Most countries struggle with ensuring proper healthcare services for their citizenry. The fact that this affects both developed and less developed nations is intriguing.

True, some of the developed countries have made great strides in medicine. The treatment success rates may be quite high. But, the focus on treatment vis-a-vis long-term healthcare is noteworthy. 

And that is where functional medicine comes in. It plugs the glaring gap that treatment-focused medicine exposes. The integrative approach is all about wellness and health. 

Medical practitioners are starting to take note of the benefits. Interest in functional medicine is on the rise. Since 2016, there has been a 200% increase in nurses seeking the relevant training. Between 2019 and 2020, the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) saw a 74.3% rise in registrations.  

Understanding Functional Medicine

So, what is functional medicine all about? This is a unique mode of healthcare provision. It is a patient-centered, scientific approach that allows for individualized health plans.

Functional medicine is a collaborative effort between practitioners and patients. It is proving to be quite effective in managing chronic and complex diseases.

The best aspect of functional medicine is looking for the root cause of illnesses. This is a far departure from focusing on symptoms. 

You may want to know how to become a functional medicine doctor. Well, advanced private clinicians or physicians must get the relevant certification. You can sign up for IFM or any other functional medicine institute.  

Another concern would be the financing necessary to start practicing. There are functional medicine practice fast-track steps you can take. Indeed, you don't even need to start with a huge capital investment. 

To become a functional medicine practitioner, you must think like an entrepreneur. Many funding sources exist, including the Small Business Administration (SBA) lending options. You can also try private investors and crowdfunding. Another is personal funding through life insurance policies, credit cards, or personal loans. 

Let's start with that understanding of functional medicine. Let's explore why you should join. 

1. Functional Medicine Allows For the Creation of Customized Health Plans

Each person presents with unique medical challenges. It would be unfair to use a blanket approach to manage presenting cases. Further focus on symptoms only provides short-term solutions. 

Functional medicine takes a comprehensive look at the patient's health. But that's not all. The practitioner also looks at lifestyle, history, and the environment. It allows for the creation of customized health plans. This holistic, long-term approach to managing health is effective. 

2. A Broad Approach to Healthcare

Functional medicine does not only depend on modern solutions to problems. Indeed, it borrows from traditional and alternative treatments as well. That helps to plug gaps where conventional medicine may not provide a solution. They can use methods like better nutrition or dieting. The same applies to exercise and mental wellness to treat some illnesses. 

Let's look at something like stress contributing to high blood pressure. The cure does not need to lie in relaxation drugs. Starting yoga can prove quite beneficial, thus removing the need for chemical dependence.  

3. Better Patient-Doctor Relationships

There is one major challenge with modern medicine. And that is why the patients do not have too much control over what is happening. You go to a doctor, he prescribes medication, and that is it.

Functional medicine brings back a level of control to the patients. It helped in the development of healthy patient-doctor relationships

There is extensive collaboration and consultation. It happens as the practitioner collects your medical and personal history. The nature of the relationship allows for the building of trust. 

With trust, patients can become more committed to adhering to your recommendations. Think about it this way, aren't you more likely to believe what someone you trust says? 

The patients' active participation also means they can adopt healthier lifestyle choices. Let's go back to the example of stress above. The consultation determines that stress is leading to high blood pressure. 

The doctor comes up with a treatment plan using conventional and alternative medications. But, for a long-term solution, the patient will need to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. These include finding ways to reduce or reduce stressors.   

4. Costs Saving On Healthcare

Scrupulous healthcare practitioners are not in the business to make money. Indeed, every recurring visit from a patient comes with a sense of failure. Offering long-term solutions is a significant advantage of functional medicine. 

Recommendations like lifestyle changes come at no extra cost. As a practitioner, you will contribute to reducing healthcare costs for patients. 

A functional medicine doctor is not only there to recommend treatment. Patients are at liberty to see you for healthcare and general wellbeing. You become that trusted partner who they can always call upon for advice.  

5. Functional Medicine Has Its Basis in Science

We have made several references to alternative medicines. But this does not mean that functional medicine does not have its basis in scientific study. Remember, advanced clinicians and physicians must have the relevant certification. These are professionals who have foundational scientific-based knowledge in medicine. 

We also can't dismiss the fact that some alternative treatments have scientific backing. There is, for instance, research to show the therapeutic impact of yoga. It is effective in managing and reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. True, there may not be the clinical trials that western medicine goes through. But, case studies are pretty convincing on the efficacy of the treatments. 

Functional medicine also takes into account the unique genetic make-ups of individuals. That way, they can understand the impact of such differences on health. This understanding is critical to determining the best kind of treatment to offer.

The use of science extends to personalized or customized treatments. The practitioner must still undertake the necessary medical steps. These include laboratory testing, genetic assessments, and more.  

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits to functional medicine for healthcare practitioners and patients. The most significant is coming up with long-term solutions to health issues. Uncovering the root cause of diseases or illnesses allows for better treatment options. 

The collaborative nature of functional medicine means better doctor-patient relationships. It also gives the latter more control over their healthcare. Alternative treatments, together with Western medicine, allow for a holistic approach to therapy. 

Finally, there is good news for medical practitioners. You do not need the upfront capital to branch into functional medicine. Crowdsourcing, angel investors, and SBA loans can provide the cash you need.