I've been wanting to share this story for a while now and after seeing clients who have been fooled and failed (also) by functional medicine, I decided not to hold back.
A few years ago, I was invited to lunch by a very famous "functional medicine doctor" here in Switzerland given my work in gut health and my speciality in food intolerance and allergies. They were impressed with my background and the purpose of our meeting was to discuss up-skilling their practitioners in this area "from the perspective of a qualified gut health dietitian". I took this opportunity to ask all the questions around the following:
- Why are you promoting unorthodox food intolerance testing when you know they are not a proven diagnostic tool?
- Why are you ordering so many lab tests, with some being totally irrelevant?
- Is there such a demand of colonics and vitamin drips?
The answers to my questions above all had a common theme – "these people have tried it all and won't hesitate to pay more for thinking outside of the box, they are desperate for answers that modern medicine hasn't given them". When we discussed food intolerance testing – they were very much aware of their uselessness but wanted to "provide their patients a starting point", without the mention of gaining commission from promoting these tests.
As for treatments like chelation therapy, colonics and vitamin drips: "Our main clients come from Asia and the Middle East, so Sandra, they have the money and loyalty. We treat them like VIPs with their own fully-catered space, run a whole bunch of tests to make sure that they are at their utmost health and provide them with a few "add-ons" such as colonics and topping their system up with vitamins to boost their wellbeing".
The reason I'm mentioning all of this is because in my experience, functional medicine tends to hide behind a façade of "finding the root cause" while gaining a ridiculous amount of $$$ by doing so. The amount of lab-work that is useless or has no scientific backing is also at the centre of it all, from analysing your saliva to testing for "heavy metals", desperate clients will do anything to get the answers they've been seeking for. Add a narrative of "food is medicine" to the mix and you've hit gold! So this brings me to..