Holiday Hours

This time of year is a busy one here at StoneTree Clinic. The holiday season is filled with joy and fun, but also with stress and illness and tummy troubles.

As a result, the clinic is open for business as usual, with a few exceptions below. If you need an IV for a cold, a colonic for a post-turkey detox, or you want to squeeze in a new patient visit before your benefits run, out give us a call and we’ll fit you in!

  • Thursday, Dec 24th – 9AM – 12PM
  • Friday, Dec 25th – CLOSED
  • Monday, Dec 28th – CLOSED
  • Tuesday, Dec 29th – 9AM-5PM
  • Wednesday, Dec 30th – 9AM -5PM
  • Thursday, Dec 31st – 9AM – 12PM
  • Friday, Jan 1st – CLOSED

Dealing with Holiday Sugar Cravings

This time of year the clinic is bustling. People are staying up late, drinking more and enjoying huge amounts of chocolate treats and Christmas baking. It can be a lot of fun, but it can also lead to tummy troubles, disturbed sleep and weakened immune systems—and more aches, pains, colds and flus as a result. It keeps us hopping at StoneTree.

Our tools are great for dealing with these issues–IV vitamin C for colds, colon hydrotherapy for tummy troubles and a many wonderful herbs and supplements to help improve sleep. But all those tools are really just dealing with the symptoms and not really getting to the root of things, which at this time of year is seriously increased sugar intake.

It’s hard to resist the egg nog, booze and sweet treats. To make the problem worse, the more you eat, the more you want, and the whole thing escalates in a fight to the finish for the last Turtle in the staff room. But if you can reduce your sugar intake a little, you can help your body stay in balance.

So what can you do to battle these Christmas time sugar cravings?

  • Don’t skip meals. The holiday season is ripe with skipping meals – we’re just too busy to eat. So we show up in the staff room at the end of the day and can’t help but eat half a dozen sugar cookies. Use a protein shake or fruit smoothie as a great, healthy option for eating on the run.
  • Don’t go to parties hungry. Have a big salad or bowl of soup or both before you got out and socialize. Filling your tummy with wonderful fiber and nutrition will leave less space to fill with crackers and sweet treats.
  • Eat protein. At least 1.0-1.6grams per kg of body weight per day. Therefore if you weigh 70 kg – that’s at least 70-112g.
  • Sleep. When we a tired we crave more sugar. Lack of sleep messes up our activity levels, our cravings, our appetite hormones and more. Skip that extra episode of your favourite show and head to bed a little earlier.

This holiday season, take a little time to take care of yourself. Your sugar cravings and your immune system will thank you for it!

Health Mysteries

“In the beginning, disease is difficult to recognize but easy to cure.
In the end, disease is easy to recognize but difficult to cure.”

– Franz Mesmer, German Physician

I love this quote. It’s a lesson for patients in the value of prevention and long term health thinking, but also a reminder to doctors of the importance of not shying away from the hard diagnostic work of challenging cases.

Challenging cases are something every doctor gets, and we see our share. Every week, new patients arrive at StoneTree with health care dilemmas. And while each patient’s symptoms might be vastly different, at the heart of many cases there’s a common theme: they feel awful but conventional medicine says there is nothing wrong with them.

These patients are often angry and frustrated. Their lab tests have come back not showing anything significant. They’re being told, “It’s all in your head.” They feel like they might be malingering hypochondriacs.

Of course, they’re not malingering hypochondriacs. Their body is in that first stage of disease that Mesmer is talking about, the stage where it is very difficult to identify a problem, particularly by standard tests that are geared toward diagnosing disease, not subtle imbalances. And that leaves patients with a problem: they have a health mystery that no one seems interested in solving except them.

Well…we like the mysteries. The great thing for many of these patients who end up in our office is that although recognizing what is wrong with them has been frustrating and difficult, the fix can often be much easier.

Dealing with nutritional deficiencies, low grade toxicities, food intolerances, hormone imbalances or immune system issues in the early stages reap huge rewards. People have more energy, and get better sleep. Their moods balance. Their immune systems, which seemed to be betraying them, now behave properly and their detox systems are not overrun.

There’s a prize for solving the mystery, and that’s a faster, easier return to health. That’s why we like the mysteries. As Mesmer suggests, a hard problem to solve beats a hard disease to cure.

Why Vitamin D Matters

If you lived in the northern latitudes of Europe during the industrial revolution, you’d have seen a common but unnerving sight: children with bowed legs and knock-knees, who looked almost “twisted”. That crooked appearance led to a label derived from an old English word for twist: rickets.

Back then, rickets was running rampant across parts of Europe, especially England and Scotland. Scientists were working on the problem—along the way they discovered solutions like cod liver oil—but it would take until the 1930’s before a deficiency of a newly discovered substance called Vitamin D would be clearly identified as the cause.

