Closing The Gap In The Wellness Industry
The Wellness industry provides many wonderful things to people…if you can afford it. The wellness industry consists of alternative healthcare practitioners that are not covered by OHIP or any provincial healthcare. This group includes Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Massage, Acupuncture, Energetic Healing Modalities and Naturopathic Medicine. I am a Naturopathic Doctor who has practiced in this elitist model for 10 years now.
I first noticed the discrepancy in the wellness industry when I started seeing patients in rural Ontario. Most of these patients didn’t have the coverage that wealthier individuals have through their benefit plans. This got me thinking, if someone can only afford to come in for one appointment per year, what kind of healthcare is this? We are losing people that really need care and only servicing individuals that have the funds for repeat appointments. This, to me, is wrong. It segregates marginalized individuals and drives them into a healthcare model where their options are extremely limited for natural healing modalities. For example, where does a low-income individual go if they have been on a recent prescription of antibiotics and need to improve their digestion? This is not something addressed in Western Medicine but can easily be done through Naturopathic Medicine and various other natural disciplines but the accessibility is lost due to the cost.
In 2020 I began a life and career change from solely practicing Naturopathic Medicine, to opening two wellness boutiques where I offer complimentary advice, no strings attached. This casual and organic model of community wellness spurred my idea to create a free and sliding scale program that was accessible to EVERYONE. I followed my heart and motto of ‘wellness for all’ and created The Community Wellness Program. We offer free and sliding scale Naturopathy to marginalized individuals, low-income and those in special situations - Everyone gets approved. I now feel that I am able to bridge the gap and offer what should have always been an accessible medical platform as it is preventative and curative.
I encourage people to give back in a way where you are honouring a system of inclusivity. This means informing yourself and choosing products that are made by women and BIPOC folks. I also urge insurance programs to offer plans that are flexible and transferable, where if you aren’t using your personal benefits you can offer them to someone in need.
In my stores I carry Wildcraft because they make amazing products, but also because they are focused on closing the gap in the wellness industry. I believe we all need to do business like this because true community wellness is the richest thing that we can give each other.
About Dr. Kate Hunter:
Dr. Kate Hunter is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Toronto and Creemore, ON, since 2012. She is the founder and owner of The Creemore Apothecary and The Toronto Apothecary. Her realized vision with the two locations is a place for complimentary wellness advice and exceptional wellness services. In her practice, Dr. Hunter uses Auricular & Bioenergetic Medicine to test the body to determine which systems are out of balance and then re-establishes the body’s ability to self-heal and auto-regulate. In her free time, Kate is happiest enjoying the outdoors with her husband and two kids. She is an avid runner, yoga student and skier.