Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Isn’t ‘functional medicine’ just another term for ‘alternative’ or ‘holistic’ medicine?
A. No, functional medicine is a third and completely different discipline from alternative/holistic and conventional medicine. Functional Medicine’s uniqueness stems from its’ heavy reliance on certain basic sciences. These sciences include toxicology, biochemistry, physiology, anatomy and genetics, which in widely varying degrees are part of the educational curricula of all licensed healthcare professionals. These basic sciences are also referred to as ‘pure sciences’ because they conform more rigorously to scientific method.
But, again, functional medicine is neither conventional nor alternative. It is poised to revolutionize all medical care because it is based on far more rigorous standards of scientific method. Functional medicine will ultimately be shown to achieve better outcomes than either conventional or alternative medicine, especially for the treatment of chronic medical and psychological disorders.
Q. I comprehend what you’re saying in concept, but I don’t understand it in practice.
A. Succinctly, functional medicine differs from conventional or alternative medicine because it conforms to a far more rigid code of scientific method. Like our conventional or alternative medicine counterparts, a functional medicine practitioner begins by making a presumptive diagnosis based on the initial examination. But, unlike our conventional or alternative medicine colleagues, a functional medicine practitioner bases their next inquiry on hundreds of thousands of amassed, peer-reviewed studies, which have proven beyond a doubt that toxicological, biochemical, structural, physiological and genetic abnormalities are the root cause of their patient’s presumptive diagnosis and/or symptoms. An extensive battery of laboratory and/or radiological tests is then typically ordered to determine if the expected causative abnormalities are present or not. Guesswork is thus avoided, intuition is unnecessary and factual evidence is gathered.
In addition, unlike our conventional or alternative medical colleagues, a functional medicine practitioner then formulates a hypothesis based on scientific studies and the laboratory-determined abnormalities, that the prescribing of certain supplements, bio-identical hormones, herbs and even medications (in that order of preference) to correct the abnormalities will result in sufficiently optimizing the genetic expression of their patient to the extent that their symptoms and/or disorder will disappear. This testing of a hypothesis via scientific method constitutes a revolutionary advance in medicine, and defines the uniqueness of functional medicine. Once the symptoms or diagnosed disorder vanish, the patient is usually discharged.
Q. This makes practical sense to me. However, I’m a healthcare provider, but not a physician and I’m not able to order lab testing. What do I do?
A. A large benefit for some of our students is that lab testing can be ordered through the Academy. Specifically, you can arrange a consult with one of our physicians who can guide you to the proper testing to be completed on your patient, and then help you interpret the results.
Q. If I want to start the program, do I have to wait for the 72-week course cycle to complete before I can start?
A. No, the glory of the course is that it is broken down into twelve modules of 2 months each. Each module is free standing, so you can opt into the course at anytime. You can also just take the module(s) that are of specific interest to you.
Q. What distinguishes you from other functional medicine courses?
A. Our course is like no other because it is the only one that focuses on functional medicine testing and treatment strategies as it relates to all healthcare disorders, both physical and psychiatric. The emphasis of our curriculum is on learning how to think about medical and psychiatric disorders through biochemical and physiological investigations, rather than on what to think, or simply learning and memorizing facts, which is a more conventional approach to learning about healthcare matters.
In addition, we offer ‘live’ webinar sessions. We are distinctive with our ‘live’ webinar format, as the structure is highly participative with extensive review of case studies, forums and discussions. Students also have the opportunity to dialogue with our instructors, or other master clinicians, on patient cases via telephone or email communications.
Moreover, we are all about convenience – students can participate from the convenience of their home, at their own pace, and on their own schedule. Once more, all sessions are recorded so that missed sessions can easily be made up.
As an extra added benefit, our student practitioners and their patients are given free access to additional webinars that focus on various health topics, as well as on wellness and lifestyle issues.