General FAQs

The OICC is the first integrative cancer care and research centre of its kind in Eastern Canada. We were established to provide the best in integrative cancer care and to improve the quality of life of those touched by cancer. Since opening our doors in late 2011, we have grown to expand our offerings to provide care for a wide range of conditions – not just those with cancer.

The OICC provides complementary therapies as supportive cancer care as well as general care to our patients. The OICC also offers a wide-range of programming and events to deliver evidence-based workshops and classes for patients and community members alike. The OICC is also a research center where our research team conducts clinical trials for promising complementary therapies and evaluates integrative systems of care.

We offer whole-person, patient-centered care for our patients interested in receiving complementary support alongside their conventional treatments.

In more depth, the care that the OICC provides is:

  • For the whole person –our approach addresses the “whole-person”, not just a specific disease that an individual may have. This means that our therapies recognize that every individual is biochemically unique. We believe that one’s overall wellbeing includes their physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. We also consider the role that lifestyle factors (such as diet) contribute to one’s health and wellness.
  • Patient-centered – our philosophy is to put the patient, their family and their priorities at the heart of every decision while considering them to be genuine partners in their care. Patients are empowered to choose their treatment options and are encouraged to take an active role in their healing process through the adoption of these self-care practices.
  • Complementary – our therapies (such as acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, massage therapy, yoga therapy, etc.) are not currently considered to be part of conventional medicine. These therapies are called “complementary” care because it is practiced alongside conventional medicine in a supportive way. Current research (*add hyperlink*) demonstrates that when complementary therapies are used together with conventional treatments, these outcomes treatments are enhanced, and unpleasant side effects are reduced.

Our patients receive support from the OICC for a number of reasons:

  • To alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms and side effects experienced by patients with cancer and a wide range of other conditions
  • To provide support to caregivers, friends, and families of patients of cancer
  • To educate and provide support in the prevention of cancer
  • To improve over-all wellbeing and quality of life for all patients

Existing evidence shows that when some complementary therapies are used together with conventional treatments, the result is enhanced efficacy, reduced symptoms of toxicity, alleviated patient distress and reduced suffering.

We invite you to read more about the complementary therapies that the OICC provides as supportive Cancer Care as well as the General Services available to all patients by clicking on these options.

Integrative care is an approach to care that believes a number of therapies can and should be provided in a collaborative way to give a patient the best means possible to heal themselves physically, mentally and emotionally.

The ideal of integrative care sees the best of conventional medicine combined with the best of complementary medicine provided in a seamless and safe manner. This is a goal to which the OICC is striving to help achieve, in Ottawa and ultimately across Canada.

Yes. The OICC is a not-for-profit regional centre of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, which has been providing education and research in naturopathic and complementary medicine since 1978.

In December of 2016, the OICC Foundation, received its charitable giving status and therefore became the fundraising arm for the OICC. (Charitable Registration No. #78537 3499 RR0001)

Yes.  We are committed to working with the other health professionals outside of the OICC who provide care for our patients to develop complementary therapeutic programs that will not interfere with standard treatments but instead, will help to optimize patient care.

Upon an individual patient’s request, we are happy facilitate communication with the practitioner(s) a patient would like in order to keep them up-to-date regarding your care at the OICC. We are also able to provide patients with consent forms to allow their medical records to be released to their OICC practitioner(s).

At the OICC we encourage open communication with all conventional practitioners in order to help our patients achieve the best possible outcome.

Give us a call – our Intake Coordinator would be happy to speak with you, provide you with more information, and answer any questions!

If you would prefer to come in person, we invite you to come to one of our Information Sessions. These sessions are free and held at the OICC every Thursday from 11 am - 12 pm.

More information can be found on our Become an OICC Patient Page. 

New patients are welcome with or without a referral to see any of our naturopathic doctors and therapists – barring appointments with our Integrative Medical Doctor as our one exception.

A referral from a medical doctor is required to have a consultation with OICC’s Integrative Medical Doctor. You can read more about this service here, and by reading the “Integrative Medical Doctor FAQs” section below.

While a referral is not required to see our other practitioners, information from you other care providers is very helpful. 

You can read more about becoming a patient on our Become an OICC Patient Page.

Patients are empowered to take an active role in their healing process through to choosing their treatment options. New patients are able to book appointments for the therapie(s) they feel would best suit their needs. Our clinic does not require that patients book with any particular therapy first or to become a patient at the OICC.

To learn about the complementary therapies that the OICC provides as supportive Cancer Care as well as the General Services available to all patients by clicking on these options under Our Services. 

While not required, many of our patients opt to make their first appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors (NDs). As a cornerstone of the OICC, naturopathic doctors consider all factors that influence one’s health – physical (including diet and lifestyle), emotional, spiritual. As our NDs will inquire about many aspects of your life, they are able to make recommendations regarding other OICC therapies that could be of help to you.

Absolutely! Family, friends, and caregivers of patients with cancer are also invited to access OICC services. At the OICC, we recognize the importance of ensuring and maintaining the wellbeing of caregivers who often put the needs of their loved one before their own. As the saying goes, “you cannot pour from an empty cup.”

All initial visits with a naturopathic doctors (NDs), medical doctors (MDs) and Nurse Practitioners (NPs) must be done in person at the OICC. This is a clinic-wide policy for all of our patients. At this time, we are unable to make any exceptions to this rule.

Follow-up appointments with NDs and MDs can be done over the phone.

No! In addition to supportive cancer care, the OICC practitioners provide care for a wide range of conditions. For more information, please see our General Services Page. 

Family, friends, and caregivers of patients with cancer are also invited to access OICC services.

OICC therapies are available to patients at any stage of their cancer journey. The complementary care provided by OICC practitioners meets patients where they are at and is unique to each individual. Our therapies can be supportive when:

  • Recently diagnosed with cancer
  • Undergoing hospital-based treatments
  • Before & after treatments
  • Seeking care for family, friends, and caregivers of patients with cancer
  • Looking to prevent recurrence of cancer
  • Looking to prevent cancer due to a family history

Absolutely! Our services are available to those interested in the prevention of cancer as well as the prevention of a cancer recurrence. 

