It has been described as pseudoscience, quackery and, in essence, a rebranding of complementary and alternative medicine. In the United States, the American Academy of Family Physicians has ruled that functional medicine practices are not eligible for course credits because of concerns that they may be harmful. Is functional medicine a legitimate practice? Yes, when done correctly. The tests are accurate, but they must be applied correctly.
This is part of the art of medicine. Some tests are very simple, while others require years of training to understand them correctly. Also, a test is the easy part, but the follow-up action, the treatment, is the difficult part. The legitimacy of functional medicine is determined primarily by the skill of the professional.
Naturopaths identify as causing the body to heal independently of any type of substance, whether natural or synthetic, while FM doctors use medications, both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical. So, if the lab results are “normal” even though you have symptoms, what your doctor basically says is that you are just like many other sick people. Many surgical instruments used today have a design based on Ayurvedic medicine that included surgery even in ancient times. It seeks to find underlying causes that standard medicine often ignores, using medications to treat symptoms but never cure them.
So if you are interested in opening your eyes to the way medicine should really be practiced, have an open mind and really want to learn, contact me. In addition, you should spend some time in a real clinic working with a qualified doctor to see your approach to patients. Functional medicine also has a narrower reference range for what constitutes a “healthy thyroid,” which may explain why you may continue to have symptoms but have not yet been diagnosed with a thyroid problem. The reason, of course, is that, of all the forms of “integrative medicine pseudoscience practiced, functional medicine” is more like real medicine, so much so that it often even tricks doctors into thinking there must be something in it.
The unique processes these doctors use can help people manage the daily symptoms of chronic diseases. Common diagnoses through functional medicine are nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, or an intestinal parasite, to name a few. Mark Hyman, of course, is guilty of all of these things, as are other prominent advocates of functional medicine. Using the criteria I've seen on various naturopathic, “integrative medicine” and chiropractic websites, I conclude that almost everyone suffers from some degree of “adrenal fatigue”; that is, unless one has no stress, is always happy and eats a raw vegan diet, and even then one could still have “mild” adrenal fatigue.
It is especially important to consult doctors trained in medicine, who have passed board exams, and who are licensed in their specific state. There are numerous chiropractors who have made their practice as functional professionals a more suitable role for a DO, and naturopathic physicians are taking advantage of this.