We decided to sit down and have a chat with our practice owner and MD, Dr. Philip Oubre, and functional nutritionist, Aubree Steen.
There’s been a huge debate about the difference between conventional and functional medicine. While this conversation could take an infinite amount of hours, we wanted to casually discuss some of the main differences of a functional medical office versus a conventional medical office. The care we’ve experienced as providers, as patients ourselves, and with the patients we see is a level of care we never want to sacrifice. With functional medicine, we have the ability to improve patient’s lives in an exponential way.
Feel free to watch the video, or read our transcript below.
Aubree: Okay. So then, what makes you qualified as a practitioner? I know for nutrition, I go into into a completely different style of education. It’s not dietician route. It’s not pre-med or anything like that. It’s an actual schooling. What, for a medical doctor or a nurse practitioner, what do you do to make sure that you’re actually qualified?
Dr. Oubre: That’s a good question because basically, there’s almost anyone can call themselves a function medicine provider. I’m a physician. I’m a traditional trained physician, so I went to med school, I went to residency. And I can do all of the things that a traditional family doctor can do, whether that be prescriptions, vaccines, whatever it may be. I can do all those thing. But then after I graduated from residency and finished all of that training, I went above and beyond to learn more and more about functional medicine and using holistic medicine to heal people and get down to the root causes of whatever that may be.
In addition, I spent tons of time learning about nutrition, since we’re only given one hour of nutrition knowledge in med school. So I spent extra time learning all that. I spent thousands of dollars going to the Institute Of Functional Medicine, IFM. I did all of their courses, because a Certified Function Medicine practitioner through them.
And so, I guess those are the thing that I would say make me qualified to be a function medicine doctor, and kind of set me apart from anyone else saying they do holistic medicine or integrative medicine.
Aubree: Right, because then you can have a naturopath or another MD or anybody else doing integrative. Right? But function medicine is a whole other certification.
Dr. Oubre: Yeah. And the way I see things, whether this is right or wrong, the way I see things is, traditional medicine is way over here. Function medicine is way over here. Integrative medicine is somewhere in between. So the kind of benefit of function medicine, the way I see it, it’s like the Matrix pill. There’s no gray pill. There’s the red or the green pill. I don’t remember the colors.
Aubree: I don’t either. I’ve never seen it.
Dr. Oubre: The red or the green. We swallowed the pill. We went in whole hog. It’s function medicine. We’re going to figure out a root cause of you symptom, whatever it may be. There’s a root cause, whether we know it or not. But we’re going to keep looking until we find it.
Aubree: Right. And I feel like all the patients who’ve come here have been through conventional medical realms that have failed them.
Dr. Oubre: Yeah.
Aubree: Right? And we kind of understand what a typical functional medical visit is like. What do you feel like the best way explaining to people how the treatment plan is? It’s a loaded question. We’re very spoiled. We are.
Dr. Oubre: Because I still remember the days of being in a traditional medical practice where we had a new patient visit and you were scheduled for 20 minutes. And many times, we ran over a good 20, 25 minutes. But that was a long visit in the traditional medical world. It still is a long visit in the medical world. But in the function medicine world, we get 90 minutes with our new patients. I get 90 minutes. You get 90 minutes, as a nutritionist, with them. And then if they see the therapist commonly, they get 90 minutes with the therapist as well.
And so, part of it is just time. It’s almost impossible to get your story out in a matter of 20 minutes. And even if you can get your story out in 20 minutes, you certainly can’t get to a solution in 20 minutes. And you certainly can’t change your lifestyle, fix your diet, whatever it may be. So that whole first visit, 90 minutes, that’s still not even enough. But that 90 minutes is at least a good way to start. Find out the story, get a treatment plan started, get some blood work, lab, stool study, whatever it may be, cooking. And then we have more and more visits.
The idea of what people are kind of subjected to nowadays in traditional medicine is, like we said, we’re spoiled that we get so much time.
Dr. Oubre: Our followup visits are 60 minutes, usually. Eventually, patients start decreasing down to 30 minutes visits, especially for me, because they just don’t need as much time.
