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Naturopathic Physicians vs. Functional Practitioners

I’ve got a bone to pick!  This bugs me just about every day but more lately because I’m seeing more practitioners call themselves “Functional” but then I’m not seeing real holistic healthcare.

“Functional” implies getting to the root of the problem rather than treating symptoms – BUT what I see is what I call “Green Allopathy” – treating symptoms with supplements instead of meds.
​​Almost like calling oneself “Functional” gives a license to market to you, draw you in but then send you out with an enormous bill and big bag of supplements and not often a good result long-term.

You hear me say it all of the time – you CANNOT supplement your way out of a cruddy lifestyle. PERIOD!

But what I’m seeing more each day is a lot of conventional (or not super qualified) practitioners take a few courses at Functional Medicine training programs, get a simple certification and then hang their shingle claiming to be a Functional Practitioner.

And then the consumer is seeing that and assuming they are holistic or that they really understand how to naturally treat the root cause.

This is my frustration!  I end up seeing a lot of these patients in my clinic who have seen some of these practitioners – from acupuncturists to chiropractors to conventional MDs  – these patients come to me very frustrated that these other practitioners “just don’t get it”.

For example – I heard from one 60 year old female client who went to a Functional MD and had a pap smear.  The MD then told her that she had vaginal atropy (that’s thinning of skin) and that she needs to be on Bio-identical hormones because of this.  This client is also super sensitive to medications and supplements. 

OK – let’s use our common sense here:  she is a 60 year old female who SHOULD have vaginal atrophy at her age!  This is not a medical condition!  This is MEDICALIZING a NORMAL STAGE of aging.  A post-menopausal woman WOULD naturally have vaginal atrophy – totally NORMAL (not just common).  We should never medically treat NORMAL! 

​(Now if she had vaginal dryness with intercourse then we can support her topically – but this was not the case.)

​She simply had a very normal, age-related change in her body that was not affecting her in any way that this doctor wanted to medicate and call it “functional” medicine!  Can you think of the downstream effects of adding estrogen to a highly sensitive individual?  I certainly can!

Do you get it?  To put this client on hormones (even bio-identical) is nothing close to holistic.  

I see this with Bio-identical hormones on a daily basis.  Many functional practitioners claim ALL women need Bio-identical hormones at all ages for anti-aging.  They are being trained in the top Functional Medicine programs in the country!

It’s back to ONE SIZE FITS ALL Medicine under the guise of “Functional”!

It doesn’t stop at hormones – I have seen clients who have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on supplements from practitioners and still feel crummy!

Of course they do – we haven’t changed the paradigm – we have just substituted meds with supplements.

I am super proud to be a Board-certified Naturopathic Physician for 18 years now!  I have been trained in the top Naturopathic medical school in the country.  I was in medical school for 5 years and took all of the classes you see in conventional medical school.  In addition, I was comprehensively trained in women’s health – including gynecology and obstetrics.  I sat for Board exams and passed with flying colors​.  In Naturopathic Medical school we eat, breathe, sleep holistic medicine – not just how to treat conditions with herbs and supplements.  Its a different paradigm all together on how we assess to truly understand where the body has gone wrong in it’s most foundational systems and work on correcting those!

Many people have lost faith in their medical providers (whether natural, functional, holistic or conventional).  People seek to find ways to build their systems up instead of rely on man-made medications to “keep them healthy”.  I have always and will always stand with you!​

I will continue to be your resource in keeping you and your family healthy no matter what comes our way!​​​​


Dr. K

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