OICC therapies are not covered by OHIP. The OICC is a fee-for-service clinic. A full list of fees can be found our Fees Page.

Many of OICC’s therapies are covered under private and employer health insurance plans. Please consult your individual health insurance provider to inquire about the coverages provided under your individual plan. Some of the fees may also be claimed as medical expenses on your tax return.

Exception: Integrative Medical Doctor. For residents of Ontario, visits are currently covered by OHIP (meaning no cost). For Quebec patients or non-OHIP patients, there will be a cost for your visit. Please refer to our Fees Page.

Many of OICC’s therapies are covered under private and employer health insurance plans. The portion of each visit covered, the number of visits covered, and the type of services covered vary from plan to plan.

In general:

  • The majority of health care benefit plans will include a $300-500 towards:
    • Naturopathic Medical care,
    • Registered Massage Therapy,
    • Physiotherapy, and
    • Acupuncture
  • In most cases, 80-100% of your initial visit should be covered.

Please consult your individual health insurance provider to inquire about the coverage provided under your individual plan. Some of the fees may also be claimed as medical expenses on your tax return.

Yes. We are able to offer a subsidy on OICC services and supplements to OICC patients for whom this would be beneficial through the generous donations made to the Bryan Murray Legacy Fund for Subsidized Care.

Please see our Fees Page for more information and for the Financial Subsidization application documents.

Our research is based on two main pillars: the conduct of clinical trials for promising complementary therapies and the evaluation of integrative whole-systems of care. Our research enables us to address significant research gaps in regards to the safety, clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of complementary therapies and integrative oncology and is a fundamental part of the vision and mission of the OICC. 

You can find a list of Current OICC Research Studies and of Research Publications under our Research Page.

Yes! We offer workshops, classes, support groups and more to patients of the OICC, their family, friends, caregivers, and to members of the community.

You can find a list of all of OICC’s offerings, their costs, as well as a calendar of these events under our Programs & Events Page.

The Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM) is a not-for profit charitable organization that is one of seven accredited educational colleges across North America responsible for training naturopathic doctors (NDs). The College is based in Toronto and provides a four-year, full-time, intensive program of medical training to over 500 students.

CCNM provides operational support and the governance for the OICC. A fundamental principle of naturopathic medicine is whole-person care, and through the successful operation of the OICC, the College will help positively impact the approach to cancer care in Canada. The CCNM is committed to seeing change in the health care system that embraces a more proactive preventative approach to health-care.

We are located in Hintonburg neighbourhood in Ottawa at the corner of Somerset and Bayswater.

 

Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre

29 Bayswater Avenue

Ottawa, Ontario

K1Y 2E5

Give us a call – we’d be to speak with you, provide you with more information, and answer any questions! Our reception will gladly connect you with the OICC employee best able to answer your questions.

You also have the option to email us with any questions. We invite you to get in touch with us by completing the form on our Contact Us Page. Kindly note that if you are looking to make an appointment, a phone call is the preferred method to do this.

If you would prefer to come in person, we invite you to come to one of our Information Sessions

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Intravenous Therapies FAQs

IV therapies are treatments that are administered via an intravenous (IV) drip in your arm or through a central line (PICC, Port-a-cath) if you have been given one. The IV route allows much higher concentrations of certain substances, such as vitamin C, to circulate in the blood than what is possible when ingested orally.

IV treatments are provided by Registered Nurses (RNs) and IV-certified Naturopathic Doctors (NDs). IV treatments are administered in a group setting in our IV Suite, with up to 5 patients receiving treatment at the same time.

At the OICC, we offer the following IV therapies: 

  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

  • ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)

  • Curcumin

  • DCA (Dichloroacetate)

  • Mistletoe

  • Myers & Immune Support

At the OICC, the most commonly used IV therapies are high dose Vitamin C and mistletoe. 

Please see the patient Research Summaries section under Research for more information about each IV therapy offered at the OICC.

When considering IV therapy, please keep the following four considerations in mind:

  1. First, your ND will discuss the possible benefits, possible risks, and any alternative treatments that may help you achieve your goals to help in the decision making process.
  2. Second, consider the cost of each IV treatment. A complete list of costs can be found here.
  3. Third, consider the impact of traveling to the OICC on a regular basis. Patients typically come to the OICC once or twice per week for IV treatments. This can be difficult for people who live far away. You can discuss this in more detail with your team of practitioners at the OICC.
  4. Fourth, consider the process that a patient must complete before beginning their IV treatments to ensure their eligibility. These are outlined below under “What steps must I follow to receive IV therapy at the OICC?”

These four items should be considered in the context of the likely or possible benefits of IV therapy for you to determine if this is a good treatment to initiative.

Please see the FAQs below for more information about IV Therapies at the OICC.

Before receiving an IV treatment at the OICC, the following 3 steps must be followed:

1. An Appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) at the OICC

NDs are knowledgeable about intravenous therapies, and can discuss IV therapies with you. Your ND will review the therapy in depth – including its potential benefits, contraindications, risks and/or side effects as well as alternatives. In appointments, your ND can also answer specific questions about IV treatments. If your ND determines that an IV treatment is safe and appropriate for you, they will refer you to OICC’s Medical Doctor (MD) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) for further consultation. 

2. An Appointment with an OICC MD or NP

Our MD/NP will further assess if IV therapy is safe and appropriate for you. In this appointment, the MD/NP will discuss treatment, follow-up and blood tests required. The MD/NP will also review the relevant consent forms.  If they are in agreement that an IV therapy is appropriate, they will write a medical order (prescription) so that you can receive your treatment through the nursing team at the OICC.

3. Medical Records & Blood Test Results Received

At your appointments with your practitioners at the OICC, the paperwork needed to gather these records and results will be reviewed with you. We require medical records providing proof of a cancer diagnosis. These can be accessed by us after a patient signs a consent form to release their medical records to us, or the patient can bring in their own copies of these records. 

