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a special information feature brought to you by the canadian health food association

Natural Health Products Week presents a great opportunity for making an effort to shift to healthier lifestyle options.

From November 4 to 10, Canadians across the country will be celebrating Natural Health Products Week.

"This annual event shines a spotlight on the importance of natural health products and is a great opportunity to evaluate our current health regime," says Helen Sherrard, president of the Canadian Health Food Association, an organization that represents the natural health industry. "Many of us will be inspired to look for ways to improve our well-being through diet, lifestyle choices, exercise and supplementation."

To celebrate Natural Health Products Week, CHFA is challenging families to make these three simple, natural changes that can have a positive impact:

Enjoy more whole foods
Convenience is entrenched in the modern lifestyle, which often means grabbing fast, processed food and snacks. However, it's just as convenient to eat whole foods, and a much healthier option. Whole foods are typically unprocessed or unrefined. Nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables are good examples of healthy ready-to-eat foods.

quote.png"This annual event shines a spotlight on the importance of natural health products and is a great opportunity to evaluate our current health regime."

Helen Sherrard - is president of the Canadian Health Food Association

Learn which natural health options improve your health
Stop by your local health food retailer where knowledgeable staff can share helpful information and health tips with you. While there, you can celebrate Natural Health Products Week by participating in draws for prizes, enjoying a sample taste test or picking up natural health items you need.

Go organic
Certified organic foods have been grown and handled according to strict procedures in an environmentally responsible way and without persistent toxic chemical inputs. While exploring organic options, check out other products from clothing to cleaners that are also free of toxic chemicals and much kinder to the environment.

"We want Canadians to make small changes that will benefit their health and that of their families," Ms. Sherrard explains. These three simple steps can provide a great foundation for shifting to a healthier lifestyle and for choosing environmentally friendly options. Start making healthier choices during Natural Health Products Week, but don't stop there – make those habits an ongoing part of your family's routine.

More information, including the locations of health food retailers in your community, can be found online at


Integration of traditional therapies and conventional medicine a growing trend

The patient was looking for relief from the significant chronic pain in her arm and hand on one side that she had developed after a stroke. Specialists recently referred her to the North Shore Wellness Centre in North Vancouver for a consultation with Brad Matthews, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

“Her neurologists suggested acupuncture would be a good adjunctive therapy to occupational therapy and physiotherapy,” says Dr. Matthews. “These types of referrals are on the rise, and we’re seeing more integration of conventional Western medicine and complementary therapies.”

Dr. Matthews uses acupuncture, herbal remedies and other forms of TCM to treat sports injuries and chronic pain, and to help people manage such conditions as insomnia, headaches, digestive problems, stress and anxiety. Many patients also come to him for immune-boosting treatments to help prevent colds and flu.

“The conventional medical community is increasingly recognizing the value of complementary therapies such as TCM and naturopathy,” he says. “Even if they can’t always explain why, they see the benefits of these ancient therapies for many conditions. All practitioners share the goal of helping our patients to heal.”

Another sign that TCM is becoming “mainstream” is expanded regulation of this area of medicine. British Columbia established the country’s first College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of B.C. in 2001, and Ontario created Canada’s second TCM college in April 2013. Several other provinces regulate acupuncture, and national regulatory standards are under development.