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Our Clinic

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

-Albert Einstein

Why does IBFM exist?

The Institute for Behavioural & Functional Medicine is committed to providing long-time sufferers of ailments in Ontario recognized and proven alternative treatments to medication in the most accessible and cost-effective way possible.

How does IBFM do this?

IBFMed.ca provides virtual CBT, group counselling, mindfulness, and other therapy-based treatments from licensed MDs, occupational therapists, and psychotherapists to support those suffering from insomnia, headaches, and fatigue who don’t want to rely on medication or solely on medication.

IBFM's key strengths

For those who want to read more about us and our treatments

Training vs Treating

  • Medical doctors in Ontario mostly focus on “treating” conditions with medication (i.e., pharmacotherapy) and generally do not spend much time on “training” patients’ physiology in correcting conditions.  
  • Training your physiology refers to training your body to work better.  
  • IBFM focuses on the “training physiology” side of treatment mostly through offering MD-delivered, OHIP-Funded Virtual Group Counselling Sessions.  
  • Training is important because many medical conditions are not best treated with medication. 
  • Patients with common medical conditions like fatigue, insomnia and chronic headache are generally best treated through upgrading their physiology. 
  • Even for conditions that are treated fairly well with medication – like hypertension – patients can train their physiology to reduce reliance on medication. 

 

Example

  • In our Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) Group Counselling sessions, our doctors train patients to improve their sleep physiology rather than allowing them to have abnormal sleep physiology and giving sleeping pills to put them to sleep.   CBT-i is the most effective treatment approach and is first-line, grade A treatment for insomnia. 
  • The benefits to this approach are realized in both the short-term and long-term (even long after you stopped attending training sessions). 
  • CBT-i, for example, does not only help sleep, but will generalize to other aspects of your health as you are investing in a physiology upgrade. 

 

Scope of Physiological Training

Like that, you can learn to train your physiology to provide more energy, to crowd headache out of your daily experience, to reduce your blood pressure, etc.  This is done by addressing conditions at their neurophysiological root, without overrelying on the medical system or medication.  IBFMed.ca provides access to effective and evidence-based behavioural & functional interventions for common health conditions that are relatively under treated. 

When we make recommendations to train patients’ physiology without using medication, they are called behavioural and lifestyle treatments.  Functional treatments basically refers to any treatment that works (for whatever reason). 

So, for example, in patients with high blood pressure, reducing the intake of salt helps reduce blood pressure.  This is a functional approach.  That is, salt does not cause high blood pressure, but in hypertension patients reducing salt intake improves their blood pressure.

Patients suffering with conditions like chronic headache, insomnia, fatigue are often the least satisfied with the results they receive from the current medical system.  Many of them face intolerable side effects to medication while receiving limited benefit.  Often times these patients are looking  for direction; many lose hope that they are beyond help.  Fortunately, this is not the case.  Many accepted gold standard therapies (receive Grade A evidence and/or have been unanimously accepted by medical doctors as such, even by those that treat these conditions principally with medication!) exist but  are not easily accessible in our current health care system.  

For example, insomnia is a major health issue with significant consequences.  It affects 10% of the population.  The gold standard treatment is Cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) for excellent short term and long-term success in 80% of patients.  All medical professionals also know that CBT-i is the most effective treatment for insomnia.  However, most medical doctors give patients sleeping pills for insomnia. 

Behavioural and functional treatments focus on retraining your physiology in rectifying your condition.  Often times it simply involves reestablishing habits and patterns first set during normal human development (usually in childhood).  Other times, we evaluate fluctuations in patients’ conditions and then reinforce outcomes of which we want to see more using various strategies.  

Current challenges that patients and providers face in accessing this kind of care include:

  • Lack of training/skills in gold standard treatments
  • Short (i.e., 5-10 minute) appointment times with doctors
  • Doctors often feel the pressure/are expected to prescribe something
  • Limited access to a primary care provider
  • Long wait times for specialist appointments and follow-up
  • Overreliance on medication to treat all conditions
  • “Managing” rather than “curing” chronic medical issues
  • Expensive medical costs
  • Lack of communication between  providers
  • Geographical barriers to accessing care
  • Loss of income due to time off work for attending medical appointments/receiving care
  • Patients will generally be asked to keep a log of their condition over the next week and then book a follow-up with the MD.
  • If recommended, you will then be offered to join the next Group Counselling section that was recommended for you.  There are some associated costs and materials that OHIP does not cover.
  • Upon successfully registering for the Group Counselling section, you will join the Group Counselling section ever week at the scheduled time virtually by going to our “Virtual Room” page and clicking on the button “Virtual Room”.
    • Please not that according to OHIP regulations, these appointments must be held over video.
    • Please learn about how to join a zoom event here.
    • Please be aware of our policies on missed or late cancellation appointments and late arrivals to appointments by reviewing them here.

Currently, as of June 2024, we have detailed protocols that we can deliver virtually under OHIP to patients with insomnia (CBT-i), fatigue (Energy management), chronic and headache (Several streams of therapy).  We also have a guidance for the management of  lower back pain, hypertension and post-concussion syndrome.  We aim to continually add more conditions to our offerings over time.

  • Some patients prefer to work one-on-one with a health care provider rather than in a group format.

Holistic approach

Most health care providers focus either on “physical health” or “psychological health”.  However, neuropsychologically-speaking, this division is not real.  That is, our brains do not separate “physical” and “psychological”; but rather, they are two-sides of the same coin.  Our program is focused on training conditions considered to be “physical” with “psychological” and “physiological” treatments.  This is almost not done currently although there is a lot of medical evidence to validate this approach.  We aim to continue expanding on the conditions we address with this approach.  Our goal is to have you rely on the medical system less, and yourself more.

 

MD-based program delivery

Medical doctors are uniquely able to understand how physiological systems work together, how hundreds of diseases affect your physiology, and how they are affected by medication.  As such, they are relied upon as the leading healthcare providers in keeping patients safe.  That is, medical doctors will intimately understand your situation with a wider perspective.  Giving patients access to medical doctors skilled in traditional medicine and behavioural and functional approaches is a huge asset.

 

Group counselling options

Because of the MD-delivered, OHIP-Funded Virtual Group Counselling Sessions, IBFM can serve more of the population with minimal providers, helping in maintaining high quality standards.  It also allows IBFM to keep wait times short while not compromising on the deliverance of the same grade A treatments.   Because these sessions are delivered by MDs, they are funded by OHIP and accessible virtually from anywhere in Ontario.  This will make these treatments accessible to many who otherwise would not have had the financial means or would not have been situated geographically near clinics that offer these services. 

 

Grade A treatments & hard to source treatments

We provide to patients grade A treatments (i.e., CBT-i) that normally costs thousands of dollars with psychologists for a fraction of the price – just charging for the initial consult with the Nurse Practitioner and for the Group Counselling Sessions manuals.  We also provide treatments that many patients can’t find in Ontario (i.e., Energy management, functional management of chronic headache).