The Sunshine Vitamin
What scientists chasing a cure for rickets in the 1700’s and beyond didn’t realize was that the substance they were chasing, Vitamin D, was unique.

Cities in Europe during the industrial revolution had become large and heavily polluted. The combination of smog, and increasing amounts of time spent inside, had reduced people’s exposure to sunlight. And Vitamin D, we would eventually discover, is made from sunlight.

Unlike other vitamins, like vitamin C, which we get exclusively from our diet, vitamin D doesn’t occur in food in very high levels. We get the bulk of our vitamin D through exposure to sunlight—our bodies make it. It’s why you might have seen news articles touting the “return of rickets” because of our reduced sun exposure.

What Vitamin D Means for You
So why does vitamin D matter today? Vitamin D has many actions in the body. In fact there are receptors for it on every cell in your body. And while you’re not likely to suffer from rickets, low levels of Vitamin D are linked to a host of conditions ranging from psoriasis to thyroid conditions and osteoporosis.

For this darkening time of year, what might be most relevant is that researchers have linked low vitamin D with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

In our deficient patients at the clinic, an increased oral dose through the winter (or a trip to the sunny south) can make their symptoms a lot better. Vitamin D with the use of light therapy helps even more. You can read about our favourite light therapy tool in our January newsletter.

If you have concerns about SAD, or want to learn more about vitamin D testing and supplementation, you can contact the clinic at 705-444-5331.

It’s Immune Boosting Time!

Winter is almost here, and that means less light, less outdoor time and more time inside in recirculated air breathing each other’s germs. Add to that the Thanksgiving pie, Halloween candies and Christmas cookies and your immune system may not always get what it needs to fight the good fight and keep you healthy.

The team at StoneTree spends a lot of time taking care of our own immune systems to make sure we don’t miss of a day of caring for our patients. (And we rarely do!)

Here is what we do here at the clinic to keep our immune systems strong.

Eat right

We’ve said it before and we will say it again: eat foods that nature makes, not too much, and mostly plants.  The StoneTree team eats lots of big salads, green smoothies and fresh fruits. No time to make it yourself?  Check out the StoneTree juice at Press Juice Co!

Get lots of rest

The holiday season lends itself to burning the candle at both ends. Late nights partying, shopping, wrapping. Anxiety about gifts and family events. Eating too much and too late. It all interrupts sleep, or reduces it’s effectiveness. Do your best to get to bed as early as possible and give yourself lots of rest – especially if you feel a cold coming on.

Exercise (especially outside)

Moving your body means moving your blood. This is turn moves your immune system around making it strong and more able to respond to invaders.

Use Tools to Boost Your Immune System and Fight Infection

As naturopathic doctors, we’re exposed to sick people all the time. When we feel a tickle in the back of the throat we use our own tools to nip it in bud right away.

Herbs like echinacea, oregano, andrographis and vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin A and zinc, work to boost the immune system and kick out colds and flus. Intravenous Vitamin C for viral infections or once a month as a preventative and inhaled glutathione for coughs are also great tools.

Getting a good check up from your ND can help determine the best individual plan of attack to strengthen your immune system. Doing it before you get sick can help us help you stay that way!


In January 2002, in the shared office of a local chiropractor, I saw my very first patient as a Naturopathic Doctor. At the time, it seemed like every person I spoke to asked, “What’s a naturopathic doctor?”

A lot has changed since that cold January. One patient led to another. And then another. In 2003 we moved to the Erie Street Medical Building where we spent five years, and Dr. Shelby Worts joined the team. We also started offering intravenous vitamins and minerals, a treatment that was far less common then, but now has found mainstream exposure.

We grew again and moved to our present location, were we added hydrotherapy and two new team members at the front desk. Dr. Kendra Reid joined us three years ago and we recently welcomed our newest naturopathic doctor, Dr. Candice Soldaat.

It’s been a slow, steady, but more than anything rewarding process. Every time we grow, it means we’re helping more people feel better, and every year I think we get better at it. I’m thrilled to share that this week we celebrated the 5,000th patient at StoneTree Naturopathic Clinic.

Those 5,000 unique souls have brought more than their health challenges to us–they’ve brought us an opportunity to learn, to grow, and to do what we all became doctors to do in the first place: to care.

As we make plans for our next transition to our new clinic home, I want to thank you all for trusting us with your health, and that of your family, friends, and colleagues. It’s an honour. Thank you, too, to my amazing colleagues and team here at StoneTree—I don’t know how, or what, I’d do without you.

I often tell patients that health is a journey. It turns out that health care is, too. Thank you for being part of mine.

Yours in good health,

Tara Gignac, ND

Collaborating with Your MD Just Got Easier

For many years we’ve been ordering lab tests for patients. It’s a great way for you to have input into what tests you want, and how often—after all, when you pay for your own lab tests, you’re in charge. It also lets you request tests that simply aren’t available through OHIP, like serum levels of vitamin D, for example.

