Should we get tax breaks for staying healthy – and out of the doctor’s office?

As I write this column, I’m basking in the afterglow of a great acupuncture treatment that brought relief from back pain and mental strain. It was painful and intensive, with at least 50 needles inserted from head to toe along my congested meridians. Having been the recipient of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 20 years, I can honestly say that if it weren’t for acupuncture, along with high octane nutrition and herbs from east and west, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here at all. Being a workaholic who pushes herself beyond the normal limits of endurance almost daily, I likely would have succumbed to some stress-related disease a long time ago if it wasn’t for the powerful therapies that recharge my batteries and prop me up time and again.

Likewise, the staff in our office have experienced great benefits at the hands of their own natural health practitioners – from homeopaths to naturopaths to integrative physicians. So it is truly a pleasure for us to bring you the natural health solutions inside each new issue of Vitality. This month, once again, the magazine brims with the latest news, research, and commentary from top writers across the country who are experts in their respective fields. Their stories will fascinate, inspire, and inform you on the many choices available in natural health care.

One side effect of my own good health is that I haven’t cost Ontario taxpayers a dime in decades. Why? Because I don’t need medication, don’t have a doctor, and  haven’t been to a hospital in years. Being free of the diseases that commonly afflict mature women like myself, I pose no burden on the health care system. So I’m thinking that maybe I deserve some tax breaks. In his feature this month, Dr. Rona has much to say on the subject of tax deductibility for natural health products, something that would greatly benefit folks like me who have taken health care into their own hands.   In fact, there are many of us who would appreciate tax deductible status for all of the products and services that help us prevent disease, which would ultimately be cheaper for the taxpayers than the current system of government-subsidized disease management that requires paying for expensive medications and surgeries needed after people get sick.

On the subject of disease prevention, I’d like to extend congratulations to the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine which has just opened the first hospital-based naturopathic clinic in Canada – The Brampton Naturopathic Teaching Clinic. This spring, the provincial government is poised to grant naturopaths permission to expand their scope of practice by prescribing medications and ordering lab tests. According to a Feb. 25 article in The Globe and Mail, “Those who support expanding the scope of practice say Canadian naturopaths… can help alleviate the burden of chronic, lifestyle-related diseases using natural techniques such as dietary advice, vitamin treatments, herbs, teas, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, water therapy and homeopathy, among others.” See: We wish them all the best with this new venture.

If you wish to comment on the question of whether we deserve tax breaks for staying healthy, feel free to post your views in the comments section below.   We love to hear from you. Julia Woodford, Editor