Jennifer fullNaturopathic Doctor Jennifer Haessler has been practising for 13 years.

Hub Staff

Maple Shores Health Centre is celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week in hopes of promoting awareness and dispelling myths around Naturopathic Medicine.

Naturopathic Doctor and Co-owner of Maple Shores Health Centre, Jennifer Haessler has been a naturopath for almost 13 years and changes for practising naturopaths that occurred in 2015 through the Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) has standardized this form of medicine.

Under the RHPA, Heassler had to pass a required exam in order to continue to prescribe certain vitamins and other supplements.

“Anyone in Ontario that calls themselves a naturopathic doctor has to have gone through that set of regulations,” Heassler said May 11. She explained that the new regulations are provincially regulated and a more conservative approach.

Heassler calls her line of work “complimentary medicine” and added that “it shouldn't make people feel like they're making choices” between naturopathic and standard medicine.

“Ideally naturopathic medicine fits in with lots of other health care professions, to be able to provide patients with ideal care. I spend time writing letters to patient’s medical doctors, to let them know what I'm looking at or ask them if they'd consider running tests, because I feel that we both need to be on the same page,” said Heassler.

She stated that during her time in Saugeen Shores she has built strong relationships with medical doctors. “There are medical doctors that would refer to me for certain things like digestive issues, irritated bowl syndrome, or women who have menopausal symptoms. Things where conventionally, people don't necessarily want to take medication.”

Haessler said that some people still feel that if they go to see a naturopathic doctor, they can’t continue seeing their medical doctor. “I don’t think that’s necessary, I feel that we can work well together,” said Haessler.

“If somebody needs a medication, they should take a medication if other things aren’t working,” said Haessler, who then gave an example of a patient with diabetes. “If you have Type 2 Diabetes, you need insulin. You can’t come see me to fix that.”

Naturopaths can however, try to stop or minimize the other symptoms that can be associated with Diabetes, said Haessler.

“In general, if we can help people in the least invasive way with minimal side effects and help them feel better, I think that’s everybody's ideal.”

Naturopathic medicine has been put in the spotlight in recent years with certain events creating a muddied perspective of the science. The new standard set forth by the RHPA is designed to protect naturopathic doctors in Ontario.

For example, Haessler said that The College of Naturopaths of Ontario does not allow a licensed Naturopathic Doctor to take a stand on immunizations. “If a patient wants to talk about immunizations our College states that we are to refer them back to their medical doctor because it’s not within my scope of practise to be able to give or not give vaccinations,” she said.

Heassler added that a lot of what she does is “functional medicine”.

“I run blood work to look for areas that could be unbalanced. Symptom-wise a lot of my patients are coming in with digestive symptoms, chronic fatigue, chronic headaches, and hormonal imbalances,” she said.

Haessler holds a Bachelor of Environmental and Life Sciences from Queen’s University and graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, a four-year course in Toronto.

From Naturopathic medicine, to Osteopathy, Psychotherapy and Counselling, RPM services to Reiki, Maple Shores Health Clinic is a trove of disciplines that focus on healing.

Beyond Naturopathic Medicine Week, the health centre is also celebrating its nomination for Business of the Year at the BRASS Awards, taking place May 28, at Saugeen Golf and Country Club.

Maple Shores fullMaples Shores Health Centre is celebrating Naturopathic Medicine Week, and is currently in the running for Business of the Year at the upcoming BRASS Awards.