The following blood tests are required prior to starting any IV therapy:

  • Complete blood count (within 4 weeks of starting IV treatments)
  • Creatinine (within 3 or 4 weeks of starting IV treatments)
  • *For intravenous Vitamin C (IVC), a G6PD (glucose-6 phosphate dehydrogenase) blood test is also required

Ongoing blood tests are needed periodically during treatment. A care provider outside of the OICC can run these tests for you but we will require a copy of your results. If your results are outside of the normal range, it may not be safe for you to start or to continue receiving IV therapies.

This process can take anywhere from 1-4 weeks depending on appointment availability and ability to obtain blood work and medical records.

Your OICC care team will review your entire case to determine if IV therapy is appropriate for you. 

IV therapy is most often used in people with more advanced cancers to support quality of life and side effect management during cancer treatments that may be used long-term.  IV therapy is not often used for people with early stage cancers, and is not recommended for prevention of recurrence in people who have finished curative-intent treatment. If you are unsure, please discuss with one of our Naturopathic Doctors.

As described above under “What steps must I follow to receive IV therapy at the OICC” you will have a consultation with an OICC Naturopathic Doctor (ND), and a separate consultation with an OICC Medical Doctor (MD) or Nurse Practitioner (NP). It is at these appointments with an ND and MD or NP that IV therapies are considered for your cancer type, stage, situation, etc.

Kindly note that our intake coordinator and reception staff are not able to determine eligibility for IV therapy.

No. There is no research to indicate that any of our IV therapies can cure cancer. The OICC does NOT offer these treatments as alternatives to chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or other prescribed treatments. 

IV therapy is most often used in people with more advanced cancers to support quality of life and side effect management during cancer treatments that may be used long-term.  IV therapy is not often used for people with early stage cancers, and is not recommended for prevention of recurrence in people who have finished curative-intent treatment. If you are unsure, please discuss with one of our Naturopathic Doctors.

To read more about the typical uses of IV therapies, please see the OICC’s Research  Summaries, which can be found under our Research Page. 

The OICC Research Summaries provide more in depth descriptions of the IV therapies that we offer, as well as an overview of the available published research for each OICC IV therapy. There are short summaries for patients and more detailed referenced summaries for interested patients and for health care practitioners.

IVC may:

  • Support quality of life during treatment for cancer;
  • Reduce cancer-treatment related symptoms including: fatigue, nausea, and lack of appetite
  • Improve treatment outcomes or slow cancer progression (*research is not conclusive on this point, and this should be discussed with your ND

IVC is a supportive therapy. IVC is not meant to be used as an alternative to chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or other prescribed treatments. 

Side effects are uncommon and generally mild in most patients. Your OICC care team will discuss potential side effects of IV treatments during your appointment.

 

A list of potential side effects for IV therapy is included in the patient Research Summaries under our Research Page.

Please see the Fees Page under Our Services for a complete list of costs.

 

IV therapies are not covered by OHIP; however some of the cost may be covered by your private health insurance. Some of the fees may also be claimed as medical expenses on your tax return.

 

If cost is of concern, you can also find more information about OICC’s Financial Subsidization offerings further down on the Fees Page.

This depends on your individual treatment plan but a typical prescription is 1-2 times every week.

 

We realize that frequent treatments are not possible for patients living a long distance from the OICC. If you live far from the OICC, it may not be appropriate for you to receive IV therapies at our clinic due to the impact of long travel.

IV therapies are usually given during active treatment, 1-2 times per week over a period of a few months. In rarer cases, treatments are used ongoing over the long term. Your OICC care team will establish the expected duration of your IV treatments during your appointment.

 

We realize that frequent treatments are not possible for patients living a long distance from the OICC. If you live far from the OICC, it may not be appropriate for you to receive IV therapies at our clinic due to the impact of long travel.

Infusions can take between 30 to 150 minutes, depending on your individual treatment. Most commonly, treatments are 1-2 hours in length.

IVC treatments generally contain between 40-75g of Vitamin C, depending on an individual’s need. Dosing is increased with each treatment until a blood test shows that you have reached an appropriate level of Vitamin C. This process can take between 2-6 infusions.

Central lines such as PICCs, Ports, Hickmans, and Broviacs can be used for IV treatment at the OICC. You will need to bring in your device card or paper (given to you when your device was placed) in order for us to verify that our protocols and equipment are safe to use with your device.

 

Kindly note that there are additional charges for accessing a Port and for using a Gripper. Please see the Fees Tab under Our Services for a complete list of costs.

No. The protocols used at the OICC are unique to our clinic and cannot be prescribed by another practitioner. It is essential that the different members of your care team can communicate easily while you are receiving IV therapies, which is best done within the OICC. This ensures that order adjustments and management of side effects can be done quickly and efficiently to ensure patient safety at all times.

If your doctor or ND would like to refer you to our centre for IV treatments, please have him/her complete a referral form and fax it to our clinic.

Please see “What steps must I follow to receive IV therapy at the OICC?” above for more information.

The order for an IV therapy from our Medical Doctor (MD)/ Nurse Practitioner (NP) is only valid for use at the OICC.

 

However, we are happy to assist patients in transferring their treatment to another IV practitioner. Once established, a patient’s IVC protocol can be communicated to another care provider who would then write the prescription for the patient and monitor care ongoing.

Patients must have follow-up appointments with their ND at least every 2-3 months and prescribing Medical Doctor (MD) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) at least every 6 months. Appointments should also be arranged any time there is a significant change in your health (eg: new medications, treatments, or symptoms)

Bloodwork (Creatinine and CBC levels) must be monitored every 1-3 months during treatment (unless otherwise specified by ordering MD/NP).

If you are a potential new patient who would like to receive care at the OICC, including IV therapy, our Intake Coordinator will be happy to help you set up your initial appointments and review what’s needed to make this all possible.

