TIFF: Meet Toronto's Dr. Feelgood

Courtesy of The Dempster Clinic
Dr. John Dempster

Frantic festival attendees (including stars) look to Dr. John Dempster to get back in shape.

Dr. John Dempster describes himself as licensed naturopathic doctor, but the medical director/founder of Toronto’s The Dempster Clinic could shorten his title to a more simple moniker: Dr. Feelgood.

For almost a decade, his medical outpost in the Yorkville neighborhood at 97 Scollard St., has been a hot spot for locals (and patients who fly in from 24 countries) in search of alternative treatments (Dempster Clinic offers hormone balancing, customized detox and personalized nutrition plans among other functional medical services).

But there’s another marquee offering on Dempster’s menu that generates buzz during TIFF and amongst the A-list set – intravenous vitamin therapy. Patients pay anywhere from $150-$200 for nearly hour-long IV vitamin treatments administered in a lounge-like space (private suites and bonus liver flushes are also available).

IV vitamin therapy has been trendy in celeb circles for several years now (Rihanna and Madonna are fans) and athletes even longer, many of whom hook up to heal after a hard partying spell. But don’t ask Dempster to peep his client list. “I can’t disclose names but I do treat A-listers,” Dempster tells THR, adding that his calendar is booked weeks out, though he does make last-minute accommodations for notable names, naturally. “I get a lot of calls from frantic assistants with interesting requests during the festival, but we’re so busy now that I can’t show up at hotel rooms at 4 a.m. anymore.”

Speaking of declining invitations, Dempster also tells THR he passed on an offer from a female pop star to join her on the road as her tour doctor. He did, however, say yes to helping an actor who was in such bad shape after a night of partying that he had to be helped up the stairs by two assistants during a recent TIFF. Once the treatment was over, Dempster says the patient was running down the stairs on his own.

And despite critics who argue that it's best to obtain vitamins the old-fashioned way, Dempster counters that his treatments are solid and offer a healthy alternative.

“We don’t condone anyone’s bad habits, we’re just here to help patients get from point A to B,” Dempster says. “TIFF wears on people, especially if they go out pretty hard. We just help everyone weather the social storm to be the best they can be.”