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Lori Van Opstal

Lori Van Opstal

Health Care Advocate, Former Chair of South West Local Health Integration Network, & Reviewer for the British Medical Journal

Defining and understanding what integrative medicine is all about.

When your doctor isn’t able to solve your health problems with their prescribed treatments, do they suggest alternatives? Do they counsel you about diet, exercise, and managing stress, or offer you medications alongside herbal products or supplements? Many doctors hesitate to step outside the boundaries of conventional medicine, but this out-of-the box thinking is the whole-patient approach offered by integrative medicine physicians. 

New Policy Change Puts Integrative Medicine at Risk, Hurting Patients

Integrative medicine combines conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but this practice is under threat by a policy change proposed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which regulates Ontario’s physicians.

The new policy appears to give the college sweeping powers to shut down the practice of integrative medicine. Integrative doctors already face skepticism from their physician colleagues, who lack awareness about CAM or who argue that CAM isn’t evidence-based. In fact, many CAM therapies are included in conventional medical practice guidelines.

It’s Time to Speak Out in Support

Integrative doctors help patients address the root causes of their health problems because they believe that it’s a better way to practice medicine. If you think that integrative health care is important, tell the college to reconsider its policy and to let integrative physicians continue to do their work. 

If You Value Integrative Medicine, Speak Out:

How Seeing an Integrative Medicine Physician Changed My Life

Cyrus Sadaghiani

Cyrus Sadaghiani

Patient Advocate

For years I struggled with a major issue that was “treated” by my family doctor and two different specialists without success. A close friend suggested that I see an integrative physician — something I wasn’t familiar with. After failing to find relief with the conventional health care system, I decided to give it a go.

My care began with a comprehensive evaluation of my mental and physical well-being. The integrative physician also ordered a DNA test, blood work, and an MRI. I learned that I had a germ in my body that was causing serious inflammation in certain internal organs, which had never before been brought to my attention. I had no idea how truly dangerous this inflammation was, or about the causes of inflammation in my body such as stress, certain foods, and toxins. 

The integrative doctor used innovative therapies to eliminate the germ and address my inflammation. This experience helped shift my perspective from focusing on symptoms to understanding the root cause of illness. I was impressed by how well these complementary therapies got straight to the root of my problems. Having the option to explore alternatives to conventional medical care makes me feel like I’m an active participant in my health and healing. Thanks to this experience, I not only feel healthy once again, but also empowered.

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