Are Functional Medicine Doctors Real Doctors?

functional medicine clinic London

If you have a chronic or complex health condition that doesn’t seem to improve with conventional medicine, you may have wondered if there are other options available.

You may have heard of functional medicine clinic London, a holistic approach that aims to identify and address the root causes of disease.

But what exactly is functional medicine, and who practices it? Are functional medicine doctors real doctors?

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a systems-biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.

Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing factors to an individual’s illness.

For example, a diagnosis of depression may have multiple causes, such as hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, inflammation, stress, or genetic predisposition.

A functional medicine doctor will research and treat each cause, leading to a personalized treatment plan.

Functional medicine doctors look at your full history to identify the root causes of an illness. They usually spend more time with you than conventional doctors.

They collect detailed information about the disease and your overall lifestyle. A functional medicine doctor may ask about:

  • A timeline of symptoms
  • Sleep patterns
  • Exercise habits
  • Nutrition
  • Stressors
  • Personal relationships
  • Emotional wellbeing

Then, they come up with a treatment plan to manage multiple factors that may be contributing to chronic conditions.

It may include prescription medications, supplements, or other therapies. Finally, they track the progress of treatment and make changes as needed.

The functional medicine approach is different for each person since each treatment is tailored to that person’s specific illness. Your relationship with a functional medicine doctor may also be different than with your primary care doctor.

According to The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), it’s a more collaborative partnership: the doctor considers your input while still keeping you responsible for your choices as they relate to your condition and treatment.

functional medicine clinic London

Who Are Functional Medicine, Doctors?

Functional medicine doctors are licensed and practicing healthcare professionals who have completed conventional medical training in various specialties such as internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, etc.

They may then choose to get additional certification from an organization such as The Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM), which offers courses and exams on various aspects of functional medicine.

Additional certification does not give these doctors any further legal status but proves they have trained and are committed to working within this modality.

Doctors then apply functional medicine teachings to their original field of practice.

To find a functional medicine practitioner near you, you can use IFM’s Find A Practitioner tool which provides a comprehensive, searchable network of clinicians in various specialties and healthcare professions who have attended IFM’s foundational course Applying for Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice (AFMCP) and are also current IFM members.

Those featuring an “IFM Certified Practitioner” badge have completed the IFM Certification Program, which is the highest level of education available in functional medicine.


Functional medicine is an emerging field that offers a holistic and personalized approach to treating chronic and complex diseases by addressing their root causes.

Functional medicine doctors are real doctors who have undergone conventional medical training. As well as additional certification in functional medicine from reputable organizations such as IFM. If you are interested in exploring this option for your health needs, please consult with your primary care doctor first before seeking out a functional medicine practitioner.