If you are a current patient at the OICC, please call our reception. Please be advised that if you have not previously discussed IV therapies with your Naturopathic Doctor (ND) at the OICC, a follow-up appointment may be required. Please be advised that if you currently see other practitioner(s) at the OICC and have not previously seen one of the NDs at the OICC, you will need to book a 90 minute initial consultation with an ND.

You can reach our Intake Coordinator and our reception at:

All patients must follow the steps outline above under “What steps must I follow to receive IV therapy at the OICC?” This process is in place to ensure safe care for all patients.

 

Every effort will be made to book patients for the first available appointments. However, please note that depending on the volume of patients currently at the clinic, the wait times until the first available appointments may vary. Upon request, we are happy to add patients to our Cancellation List.

No! IV therapies are offered to patients on a case-by-case basis and are not appropriate for all patients in our care.

No therapy or therapies are mandatory to become or remain a patient at the OICC.

Fees: Please see Fees Tab under Our Services for a complete list of costs.

Process: The process is outlined above under the question “What steps must I follow to receive IV therapy at the OICC?”  If you have any general questions about the process of receiving IV therapy, our Intake Coordinator will be pleased to speak with you. You may reach them at 613-792-1222 or 1-855-546-1244 (toll-free).

Determining if these Therapies are Right for You: In order to determine if you could benefit from these therapies, you will need to have consultations with your team of practitioners at the OICC. Patient-specific questions such as eligibility, feasibility, dose, frequency, etc. can be discussed in an appointment with the your Naturopathic Doctor at the OICC.

Evidence and Research Summaries: We offer a summary of the current published literature on OICC’s patient Research Summaries, which can be found under our Research Tab. 

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Naturopathic Medicine FAQs

Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary care that addresses the root cause of illness or disease and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. Naturopathic medicine can be used alongside other forms of medicine to support health.

Naturopathic Medicine is a complimentary form of health care that starts with supporting the body in its amazing ability to heal itself. By looking at the root causes of illness rather than just the symptoms, naturopathic medicine is a successful non-invasive way to prevent chronic illness as well as reduce reliance upon prescription medications.

Naturopathic medicine uses an integrated approach to disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. From diet and exercise, to understanding your body’s unique chemistry, Naturopathic Medicine aims you to boost your immune system, prevent and treat chronic disease and increase your overall energy level.

Naturopathic doctors use natural, non-toxic therapies that support the whole-person and stimulate inherent healing processes. Depending on the Naturopathic Doctor’s approach and patient being treated, treatments may include clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathic medicine, lifestyle counseling, or a combination of these. The goal is to create a healthy internal and external environment. This is significant for individuals living with a variety of conditions, including cancer.

Information taken from the website of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Naturopathic doctors have a bachelor’s degree in a pre-med science, followed by a 4-year Doctor of Naturopathy degree from an accredited Naturopathic college. This four-year program is comprised of over 4,500 hours of classroom training in basic medical science courses, clinical sciences and naturopathic therapies, as well as 1,500 hours of supervised clinical practicum. In this manner, naturopathic medical training closely parallels that of medical doctors. Graduates from an accredited naturopathic college receive the designation Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND).

Naturopathic doctors in Ontario must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), and the Ontario board examination prior to practicing. In addition, NDs are also required to earn continuing education credits on an ongoing basis to maintain their registration and good standing with the regulatory body (which is the College of Naturopaths of Ontario in Ontario).

To focus in cancer care, the OICC naturopathic doctors (NDs) have additional education in integrative cancer care. Additionally, the NDs at the OICC are all members of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP).

Information taken from the website of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

Yes. Naturopathic doctors (NDs) are provincially-regulated primary care providers. In Ontario, NDs must to maintain their registration status and good standing with the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, the province’s regulatory body.

Ontario’s new Naturopathy Act received final approval in June 2007 and came into force in July 2015 bringing the regulation of Naturopathic Doctors under the Regulated Health Professions Act, with all of Ontario’s regulated health professions. Regulation changed significantly in 2015 but Naturopathic Medicine was previously regulated (since 1925) under Ontario’s Drugless Therapy Act.

Information taken from the website of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors.

In the context of supportive cancer care, naturopathic doctors focusing in cancer care are well-versed in the unique needs of people with a cancer diagnosis. They often focus on supporting quality of life, helping to manage side effects and symptoms of cancer and cancer treatment, reducing risk factors for cancer recurrence, supporting general health, and helping to navigate the often complex and confusing world of complementary medicine for cancer.

Through whole-person, patient-centred cancer care, our NDs guide and monitor each patient through the right complementary therapies at the right time.

Naturopathic doctors at the OICC all focus in the care of people with cancer. This means that the NDs have chosen to pursue extended training in a cancer care, attend yearly conferences and complete continuing education events related to cancer care.

(Note: While NDs can have a particular focus, but those are not the same as medical specialties seen in the conventional medical field.)

Yes.  Our naturopathic doctors (NDs) are committed to working with the other health professionals outside of the OICC who provide care for our patients to develop complementary therapeutic programs that will not interfere with standard treatments but instead, will help to optimize patient care.

Upon an individual patient’s request, our NDs are happy facilitate communication with the practitioner(s) a patient would like in order to keep them up-to-date regarding your care at the OICC. We are also able to provide patients with consent forms to allow their medical records to be released to their OICC ND(s).

At the OICC we encourage open communication with all conventional practitioners in order to help our patients achieve the best possible outcome.

Yes, there is a fee for visits with naturopathic doctors (NDs). Please see the Fees Tab under Our Services for a complete list of costs.

Visits with a naturopathic doctor (ND) are not covered by OHIP.

If cost is of concern, you can also find more information about OICC’s Financial Subsidization offerings further down on the Fees page. 

Many private and employer health insurance plans will cover visits with a naturopathic doctor (ND). The portion of each visit covered, and the number of visits covered vary from plan to plan. Please consult your individual health insurance provider to inquire about the coverages provided under your individual plan.

