Change is in the air. There’s a new movement in how Canadians are choosing to take control of their health. It’s a shift away from traditional medicine alone, which treats illness based on symptoms, and towards a more holistic approach, which also includes alternative therapies to promote wellness.1
Traditional medicine is symptoms-based. It treats the patient to alleviate symptoms once they present or are discovered in diagnostic or screening tests. Though historically many traditional practitioners have been resistant to alternative therapies, that is changing as more Canadians are making their own choices, and incorporating alternative, wellness- based therapies as a complement to their traditional medical regimen.2
Cause first, symptoms later
Alternative therapies by contrast, seek to treat the root cause rather than just the symptoms. Some of the more popular alternative therapies include massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, podiatry, physiotherapy and psychology.3
Without insurance, these alternative therapies can be costly, and simply not affordable for many people.
Manulife’s Flexcare® Health and Dental Plans can be a great solution for anyone incorporating wellness-based approaches in their health regimen. In addition to coverage for things such as prescription drugs, dental work and eyeglasses, these plans can also provide coverage for extended services, which includes many
of the above alternative therapies. This could save you hundreds of dollars a year.
Health and Dental Plans like Flexcare can help offset the cost of wellness therapies, allowing more Canadians to add them to their traditional health routine.
What's driving this trend?
There are a number of potential reasons for this uptake in alternative therapies.
- Unsatisfactory results. Some people may turn to alternative therapies after having pursued a traditional medical approach, which did not provide a satisfactory result.
- Growing awareness of the long-term effects of putting foreign chemicals into our bodies. In recent decades, many illnesses including cancer have been linked to the use of pharmaceutical drugs. As a result, many people are more cautious about using them.4
- Avoiding surgery. Some people may seek alternative therapies as a way to avoid surgeries, which may be risky, have long-term effects on the body and may have complications.
- Surgical recovery. Some patients use alternative therapies such as physiotherapy to accelerate their recovery from a surgical procedure such as a knee or hip replacement, or to strengthen their bodies prior to surgery.
- An aging population. Our population in Canada is aging, and this typically involves increased body aches and pains. Many of these complaints can be addressed by alternative therapies.
- The computer generation. The very technology which now permeates our lives comes at a price: a range of computer-related muscular and soft tissue aches and pains. Some sufferers seek relief through alternative therapies, which can be effective.5
- Patient time. Alternative service providers may offer extensive availability, long appointment sessions, and can spend more time with patients.
- Patient as participant. One of the principles of alternative therapies is that the patient plays a more active vs. passive role in their wellness, and partners with the alternative health care practitioner to make decisions.
- You don’t have to choose. Many Canadians see clear value in traditional medicine, but seek out alternative therapies to help supplement traditional medicines and therapy. This is part of a new, complementary and more holistic approach.
- Less side effects. Proponents of alternative therapies say there is less risk of side effects than traditional drugs or surgery.6
Having Flexcare Health and Dental coverage from Manulife can help protect you and your family by covering the cost of many alternative services that may not be covered by private or group plans. The following are some of the services covered by Flexcare Health and Dental plans.
What’s covered with Flexcare health and dental plans?
Registered massage therapy manipulates soft tissue to alleviate muscle pain and tension and improve circulation and relaxation.
Chiropractic focuses on improving spinal alignment through adjustments, to address a myriad of muscular complaints.
Physiotherapy improves fitness, strength and healing with various exercises and movements.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique, in which ne needles are inserted into the skin to relieve pain.
Podiatry focuses on the treatment of the foot and ankle to improve balance and alleviate pain, using custom shoe inserts called orthotics.
Naturopaths and Osteopaths focus on activating the body’s own natural powers of healing.
Psychologists work with patients to uncover and address the issues that cause people to think or feel a certain way.
Speech Therapists offer training to correct communication impediments such as stuttering, lisping and more.
This article is part of a continuing series of informational articles about the issues impacting health care in Canada. Manulife offers a range of insurance and banking products to meet the changing needs of Canadians, including Health & Dental coverage.
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