Dr. Oubre: They’ve got their plan. It’s less movement in their plan.
Aubree: And our patients are very compliant, so they get better when people don’t-
Dr. Oubre: Yeah. The non-compliant ones get longer. Right?
Aubree: I know. Then, they just pay more. But that’s okay. That’s fine. So let’s say if you had a scenario of someone who had rheumatoid arthritis. Right? Conventional medical way would be going to an autoimmune specialist. Right?
Dr. Oubre: A rheumatologist.
Aubree: And the functional medical route would be coming to us, and we’re figuring out, okay, we understand that you do have rheumatoid arthritis, but why? And that’s where we do the stool study, organic acids test, blood work, things like that. Okay. So that’s a good way of …
So, we get a lot of patients, right, who come in here looking for help. What is the best way to explain what type of patient is suited for functional medicine versus conventional medicine?
Dr. Oubre: Well, that’s a loaded question because anyone-
Dr. Oubre: Can be a functional medicine patient.
Dr. Oubre: I’m a function medicine patient. You’re a function medicine patient.
Aubree: I’m a great patient.
Dr. Oubre: Because we really do have something to offer for anyone and everyone. Commonly in our videos and things, we’re focused on the people that are suffering.
Dr. Oubre: Like you just mentioned with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis or lupus, whatever it may be, an autoimmune condition, where they are suffering. But functional medicine has the ability to prevent you from suffering, also. Right? Because why wait until you do have rheumatoid arthritis? Why wait til you have that heart attack? So really, there’s something for everyone in function medicine that we can help them get healthy, stay healthy, preventative medicine. It is the ultimate version of preventative medicine.
I know in conventional medicine, they talk about your wellness visit or your annual physical or whatever, but the main thing they’re doing is, they’re doing cancer screening tests, they’re doing vaccines, they’re checking your blood pressure and your weight, but they’re not truly diving deeper down to see what are some of the underlying causes that could be going on, that you may not even feel. You may have inflammation in your blood work. I was a prime example. I started doing my blood work in my early 30’s, and I had terrible inflammation. My CRP was 8, and-
Aubree: Oh my God.
Dr. Oubre: Don’t make fun of me. So, six years ago, my CRP was 8. It’s not 8 any-
Aubree: What’s it now?
Dr. Oubre: It’s under 1 now, thank you very much.
Aubree: Okay. Okay.
Dr. Oubre: But I did. I had arterial inflammation markers. I had Lp-PLA2 elevation. I had plenty of inflammation, but I didn’t feel it. I’m not one of those patients that felt inflammation. I’m the patient that, in my 50’s I would’ve had a heart attack, looking back and going, “Why me? I never had any issues.” Right? Whereas others have inflammation, they’ve jot joint pain, brain fog, fatigue and whatever it may be.
So really, the original question was, what’s a good patient for us? And it truly is anyone.
Dr. Oubre: I’d say probably our bread and butter are the people that come to see us most often are the people that have seen multiple doctors, taken multiple drugs. They’re tired of taking drugs. They want to get down to the root causes.
Dr. Oubre: They want to get off of medications and feel better. Because many of them are taking medications and don’t feel good.
Aubree: Right. Or, you have those patients who have been tossed around. You know? And I’ve been one of those. Multiple people in our practice have been one of those, and then never got better or felt better.
Dr. Oubre: Yeah.
Aubree: And it wasn’t until A, we did our own education, or B, actually saw a functional medical provider, that we understood why we were feeling that way.
Dr. Oubre: Yeah. The medical merry go round of this diagnosis got you started. We had one of our patients recently, she went to see a cardiologist for something, and then the cardiologist uncovered something else. She had to go to another specialist. And she ended up in this medical merry go round. And it wasn’t til she talked to us to say, “Whoa. Hey, like how did I get here?”
Dr. Oubre: It’s one thing after the next, and it all stemmed from one inappropriate test, which was like, well, there’s no harm in testing. Well, there was a harm in testing, and it led down this whole medical merry go round that didn’t affect her life and didn’t change her life. But a procedure from that test could have changed her life.
Aubree: Okay. So everybody can be.
Okay. Okay, good.