In general:

  • The majority of health care benefit plans will include a $300-500 towards ND visits.
  • In most cases, 80-100% of your initial visit should be covered.

Some of the ND visit fees may also be claimed as medical expenses on your tax return.

If cost is of concern, you can also find more information about OICC’s Financial Subsidization offerings further down on the Fees Page.

Please see the “Naturopathic Medicine” option on our Supportive Cancer Care Page.

Please see the “Naturopathic Medicine” option on our General Services Page.

At the OICC, initial consultations with a naturopathic doctor (ND) are 90 minutes in length. These visits typically entail:

  1. Review of your medical history
    • Review of your current health condition,
    • Any signs and symptoms that may be occurring, and/or
    • Any current challenges physically, mentally and emotionally
  2. A physical exam
    • Can include: weight, temperature, oxygen saturation, lung/breath sounds, abdominal exam/bowel sounds, and/or other pertinent examinations
  3. Discussion of the treatment plan your ND has created for you
    • Recommendations for appropriate integrative medical treatments that includes nutrition, fitness, lifestyle habits, and/or evidence-based natural health products

All initial visits with a naturopathic doctors (NDs) must be done in person at the OICC. This is a clinic-wide policy for all of our patients. At this time, we are unable to make any exceptions to this rule.

Follow-up appointments with NDs can be done over the phone.

Recommended follow-up times vary from patient-to-patient, as each individual’s case is unique. Your naturopathic doctor (ND) will discuss the recommended follow-up time they recommend for you during each visit.

Follow-up times also vary from patient-to-patient. The most commonly seen follow-up appointment length is 45 minutes but your ND could recommend a shorter/longer appointment length, as per your individual case. Follow-up appointments with NDs can be done over the phone.

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Integrative Medicine FAQs

Integrative medicine is a holistic approach to health care that embraces both conventional as well as complementary and alternative approaches to health and wellness.  Integrative medicine incorporates the best available evidence with patient values and preferences to deliver health care that considers all therapeutic approaches such as medications, herbals, supplements, mind-body or manual practices, or other interventions. 

For more information on integrative medicine and related definitions, see the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health definitions on integrative medicine here

Functional medicine is a systems-based approach to health care that strives to identify and treat the underlying root causes of disease.  Functional medicine addresses and attempts to optimize biological imbalances in core physiological functions (digestion, metabolism, energy production, hormone communication, immune system optimization, and elimination) in order to promote optimal health and wellness.  For more information on functional medicine, see here.

Dr. Junek MD accepts patients for integrative health consultations by referral from a medical doctor. Accompanying letters from a patient’s naturopathic doctor or other health care providers are helpful.

No. Dr. Junek MD practices as an integrative medicine consultant only. Patients are required to have their own family doctor for routine care.

First time visits are booked for 90 minutes for a full integrative health assessment.  Follow-up visits are usually 25 minutes. 

Please fax the following to the clinic or bring with you to your appointments: 

  1. Any relevant diagnostic tests done with your medical doctor or naturopathic doctor.
  2. A list of the medications and supplements you take.

For residents of Ontario, visits are currently covered by OHIP (meaning no cost).

For Quebec patients or non-OHIP patients, there will be a cost for your visit. Please refer to our Fees tab under Our Services.

A Nurse Practitioner is very similar to a medical doctor as they can do comprehensive assessments, diagnose, order laboratory/diagnostic tests, prescribe medications and refer to specialist. The only difference is the length of education versus experience, and that NPs come from a nursing background which utilizes a holistic rather than a disease-oriented approach.

Although Jamie is not certified in Functional Medicine she is passionate about providing high quality integrative care and uses a functional medicine approach to identify the root cause of your symptoms and help further guide management. She treats all her clients as if they were her own family and friends and goes above and beyond to enable them to achieve their optimal well-being through an integrative approach to provide an individualized therapeutic care plan. She specializes in primary care and has a special interest in mental health, cannabis, pain management, nutrition, irritable bowel syndrome and digestive health. She strives to empower and advocate for her clients in order for them to achieve their optimal well-being. Jamie is very resourceful and if she doesn't know the answer she is sure to go looking for it through further collaboration and consultation with other health care providers.

Although Nurse Practitioners are recognized as a valuable asset to the healthcare system, the government only funds Nurse Practitioner positions in Community Health Centre and NP-led clinics. Unlike doctors, the healthcare system does not allow Nurse Practitioners to bill OHIP for the services they provide which is why there is a fee for our Jamie's NP services. However most diagnostic or laboratory tests she orders are covered by OHIP.

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Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine FAQs

Please see our services under Supportive Cancer Care and General Health for a full description of acupuncture.

TCM includes acupuncture, traditional Chinese herbs, and moxibustion.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is about balance and harmony. Internally it values the homeostatic, the harmony the Yin and Yang, the Five Elements (Water, Fire, Wood, Metal, and Earth) and the free flow of the Blood and Qi. Externally, it promotes harmony with the environment and moderation in actions. 

Acupuncture and TCM can be of support to cancer patients at any stage of their disease: just after diagnosis/ pre-treatment, while undergoing active treatment(s) as well as post-treatment. Acupuncture and TCM can play an important role in relieving side effects and enhancing the treatment outcomes of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other prescribed treatments.

In the context of cancer care, using a TCM diagnosis, acupuncture is considered to be beneficial for the following common side effects of cancer diagnosis and/or treatments:

  • Pain, neuropathy, hot flashes
  • Fatigue, brain fog (“chemo brain”)
  • Low Blood Counts: low red blood cells, low white blood cells, low platelets, low/ very low neutrophils
  • Digestive Issues: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, xerostomia (dry mouth), loss of appetite, loss of taste, loss of smell, bitter taste
  • Mental Wellness: stress, anxiety, depression, fear,
  • Inflammations: inflammation of the liver (high liver enzymes), the kidneys (high creatinine), the pancreas (high lipase),
  • Edema: lymphedema, edema
  • Swelling: local swelling(s) in the body, whole body fluid retention

This list is not exhaustive. Please see below for a full list of the conditions that acupuncture and TCM can help with.

