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'All-in-one' clinic approach looks make healthy living easier for Ottawans

Midweek Mugging: In opening 'This is Healthful,' Cheryl Mason wanted to eliminate barriers for those looking to be healthy.
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The founder of a Kanata clinic that acts as an 'all-in-one' stop for health and wellness practioners hopes to make it easier for patients to address multiple areas of their health and promote healthy living. 

Cheryl Mason, founder and owner at 'This is Healthful,' opened the clinic nearly two years ago after working several years as a personal trainer in the hopes of addressing issues she witnessed clients having in the health care system. 

"I constantly saw a plateau or a wall with my clients that were ready to dabble in...other areas of health or needed assistance in other areas of health," Mason said, noting long waits or the leg work needed to connect to someone like a dietician or occupational therapist or a nurse. 

"Just being frustrated with the system that I could only get my clients so far and when I reached out for support for them, it was again, pricey and time-consuming."

Mason said these were barriers to their success and often left them feeling "like they're only addressing urgent and reactive needs." 

Mason thought being able to offer a number of services in-house would remove barriers for clients seeking to stick with their own health goals, so she assembled a team to do it.

The team includes a recently added family physician, nurses, physiotherapists, kinesiologists, dietitians, fitness consultants, occupational therapists, social workers and psychotherapists, all in the same building. 

A membership offers up access to the whole team, along with an initial consultation, but also unlimited health consultations which can be done in person, video chat or by phone.  

Mason stressed clients don't need to use all of the services at their disposal, but they let clients know about other options available to sustain their "four pillars" of a healthy lifestyle: essential eating, physical activity, mental hygiene and healthy habits.

She said the familiarity hopefully leads to addressing other areas that may need attention.

"It's just such an easy transition without feeling like you're finding a whole new family." 

Mason said people usually only worry about health when things are bad, but a focus on preventative care, like her clinic's focus, would save the health-care system millions.  

"It would be huge relief on our tax dollars...and I would say about 80 per cent of that is in reactive care," Mason said. 

"It's not necessarily the health care system's fault, there's just so many people in need in that reactive stage that they have to put all of their funds to that direction. I wish there was more effort on preventative measures and it's only Doctor's on focusing on that."

For example, she said she's had patients with a complete abdominal tear but OHIP won't cover their stitching until they have hernia. 

"It's ridiculous," she said. "You shouldn't have to wait until you're in pain to get the care you need." 

The success so far, according to Mason, is only because of the team's focus on client care. 

"It has really blown in to what it is because of this team, because it's so passionate about preventative measures and taking the time to talk to each other to make sure the client's best interest is being served," Mason said. 

On top of services, Mason said education and access to proper material for clients that are striving to achieve their health goals is also a big part of what they do, including offering custom workshops for personal and corporate clients. 

While she does see an expansion to other parts of the city on the horizon, Mason said for now the focus remains on the 5,550 square-foot Robertson Road Clinic. 

Those looking for services and other information can head to the clinic's website. 




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