Build Your Care Team and a Doctor or Practitioner
Before you build your care team, it can be helpful to first establish your health goals and complete your symptom tracker. This gives you the insight you need to research and interview doctors / practitioners / coaches that might work well for your situation.
I have tried every which way to work with doctors … what I’ve seen work wonderfully for me and many in our community is to build a team of 4-5 different experts, with different expectations of each.
This has allowed me to leverage doctors who take insurance so my labwork, thyroid and hormone support is covered by my plan…
And then work with root-cause practitioners that have helped me tackle toxicity that is important to my healing. I’ve organized this checklist for you with this strategy in mind.
My recommendation is to build your care team in this order, focusing first on the doctor or nurse practitioner who is going to help you run your labs and support your hormones. Sometimes you can find a primary care doctor or nurse practitioner who specializes in hormones, and sometimes you’ll need to find two practitioners to cover this.
Find a Primary Care Integrative / Naturopathic Medicine Doctor who will run all your optimizing labs.
The types of doctors or nurse practitioners that are open-minded and more informed are typically DOs, NDs, Integrative MDs, and Functional NPs.
Usually, you can find one of these who takes insurance … if you do, GREAT! And not many who take insurance can practice a pure functional medicine model of care because they aren’t paid enough to cover their time (functional medicine is time intensive, for sure!). See Health Insurance Secrets for more tips on leveraging your health insurance for care.
So remember that as you’re working with them and don’t expect them to uncover your deeper issues without strongly advocating and / or bringing in other experts.
Find a Hormone Doctor specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to help you optimize your hormones, including supporting you with BHRT or thyroid Rx, if needed.
I love Dr. Shawn Tassone, MD, a gynecologist here in Austin, TX. He is well-versed in managing hormone support (including all functional medicine best practices) , he’s very generous with his support of our community, he takes insurance (including Medicare), and through telemedicine, he can work with patients anywhere in the world. You can call his office to book an appointment: (512) 956-0296.
Pro Tip: If you want to work with someone locally, my favorite way of finding a great hormone doctor to help with labs and hormones is to call your local compounding pharmacy. Ask them for a referral to someone who has patients that rave about how good they’re feeling.
This strategy can help you narrow down to who’s good!
Find a toxicity specialist to help you uncover the root cause of your issues. Occasionally, this is your functional medicine doctor, but more often, you need to find another practitioner to work with whose focus is root cause healing.
I wish I would have understood how to navigate this better when my journey started … what I have learned is that general functional medicine doctors seem to focus on using lifestyle, diet and allergy testing to manage symptoms.
This is a good start … but for most of us experiencing significant symptoms, we need hormone support to prop us up, and our problem is toxicity: mold, heavy metals, lyme and co-infections, Epstein Barr Virus, fungus, gut infections, parasites, breast implant illness, and of course, trauma.
What I have learned is, most functional medicine doctors do not have the deeper training needed to actually eradicate the symptoms for good … meaning you don’t have to stay on a special, strict diet (beyond eat real food) forever just to function.
If you find an expert on mold, they’ll likely have all the training to help you test for everything (as you should!) and detoxify properly to heal.
I love, love Dr. Lauryn Lax here in Austin. You can reach out to her through her website, drlauryn.com.
Chiropractor that does muscle testing (applied kinesiology) – The reason I like someone who does muscle testing is, it’s a modality that can be helpful in discerning what the body likes and doesn’t like if the practitioner is really experienced.
You can sometimes find chiropractors trained in functional medicine on the Institute for Functional Medicine site.
Biological dentist – When it’s time to clean out your mouth of infections, cavitations and heavy metals, you must must must work with someone good!
I had a dentist improperly remove my mercury fillings, which resulted in heavy metal poisoning. It shut down my thyroid and hypothalmus / pituituary and I gained 45 pounds in three months.
A SMART dentist will know how to properly remove mercury fillings … they don’t go as far as biological dentists to support your body in detoxing if you’re already sick, however.