As holistic therapists, we get asked a lot of questions like “what is Osteopathy?”, “how does Naturopathy work?”, what is Traditional Chinese Medicine?”, and “can Psychological Counselling help me?” Here are answers to some of our most commonly asked questions:
Q: What do I need to bring for my first appointment? What should I wear?
You need to bring your medical exam reports from over the last few years (think: X-rays, MRIs, CT scans). These enable us to know more about your body.
Very important: don’t forget to wear loose workout clothing, ideally a t-shirt and jogging pants, yoga pants, or shorts. This makes it easier to move your body during the manipulation.
Q: Is there any paperwork to fill out for my first appointment? Should I arrive early?
Yes, you will be asked to fill out the intake form with your basic information (name, address, phone number). And we do advise you to come early to make sure you have enough time to find the clinic, settle down, and go to the bathroom.
Q: Do I need a referral from my GP?
No, you don’t need a referral from your doctor to see an Osteopathic manual therapist. If we think you need to see your doctor, or need more investigation with medical exams, we will advise you to see a doctor immediately.
Q: Is Osteopathy covered by Alberta Health Services, or by my private insurance?
Unfortunately, Osteopathy isn’t covered by Alberta Health Services, but it is covered by most bigger insurance companies. Please ask your insurance company prior to your visit about your plan and its coverage for Osteopathy.
Our Osteopathic manual therapists are part of the Alberta Association of Osteopathic Manual Therapists (AAOMT), which provides accreditation for Osteopathy to insurance companies.
Q: Can I bring my baby/kids while I’m getting treated?
You can bring your little ones if you don’t have any other options, but we do advise you to come without them in order to get the most out of your appointment. You are welcome to bring a friend or a family member in order to take care of them during the treatment.
We have toys and books at the clinic, but feel free to bring their favorite games and some snacks or videos to keep them busy.
Q: How many appointments will I need?
This depends on the conditions bringing you to the clinic, how long you’ve been experiencing the problem, and your general state of health.
We usually see patients about four times, with appointments at least one to three weeks apart. Our goal is to get you back on a healthy path with as few visits as possible.
Your Osteopathic manual therapist will assess your improvement at each appointment, and reevaluate your needs. If you require fewer visits than originally expected, great! And if we think you might need more, we’ll discuss the evolution of your treatment plan.
If at any time we think we can’t help you, we will refer you to another health practitioner who we think will help you better.
Chronic conditions require a bit more work: follow-up appointments are made when you feel that your body needs a tune-up, otherwise we recommend a visit every couple of months.
Q: Osteopathy is new to me: what is the difference between it and Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, and Massage?
Physiotherapy works on the body through actions on muscles, in an active way (asking you to move a joint), or in a passive way (they will mobilize you). The goal of the Physiotherapist is to restore the muscle function of the joint that has been impaired. A physio can give you exercises to do at home and will see you for 15 to 30 minutes once or twice per week, for a couple of weeks.
Chiropractic consists in a series of manipulations of the spine and pelvis in order to affect general health via the spine/nervous system. The appointments are usually shorter (5 to 15 minutes), and you will usually come a couple of times per week, followed by regular appointments at least once per month.
The massage therapist will work on tight muscles through applied pressure on these muscles in order to release them. Treatments are often an hour long, and require regular follow-ups at least once a month.
The philosophy of osteopathy is what makes us different from other alternative therapies (see: Principles of Osteopathy). We work on the whole body with various techniques from gentle manipulations, to muscle work, facial techniques, visceral manipulations, and cranial work (craniosacral therapy).
Thanks to our knowledge of anatomy, we understand the link between different body parts and organs which enables us to find the root cause of your symptoms.
We only use our hands, in order to have a constant feedback from the body while we work on you, to know when the body needs more or less pressure, and to know when to stop. Everybody is different, and so is every body!
Our appointments last an hour for the first appointment, and about 45 minutes for the follow ups (for an adult). We only treat one patient at a time, and you have all our attention. We see our patients every one to three weeks, in order to let their bodies adjust to the treatment.
Q: Can I see another manual therapist (Chiropractor, Physiotherapist, Massage therapist…) before or after my appointment?
Ideally, it is better to leave three days before and after the treatment free from other therapies in order to let you body adjust to the treatments, and to avoid being over-treated. Moreover, this will allow you to give each practitioner the best chance of improving your health.
Q: Do you have parking spaces? Is your building wheelchair accessible?
Yes, in fact you can click to view our parking map. We have parking in front of the building with handicap parking spaces to right of our main entrance, and there is also plenty of parking in the surrounding streets. Our clinic is on the main floor of the building and is easily accessible.
Q: What is the difference with an Osteopathic manual therapist and an Osteopath? Are you physicians?
Around the world, Osteopaths have different names depending on which country they graduate from and, in Canada, each province has a different legal definition for who is allowed to be called an “Osteopath”.
In Alberta, the title “Osteopath” is now protected and can only be used by licensed medically trained Doctors of Osteopathy from the United States. Since we are not doctors, we are required to refer to ourselves as “Osteopathic manual therapists”, here in Alberta.
Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine FAQ
Q: Are there any side effects of acupuncture?
Side effects are generally rare but can include: slight pain, light-headedness or nausea, soreness, bruising, bleeding or discolouration of the skin, and the possibility of other unforeseen risks.
Q: How do you clean the needles/what do you do with a needle after you use it?
All practitioners in Alberta are required by law to use acupuncture needles that are sterile single-use needles; they are used once and then discarded in a sharps container.
Q: Does acupuncture hurt?
People may feel some discomfort when the needles go in, while others feel nothing at all. Some common needle feelings include heaviness, achiness, tingling, and warmth at or around the insertion site.
Q: How many treatments will I need?
Everyone responds to acupuncture differently, some acute conditions will respond after 1-2 treatments. Chronic conditions may require several visits. Maintenance treatments may be needed once in a while if symptoms begin to reoccur.
Q: Is acupuncture covered by my health benefits?
Acupuncture is covered by most health benefit plans, it is always best to check with your provider before booking an appointment to ensure coverage.
Q: Do I need a doctor referral?
No referral or biomedical diagnosis is necessary to book an appointment as a comprehensive assessment will be done at your first appointment. It is always a good idea to keep your family doctor informed about symptoms you may be experiencing and treatments you are receiving.