In a broader scope, using a TCM diagnosis, acupuncture is considered to be beneficial for a wide range of conditions, including:

  • General wellness: fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, hot or cold feelings, excessive sweats, cold and flu
  • Digestive Issues: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heart-burns, stomach aches, discomfort due to Celiac Disease, discomfort due to Chhorn’s/colitis, hemorrhoids, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), xerostomia (dry mouth), excessive phlegm, loss of appetite, loss of taste, loss of smell, bitter taste
  • Mental Wellness: stress, anxiety, depression, fear, hallucinations, and other psychiatric diagnoses
  • Inflammations: inflammation of the liver (high liver enzymes), the kidneys (high creatinine), the pancreas (high lipase), rheumatoid arthritis, sties
  • Edema: lymphedema, edema
  • Swelling: local swelling(s) in the body, whole body fluid retention
  • Respiratory Issues: asthma, COPD, seasonal allergies, , cough, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), chronic sinusitis, running nose, nasal congestions, excessive sneezing
  • Skin Issues: rashes, acne, eczema, psoriasis
  • Heart Issues: palpitation, irregular or pounding heart beats, high blood pressure, chest pain, post-stroke rehabilitation, Reynaud's, vertigo
  • Low Blood Counts: low red blood cells, low white blood cells, low platelets, low/ very low neutrophils
  • Urinary Issues: incontinence, frequent urination, hesitant or painful urination, hematuria, proteinuria
  • Sexual Dysfunction: erectile dysfunction, low libido, vaginal dryness, painful scrotum, shrinking genital organ
  • Women’s Health Concerns: hormonal imbalances, menstruation issues, PMS, fertility issues, PCOS, endometriosis, hot flashes, night sweats, conversion of breech presentations prior to birth
  • Neurological Disorders: pain, neuropathy, phantom pain, headaches, migraines, traumatic brains injuries, (post) concussion, tingling sensations, pins and needles, fibromyalgia, hand-foot syndromes, deviation of the mouth, of the eyes, Bell's palsy, paralysis, tremor, tics, spasm, restless-leg syndrome
  • Children’s Health Concerns: digestive issues, slow growth, spasm, convulsion, epilepsy, jaundice, tumours, cancer support
  • Sport Concerns: athletic performance, sports injuries

Acupuncture and TCM can be of support to cancer patients at any stage of their disease: just after diagnosis/ pre-treatment, while undergoing active treatment(s) as well as post-treatment. Acupuncture and TCM can play an important role in relieving side effects and enhancing the treatment outcomes of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other prescribed treatments.

A plethora of medical research has demonstrated the utility of acupuncture as a complementary therapy.

For example, evidence shows that the body’s natural painkillers such as endorphins and peptide opioids are released with the stimulation of acupuncture points. As well, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, producing a broad range of systemic effects. In addition, the literature has shown that acupuncture can increase blood flow to the body and can alter the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Many research studies have also shown that acupuncture therapy also positively impacts the immune system.

Here are some other helpful research summaries and resources that demonstrate and elaborate on acupuncture’s effectiveness:

This authentic, holistic approach is very different from simplified versions of needles therapy (sometimes misleadingly called "acupuncture") performed by other professions, without a TCM diagnosis, such as Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Medical doctors or Naturopathic doctors who are not Registered Acupuncturists or Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners. It is clear that TCM modalities are best practiced with TCM diagnosis. Shortcuts or simplified version of this ancient medicine certainly leads to poor outcome.

YES!

The needles used at the OICC are one-time use only and come out of a sterile package. They are non-allergenic and of highest quality, meaning that they will not cause any reactions. Acupuncture needles are never inserted deeply enough to cause damage to any part of the body.

Please note that acupuncture needles are never inserted in an active disease site. In fact, most needles are inserted far away from the active disease site.

Acupuncture treatments are safe for those with low blood counts (ex: low neutrophils, low platelets), as well as those with lymphedema. For patients with needle phobia or with very low blood counts, needle-less approaches will be used instead.

The safety of acupuncture treatment is also outlined in the following medical literature:

Our acupuncturist uses one to eight thin needles per session. On average, our acupuncturist uses six needles per session.

For patients with needle phobia or with very low blood counts, needle-less approaches will be used instead.

Please note that acupuncture needles are never inserted in an active disease site. In fact, most needles are inserted far away from the active disease site.

Please note that acupuncture needles are never inserted in an active disease site. In fact, most needles are inserted far away from the active disease site.

For example…

  • If a patient had 20 lymph-nodes removed in their left arm, a needle will not be inserted into their left arm
  • If a patient has lymphedema on the right lower leg (regardless of the number of lymph-nodes being involved), a needle will not be inserted into the swollen area
  • If a patient had radiation on the right side of their neck, no needle will be inserted in that area and in its immediate proximity
  • If a patient has metastases at the liver site, no needle will be inserted in that area
  • If a patient is experiencing acute pain on the lower back, no needle will be inserted in that area
  • Etc.

Maybe, it's a very subjective feeling.

Acupuncture needles are tiny, thin and flexible, about the size of a cat’s whisker. Once the needles are inserted, some patients may experience a mild tingling or a sensation of fullness, along with an increased sense of relaxation. These are all quite normal and suggest that the treatment is working. If you have needle phobia, needle-less approaches will be employed.

That depends on the person, severity of condition, and type of issue. Everyone’s treatment plan is unique and individually designed.

The initial phase of the treatment plan is usually between 1 to 10 visits. The length of treatment depends on how long the condition has been present and how quickly the patient responds to treatment. Generally, if a condition is more acute, patients respond faster than those with chronic issues. Some conditions can be treated in one session. Others require more time.

Once again, this is unique to the person, severity of condition, and type of issue. A different frequency will be proposed depending on each individual’s condition and objectives.

