors that are contributing to illness.
On the other hand, functional medicine doctors tend to be MDs, DOs, or chiropractors who attended conventional medical school. But they do not receive the same training in holistic medicine that a Naturopathic Doctor does. They are not taught nutrition, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, or homeopathy like Naturopathic Doctors are. It is common for them to seek out weekend conferences and other short training sessions which gives them surface-level knowledge of holistic medicine, unlike the in-depth education in Naturopathic medical school. There are also functional health coaches or different types of holistic coaches who have no medical training whatsoever.
Functional medicine doctors commonly run several specialized tests and treat with a heavy emphasis on the test results. Naturopathic Doctors will also run these types of specialty testing. However, what is different is the Naturopathic medicine philosophy is to treat the person, not the disease, not lab results. Naturopathic Doctors use testing as a tool to get them closer to the true underlying cause of symptoms.
It is essential to understand that Naturopathic Doctors are true experts in holistic medicine. When looking for a holistic doctor, a Naturopathic Doctor is the first thing to look for.
Keep in mind a ‘Naturopath’ is different than a licensed Naturopathic Physician or Doctor (ND/NMD). This brings us to the next point: