Is Naturopathic Medicine “Functional Medicine?”

I am often asked if I practice Functional Medicine or how I am different from a Functional Medicine doctor.  Functional medicine is a term coined by a continuing medical institute (IFM) to help medical doctors learn more holistic (biochemically-based) approaches to their patients. Most Functional Medicine doctors have an MD after their name and learned most of their more “holistic” approach to patients after medical school. As a naturopathic doctor, our whole training starting on day 1 of naturopathic medical school is rooted in a holistic, biochemical, scientifically-based approach that continues through our entire 4+ years of training to earn our Naturopathic Doctorate.

In addition to having functional medicine as a foundation of our education along with basic medical sciences such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, histology, and all the other “ologies” (endocrinology, immunology, cardiology, etc) we learn the modalities that patients come to see us for. We learn counseling, nutrition, botanical medicine (evidence-based usage of herbs), nutrient therapies (science-based usage of supplements), hydrotherapy, physical medicine, and IV therapies.

Hopefully this clears up some confusion!