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Functional Medicine FAQs


What is functional medicine?


Functional medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of a disease. Each symptom or diagnosis may be one of many contributions to an individual’s illness. For example, depression can be caused by one or more factors in an individual’s life. The precise manifestation of each cause depends on an individual’s lifestyle, genes, and environment, and only a treatment specific to that individual will address all of these drivers.


How does functional medicine differ from conventional medicine?


There are several ways that functional medicine differs from conventional medicine:

  • Functional medicine is proactive, focusing on the prevention of diseases and is cost-effective in the long term. Conventional medicine is reactive, focusing on detecting diseases once you already have them. This can become very expensive in the long term.
  • Functional medicine focused on the biochemical uniqueness of an individual while conventional medicine often treats people based on algorithms.
  • Functional medicine is holistic while conventional medicine is specialized.
  • Functional medicine focuses on the root cause of a disease while conventional medicine treats the symptoms, not the disease.
  • Functional medicine is patient-centric and health-oriented, whereas conventional medicine is physician-centered and disease-oriented.
  • Functional medicine treats chronic illnesses while conventional medicine focuses on acute illnesses.

What are the benefits of functional medicine?


Functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just a set of symptoms or diseases. Functional medicine practitioners use a holistic approach to understand who you are, knowing that every person is unique and should have a medical plan that is custom fit for their needs.To put it simply, functional medicine helps you prevent ever getting a disease, rather than merely detecting and treating a disease after you develop one.


What are the benefits of functional medicine?


Functional medicine by nature is a very individualized and personalized approach to medicine. Between balancing large patient rosters, paperwork, and dealing with insurance premium, primary care physicians simply don’t have the time to dig deeper into each patients’ medical history. Instead, their focus tends to be on symptoms, not causes.


Are lab tests covered?


No. However, Boston Direct Health negotiates significantly lower costs for medications and lab tests.


What approach does Boston Direct Health use?


Boston Direct Health specializes in functional medicine and emboldens every patient to perform at their very best.


What should I bring to my first visit?


To make best utilization of your time for your visit, you should have medical records and recent labs sent to our office prior to your Functional Medicine Evaluation. Our office staff can help facilitate getting records sent. We ask that patients fill out the “Medical Symptom Questionnaire” and the “Three Day Food Journal” on the patient portal: http://bostondirecthealth.md-hcom. Come with a list of questions and goals for the visit.


What happens during my first visit?


Your first visit will include a thorough review of your history, a physical exam, and a detailed plan on recommended laboratory tests (some tests can be done through insurance). Your consultation also includes a follow-up to review your lab results, recommendations on diet, supplements, and possible prescription medications.


How much does it cost?


A single visit, 90 min functional medicine consultation is $500 plus the cost of labs.