Frequently Asked Questions


Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat do you wish to know about Naturopathic Medicine? We answer the most Frequently Asked Questions that we have received – here:
There are many ‘naturopaths’ and acupuncturists out there. What qualifications do you have to practice?

With respect specifically to Naturopathic Doctors and Acupuncturists in British Columbia, you need stringent licensing in order to legally practice in British Columbia. An ND can call themselves Naturopathic Doctors/Physicians or Naturopa
ths, and therefore use the initials ND. Also, Naturopathic Physicians in British Columbia are regulated much like a Medical Doctors (MD) are. ND’s are governed by the CNPBC (College of Naturopathic Physicians in British Columbia). The primary mission of the CNPBC is “to provide safe and ethical standards of professional practice amongst naturopathic physicians in BC”.

An acupuncturist in British Columbia must be a licensed Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) in order to legally needle and treat anyone. Registered Acupuncturists are regulated by the CTCMA (College of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturists). An ND with additional training in Acupuncture and the passing of successful Board exams, can hold the title of Board-Certified Acupuncturist. In order to legally practice any of these modalities in British Columbia, you must be not only licensed but be in good standing with the appropriate regulatory bodies. Dr. Olena has held the title of R.Ac. for over 12 years and had a successful acupuncture practice for many years, long before returning to medical school. For more detailed numbers around years of training, please refer to our Naturopathic Physician page.

I’ve never had an Acupuncture treatment before. What can I expect?

Your first visit will last about 60-70 min which is part of the 1st visit Naturopathic consult. Dr. Olena will ask you numerous questions about your overall health. There are Initial intake forms on our site (above) which you can download and have ready for your first visit. It is integral to know everything about your health in detail, in order for us to get the most comprehensive picture about you and therefore to formulate the best treatment plan for you. Your first visit will cover all your health systems (GI, food, sleep, medications, supplements, previous illness, family history etc.) and will include a basic non-invasive physical exam (eyes, nose, ears, throat, reflexes, vitals, etc.) An acupuncture treatment will follow which may last up to about 30 min. We may also include a dietary plan / modifications to best suit your condition.

Is Acupuncture safe?

Yes. Very much so. It is an all-natural drug-free mode of therapy, with virtually no side effects. Most people report feelings of relaxation and stress relief, due to the needles stimulating the body’s own natural endorphins. Many people have fallen asleep on my table, and come specifically in order achieve this feeling of well being.

Is a Naturopath the same as a Homeopath?

Let’s clarify this question. Homeopathy is a modality that is included under Naturopathic medicine training, however, equally can be a stand alone credential. A homeopath or homeopathic practitioner is one who typically focuses only on using this energetic modality as their primary mode of treatment. Naturopathic training has a broader scope of practice, of which employing homeopathy can be a part of. Naturopaths can differentially diagnose, do lab testing, can refer out in cases of emergency, as well as utilizing other modalities like acupuncture, botanical or herbal medicine, nutrition and physical medicine.

Are Naturopathic Medical treatments and/or Acupuncture included under MSP (Medical Services Plan)?

No. At this time, Acupuncture is not officially part of the core MSP options, unlike MDs whose visits you do not pay for when you show up for your visit. However, it is included under Extended Health plans, of which vary across the province and therefore you can get reimbursed from your specific insurance provider. For MSP, Dr. Gill has opted out, which means you need to submit your receipts for reimbursement. For extended health plans, we do offer direct patient billing to over10 different insurers, including Blue Cross, for your convenience. Be sure to let Dr. Olena know at the time of your first visit whether you have supplemental insurance.

Do I need a referral to see either a Naturopathic Physician or Acupuncturist?

No. You do not need a referral. You can simply book an appointment at our offices either by clicking the button on the top right corner, or contacting us HERE.

Your fees seem high to me. Why do you charge what you do?

There are many factors when deciding what fees to set for our services. First, we are medical professionals, trained over 4-5 years of medical school, along with a prior 4 years of post-secondary education. As we are physicians, we are also stringently regulated by a professional board, the CNPBC, CAND, and BCNA. BCNA suggests fee ranges for the various services we provide, ranging from initial visits to followups. And their recommendations are based on a number of factors such as licensing fees, insurance, rents for practice and others. Because Naturopathic Medicine is under privatized health care, that means our costs of service are transparent. Dr. Gill’s fees are not only in accordance with BCNA suggested fee ranges, but at this time fall into the middle to low end of the ranges, as we believe that having good affordable medical care is everyone’s right.

Let’s also put this into another perspective, and compare apples to apples.  If you saw other health care professionals, such as a chiropractor, conventional medical doctor, your costs would actually be a lot more. Although you pay nothing upfront when you see your MD, the costs are still billed at specific rates, via the money you pay into MSP and through your taxes. The only difference is that you don’t see that at the time of your visit with an MD. Here’s a brief overview of some cost per hourly breakdowns via other medical practitioners..

Chiropractor 15 min visit – $50     (At 4 people per hour that equates to $200 billed per hour)
Medical doctor 10 min visit – $40   (At 6 people per hour that equates to $240 billed per hour)
Naturopathic doctor 60 min visit – $140-200  (At 1 person in one hour equating to $140-200)

I hope this puts things a little more into perspective, cost-wise and why our fees are the way they are.