Is Functional Medicine Just Quackery?


Everything New Is Quackery To Somebody

Publications are still trying to call Thomas Edison a fraud.

Edison, Lemley writes, “did not ‘invent’ the light bulb in any meaningful sense.” Electric lighting was long in the works when Edison came on the scene, and his work attracted several patent infringement lawsuits from his contemporaries. “What Edison really did well,” Lemley argues, “was commercialize the invention.” http://www.businessinsider.com/thomas-edison-light-bulb-publicity-stunt-2013-11 

Florence Nightengale is still being attacked for her role in bringing sanitation to the soldiers hospitalized during the Crimean War.  These measures saved hundreds of lives.  However here is an excerpt from Wikipedia.

In 2001 and 2008 the BBC released documentaries that were critical of Nightingale’s performance in the Crimean War, as were some follow-up articles published in The Guardian and the Sunday Times.

We know today that handwashing is the best way to prevent disease transmission.  This is true in the hospital and in public.  But this was not always accepted.  “The year was 1846, and our would-be hero was a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis.” I invite you to read the story here.

In a nutshell, he discovered that women were dying from childbed fever because the physicians attending them were using instruments that had been used while doing autopsies. They also were not washing their hands or changing their aprons.  When this was suggested by Dr. Semmelweis, they became very irate and ridiculed him.  Eventually, things changed and childbed fever no longer is an issue.

The Story Is The Same Regarding Functional Medicine.

I was attending a “class” of nurses learning “nurse coaching”.  Nurse coaching is wellness coaching done by nurses. I was speaking to one who is a nurse practitioner (NP) who educates and coaches endocrine patients, primarily diabetics. I brought up functional medicine as a way to prevent chronic disease.  It was met with remarks like “people won’t do it”, “it isn’t economically feasible”, “you can’t make money by preventing chronic disease”.

Here is an example of a physicians attitude regarding functional medicine.

We at Science-Based Medicine often describe “integrative medicine” as integrating quackery with medicine (at least, I often do), because that’s what it in essence does. The reason, as I’ve described time and time again, is to put that quackery on equal footing (or at least apparently equal footing) with science- and evidence-based medicine, a goal that is close to being achieved.  I invite you to read the rest here.

You Can’t Make Money Preventing Chronic Disease

The treatment of chronic disease in the United States puts us at the top end of healthcare spending throughout the developed world.   We are very close to the bottom in healthcare outcomes.

Here are a few other sites:

How does the quality of the U.S. healthcare system compare to other countries?

The U.S. spends more on healthcare than any other country — but not with better health outcomes

What’s Actually Wrong With the U.S. Health System

What Country Spends The Most (And Least) On Health Care Per Person?

It is true.  Specialists, Healthcare Industries (Kaiser, Mercy Health etc), Pharmaceutical companies etc make a lot of money treating chronic disease.  This isn’t true of the Primary care providers and Pediatricians.

Can you make money in Functional Medicine?  Yes.  You can if you work as a team with health coaches and other team members. This frees the practitioner up to see more patients and gives the patient more attention with coaches who have the training and the time to help patients meet their health goals. If you charge $125/mo to 50 patients per year  (how many of us see 50 patients in 1 or 2 days) you come up with $75K before taxes.  That would only be 4 patients a month if they came in monthly.  Boring.  Let’s say your whole practice is limited to 200 patients.  All of them paying $125/month.  That is 300K annually. If you saw every one of them every month and you opted to work 40 hours per week, that would only be 1.25 patients per hour. You know you are not seeing all of them every month.

It Isn’t Economically Feasible

I have already shown that it is for the individual provider.  It is economically imperative for the country.  If we keep treating chronic disease at the rate in which it is occurring, we will go bankrupt.

People Won’t Do It.

That’s because they are uneducated.  They have always done whatever they wanted and never tied their health issues to their lifestyle.

I find that amazing as the first thing you say to someone, who is already sick, is you need to exercise more, eat better, relax, meditate and so on.  Don’t you think these things might prevent disease if they help treat it?

If there is evidence that lifestyle change treats disease, then it only makes sense that it prevents disease. 

The National Diabetes Prevention Program supports organizations to deliver the year-long lifestyle change program that has been proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among those at high risk. In the Journal, Preventing Chronic Disease. 

I rest my case for now because I have a meeting to attend.

Think about it.

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