Some patients, however, still like to have some or all of their lab work done through their MD. In the past, we’d have to requisition those results from the MD—a process that was cumbersome for patients and doctors on both sides.

CC’s for Everyone!

Naturopathic Doctors are now regulated under the Regulated Health Care Practitioners Act. It’s the same act that regulates all health professionals in the province, from medical doctors and nurses, to physiotherapists, chiropractors, and more. And that means one more barrier to working together has been removed.

When you get a requisition for lab tests from your medical doctor, there is a section that says “copy to”. When your naturopathic doctor’s name is put in this section the lab results will automatically be copied to that ND. No more signing of “Release or Records” and waiting for results to arrive. The reverse is also true—when we add your MD’s name to the “copy to” field, your medical doctor receives a copy, too.

This is great for us because we get your labs faster, and great for your MD because they don’t have to deal with cumbersome release of record requests. Mostly, though, it’s great for you, the patient, beacuse you have more control over your health care information.

When ND’s were regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act if was more difficult for the professions to work together and share information. Collaborating just got easier!

Scar Therapy and Back Pain Relief

For fourteen years I’ve had low-grade low back pain. Not enough to really get in the way of my life, but enough to get me to the RMT now and then, and enough to keep me going to yoga regularly.

When it flares up, I always blame it on driving too much, sitting too much, not getting to yoga enough, not stretching enough, etc.

Until recently.

I was in the office of Dr. Jen Fawcett, DC, a chiropractor here in Collingwood, and we started discussing the use of Graston Technique for scar therapy.

Graston Technique employs the use of stainless steel tools to rub adhesions in the muscles and scars in the connective tissue to promote the healing and reintegration of the tissue. Dr. Jen said she used it a lot on post-surgical scars, and I told her I had a C-section scar, and that since the birth of my daughter I’d had a hard time building core strength. She suggested we treat the scar and see what happens.

Keep in mind, I hadn’t even told her about the back pain – it was something I had just come to accept as part of my everyday life. But several days after my first treatment, I was halfway through a yoga class and realized that my low back didn’t hurt when I stood up from a forward bend. Then I realized I had spent all weekend driving and my back didn’t hurt either. Then I realized I had been up and down out of my chair all day at the office and never moaned like an old lady once.

WOW! One treatment of a 14-year-old scar and a daily pain seemed to be magically gone. Since then, I have had two more treatments and my daily low back pain has not returned. I couldn’t be happier.

Do You Have a C-Section Scar?

Coincidentally, another Collingwood-based health care professional is doing a research study on the exact same issue.

One of our local RMT’s, Colin McArthur, is currently working towards becoming an osteopath. His senior research project is to study of effect of scar therapy for C-section scars on low back pain and range of motion.

Based on my experience, it was a no-brainer to help him spread the word.

If you are a women between 20 and 45 years old, have had a transverse C-section, or what’s called a bikini line scar, and NO other abdominal or back surgeries, are 12 months post-partum and NOT using an IUD and most importantly are experiencing low back pain or a decreased range of motion in your back, contact:

Colin McArthur

You may be eligible to be part of his study. In return, those who fit the study criteria will get free scar therapy, as well as a full osteopathic treatment at the end of the study period.

Well Woman Visit Dates for 2016

October is breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the leading type of cancer diagnosed in Canadian women—in 2015 alone, over 25,000 Canadian women will be diagnosed. Over 5,000 women will die of it this year.

Early detection of the disease has been responsible for a steady decline in the death rate from breast cancer. What’s even more important, however, is preventing it in the first place.

Our recent patient newsletter looked at some lifestyle risk factors for breast cancer–you can read it online here. (And you can sign up here.)

2016 Well Woman Days

As part of breast cancer awareness month, we’ve added our new Well Woman Visit dates for all of 2016. This unique service offers a warm, caring environment for annual visits that includes:

  • A complete breast exam
  • Self breast exam education
  • Full gynecological exam with PAP test

You can learn all about the service here. Dates for 2016 are:

  • Jan 18
  • Feb 29
  • April 4
  • May 16
  • June 27
  • Sept 12
  • Oct 24
  • Dec 5

It’s become a popular service at the clinic, and dates have been selling out. You can call us at 705-444-5331 to reserve a spot, or book online here.

New Evening and Early Morning Hours!

StoneTree Clinic welcomes our newest member to the team, Dr. Candice Soldaat, ND.

Candice completed a clinical placement at StoneTree in the early part of this year and has since written and passed her naturopathic board exams. She will be joining the team here at StoneTree on November 2, and brings a keen interest in helping patients with hormone imbalances and infertility.

For all of you who would prefer evening and early morning hours, or for those friends and family you have been trying to refer who work out of town or can’t get time off, Candice is looking forward to seeing them on Mondays and Fridays.

Her hours are:





To book your slot, call the clinic at 705-444-5331 or email–we know they’ll fill up fast!