On average, patients come for acupuncture treatments once to three times a week. Your acupuncturist will discuss this further at the first visit.

You are likely to feel relaxed and calm. If the acupuncture treatment has been particularly strong you may feel tired or drowsy and it is worth bearing this in mind if you plan to drive or use any other machinery soon afterwards.

Sometimes, following a treatment, one could experience one or more of the following:

  • Tiredness
  • Euphoria
  • More relaxation
  • Slight headache
  • Temporary increase in pain
  • Minor bruising at the needle point or a short-term flare-up of your symptoms (as your qi clears and resettles)

Any side effects that do occur are mild and self-correcting. Most of the time patients feel relaxed and at ease leaving their acupuncture session.

Loose herbs are herbs in their natural, dried forms, cut in small pieces. To consume loose herbs, you will extract the herbs through a long boiling process for 30 to 60 minutes, then drink the strained liquid.

If herbs are deemed helpful for your concerns, they will be individuality selected for you by our TCM Practitioner and combined in a set of small bags according to his prescription. The amount of herbs may range from 50g to 200g per bag. A bag is usually worth for 1 to 4 days. It is highly recommended that you read your prescription, as all the information on how to boil and prepare your helps is written there.

Steps to prepare your loose herbs on the stove-top:

  1. Rinse the loose herbs under running water and put them into an earthenware or stainless steel pot. (Avoid cast-iron or aluminium pots.)
  2. Add enough water to the pot to cover the herbs by about 1.5 inches.
  3. Leave the herbs to soak until soft. (Please note that the herbs will expand and you may have to add more water to the pot in order to cover the herbs by about 1.5 inches).
  4. With a lid on, bring the mixture to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to simmer for the prescribed time written on your prescription (start the timer from the boiling point). Please note that the duration of the extraction has its importance. You may boil longer than the recommended time, but not shorter. Ensure the water is at a gentle, rolling boil during the extraction period.
  5. Once the time is over, strain the liquid when it’s still warm. Discard the solids. Be careful not to burn yourself.

Drink the liquid warm between meals, usually twice to three times a day. If it has cooled down, warm it back up or add in more hot water.

Powdered herbs are dried, loose herbs that have been ground into a powder.

If herbs are deemed helpful for your concerns, they will be individuality selected for you by our TCM Practitioner and combined in a set of small bags according to his prescription. The amount of herbs will vary dependent on the individual. A bag is usually worth for 1 to 4 days. It is highly recommended that you read your prescription, as all the information on how to boil and prepare your helps is written there.

Steps to prepare your powdered herbs in a mug:

  1. Shake the powdered herbs well before scooping out the powder. This ensures homogeneity of different ingredients.
  2. Put the suggested quantity of powdered-herbs (usually 10 to 20g) into a glass or stainless-steel insulated mug with a lid.
  3. Slowly add in about one to two cups of boiling water. As you add in the boiling water, stir to mix.
  4. Close the lid of the mug to leave the powder to infuse for the amount of time written on your prescription. Occasionally shake gently to mix. Please be careful when you shake or open the lid as the boiling water will build up pressure inside.
  5. Carefully open the mug’s lid as sometimes the steam/hot water may come out and you may get burnt. If it's not too hot, you may start drinking the liquid. If it's still too hot to drink, wait until the liquid has cooled down and drink it like a tea.
  6. Refill with boiling liquid as needed to get the most out of the powdered-herbs.

Drink the liquid warm between meals 2-3 times per day, according to what is written on your prescription. If it has cooled down, warm it back up or add in more hot water.

Granules are a concentrated powder obtained through a water extraction process that is then vacuum-dried. The concentration is usually 1 for 5, meaning that 1g of the granule is equivalent to 5g of loose herbs.

If herbs are deemed helpful for your concerns, they will be individuality selected for you by our TCM Practitioner and combined in a set of small bags according to his prescription. The amount of herbs will vary dependent on the individual. A bag is usually worth for 1 to 4 days. It is highly recommended that you read your prescription, as all the information on how to boil and prepare your helps is written there.

Steps to prepare your powdered herbs in a mug:

  1. Scoop out the prescribed amount into a cup or mug. The prescribed amount is usually expressed in grams or in standard teaspoons.
  2. Pour in enough warm water to cover the granules. Once the granule is fully dissolved, add in more warm water to dilute. Please note that the quantity of water is up to you. As an example, 6 teaspoons of granule may be mixed in about half of a cup of water. Less of water will give a stronger taste. More of water will give a more diluted taste.
  3. Stir to mix in the powdered granules.
  4. Drink in small amount throughout the day for the first two days to monitor potential allergy or sensitivity to the product. Always drink your herbs warm for the most beneficial effects. If the mixture has cooled down, warm it back up by adding hot water or microwave it.

If you experience no adverse reaction, you may drink the "tea" as instructed on your prescription, usually two to three times a day, between meals.

The amount of liquid can vary depending on your taste preferences, as the water is simply used as a means to extract your herbs. More water will give a diluted taste. Less water will give a stronger taste.

For the sake of a proper extraction, it is suggested that you use more liquid at first then adjust as you go. If you have too much of liquid at the end, put less at the next batch. You learn and adjust as you go.

Use 3 cups of liquid per day to cook your herbs. If you are making 4 days’ worth of herbs, the calculation is: 3 cups x 4 days = 12 cups. At the end of the cooking, strain and discard the herbs, keep the liquid. You should get about 8 cups of liquid. Divide it by 4 (days), it will yield about 2 cups a day.

It is also recommended that you use a larger pot rather a small one.  The water along with the herbs should take up half the height of your pot. This way you are able to ensure that the liquid will never overflow and that you don't have to clean the mess after.

You sure can!

Cooking your herbs is similar to cooking your soup. You have to keep it fresh either on the counter or in a fridge. Remember to shake to mix and warm it back up before drinking it.

Like food, ensure you don’t have allergic reaction to the herbs in your drink. For this, you will be drinking the liquid in small amounts throughout the day, for the first 1-2 days. This will occur whenever you start a new set of herbs.

If no sensitivities have developed, you may take the warm liquid twice to three times daily between meals, meaning not on an empty or a too full stomach. Drink warm for better absorption and to maximize the benefits of the herbal drink.

Do NOT add anything to change the flavour, such as a sweetener like sugar, honey, or maple syrup. By adding flavour to your drink, you may alter its property. If taste is an issue to you, use a straw to send the liquid down the throat with minimal contact to the taste buds. You can also rinse the mouth after the drink.

When in doubt, contact the OICC with any questions.

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Massage Therapy FAQs

Massage is considered safe for everyone.  Treatment adaptations may be required depending on general health, time since surgery, stage of radiation treatments, current chemotherapy regimen and whether or not a person is in curative or palliative treatments.

For more information please read our blog post Myth: Massage therapy is not safe while living with cancer

General massage training does not include extensive information on how to work with people with cancer.  To ensure a massage treatment that is both safe and effective, ensure that your therapist has either advanced training or extensive experience in oncology massage.

All massage therapists in Ontario have a baseline of 2200 hours classroom and practical education that includes courses on specific illnesses and their relevance for massage treatments. 

Adjustments to treatment site, pressure and position are required, at some point, for all people living with cancer. 

Craniosacral Therapy and Somato Emotional Release are considered safe at all stages of life and wellness from pre-birth to palliative. This style of treatment is considered gentle, non-invasive hands on work, and treatments are done fully clothed and in any positioning. The nature of Craniosacral treatments allows for a deep calming and reset of the clients Central Nervous System. In doing so, there are subtle to profound releases of physical, mental, and emotional tensions that are being stored in the body’s tissues, helping to optimize the healing process.

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Yoga Therapy FAQs

A yoga class is wonderful for a feeling of community and friendship.  What is offered, through breath and movement, hopefully is helpful to all (with some modifications). 

Yoga Therapy allows you to address your unique story – and to be heard and understood.  Yoga Therapy is a one-one-one session that allows the client to have accompaniment to listen to their body’s story. Different practices work for different people. Yoga Therapy allows individual differences in response to and provides individualized support.

Everyone is differently anxious, but there are some things we know about the nervous system that can help us understand and develop a practice to be helpful for those with anxiety.  It is good to know that our nervous system is brilliantly set up to protect us. 

When something surprising happens (like a cancer diagnosis), the nervous system will respond, often by going to “fight or flight” or “freeze and feint.” This is meant to be temporary.

However, if things continue to be hard or if the nervous system cannot find a way to feel safe, it can be hard to convince the body/mind to settle down. Listening greatly helps.

Working with breath and specific movements can help establish a conversation with the nervous system to help it notice the present moment and begin to re-pattern from shock and fear.

All yoga has the possibility of being therapeutic. Yoga Therapy is different in that it is one-on-on, and tailored to specific body-stories. There aren’t any prescriptions (i.e. no “do 2 downward dogs, and call me in the morning”). Instead, the practice is unique to each person, depending on their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

No experience is needed. Yoga Therapy is meant to fit you, not the other way around. Flexibility is not required.

Again, there are no prerequisites. As Yoga Therapy has nothing to do with religion, any belief system can be met and supported.

No, normalcy is not required (haha). Research shows that yoga can help with both fatigue and insomnia. Additionally, research into inflammation shows that a practice of yoga can bring down your blood inflammatory markers, especially helpful after treatment.

Definitely not. Please wear whatever is comfortable. Layers are useful, in case you become a little hot or cold.

Some people come once. Others come quite frequently. There is no one answer, but many possibilities, depending on what works for you.  Some people like to practice alone at home, so guidance to home practice can be helpful.  Others prefer community, and after a session will join in with a group yoga practice, feeling more attuned to their own body.

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Hypnosis Visualization FAQs

Hypnosis works by addressing your health and wellness issues on a subconscious level, changing the way you see and think about yourself, and about the way you think about how you are taking care of your body.

Unlike what the stage show version of hypnosis portrays, there is not any magic involved. In fact, you are often actually in a hypnotic state in everyday life. For example: you are out shopping with a friend, and you see a piece of furniture you like. You begin to picture what it would look like in your living room (and what your spouse would say if you bought it) and you become so lost in the daydream that you are startled when you realize your friend is talking to you.

You have experienced the first level of hypnosis; you left the upper level of analytical, conscious, active thinking and were open to suggestion.

If you think of your mind in three distinct parts - the conscious mind, the ego mind (which holds our beliefs) and the subconscious mind. When someone thinks that they are not good enough – it does not matter how much or how often they are told otherwise… their mind defaults to the ego mind and thus the belief that they are not good enough. The purpose of hypnosis is to go to the subconscious mind and set up a new, healthy, proactive belief system which is based upon what the client wants.

When I work with clients looking to lose weight for instance, I combine suggestions to eat smaller portions of healthy food together with suggestions of boosted self-confidence and self-esteem. In many diet programs the "feeling good" aspect happens after one looks good; in hypnotherapy the client is encouraged to feel good about themselves, with successful weight loss as a valued addition to those good feelings.

You never lose the ability to make your own choices (during hypnosis).

Therefore, if you were given a suggestion that went against your morality or ethics, you just would not respond and would potentially come right out of hypnosis.

There are different recommendations out there on how long to continue for maximum benefit. Our hypnotherapist-visualization practitioner recommends four live sessions, scheduled a few weeks apart and listening to a self-hypnosis recording between sessions. Some clients like to return after 6 months or so to “freshen up” where others find that the self-hypnosis recording keeps them on track.

Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool which allows a client to release unhealthy habits and beliefs and take on empowering new behaviours and lifestyles. This includes:

  • All stages of the cancer experience
  • Chronic pain management
  • Experiencing hot flashes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Weight loss
  • Quitting smoking
  • Stopping nail biting
  • Increasing self-confidence & self-esteem
  • Much more