ND of the Month – April 2020

ND of the Month – April 2020

Dr. Briana Botsford, ND and Ironman Triathlete, graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and attained additional certifications as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Yoga Teacher.


“The area of medicine that interests me most is performance medicine. My passion lies in helping people address their health concerns so that they have the ability to perform at a high level, whether that means performing in high level athletics or performing in life in general. When athletes get sick or injured and consult with a medical professional, most athletes are told to simply “stop training and get some rest”. I try to give people more options and take a different approach, I focus on helping athletes and active individuals get well while they continue with their training. Another passion of mine is women’s health, so I also focus on resolving women’s health issues, such as painful periods, that are preventing them from being active. I like to help women get well so that they are able to train at their desired level.”

I like to live by the motto: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”. – George Bernard Shaw

For me this means you have to develop as an individual and you have the power to create and manifest what you want your life to look like.”

“My personal mantra is: “Brain. Body. Business.” What does this look like for me on a daily basis? Meditation and journaling, nutrition and exercise, as well as working on and in business. The first two (brain and body) need to be in place before the third (business) can become a priority.”

“A typical day for me starts off early with journaling and going to the pool or hopping on my bike to train. Then I’m in the office seeing patients for 8-9 hours. I come home and have dinner with husband and my cats, and occasionally I will go out to speak at events, such as the Running Room or the teachers’ convention.”

“I currently practice at Green Apple Health Care in Edmonton, however, I found moving to Edmonton from Toronto quite challenging at first. Initially, my husband still lived in Toronto and I didn’t know anyone in Edmonton. I struggled during this initial adjustment period, but I overcame it by making a conscious choice to make it work, put myself out there, build friendships and connections.”

“The most rewarding aspect of my career is seeing patients heal. It fills me with joy when I no longer have to see someone on a regular basis, and they are achieving whatever they want in life. That really excites me! For example, I had a patient who was able to run the Death Race solo. I am happy when I can assist people in reaching their goals, regardless of how small or large they are. Another aspect that I find really rewarding is having the ability to provide a space for people to be vulnerable, allowing them to open up, to cry if they need to, and to just be themselves.”

Adapted from a phone interview conducted by Annick Meckes on March 13 th , 2020.


ND of the Month – March 2020

ND of the Month – March 2020

Dr. Garry Schafer, ND, Vital Health Naturopathic Clinic, Sherwood Park

This month we are featuring Dr. Gary Schafer, ND a Naturopathic Doctor who has been practicing for 40 years. He is currently practicing at Vital Health Naturopathic Clinic in Sherwood Park.

Dr. Garry Schafer, ND graduated from The National University of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, and has been in practice for over 40 years. “For me, the most important aspect of practicing medicine lies in understanding how to apply the vast amount of evidence-based knowledge to the individual patient. Research only applies to a percentage of people, so how do we apply knowledge to the individual? Since evidence-based medicine has no system, it doesn’t necessarily apply to any individual, and for this reason, doctors turn to systems such as acupuncture, homeopathy, TCM, and kinesiology for guidance. My greatest obstacle throughout my career has been finding a system. For 13 years I feared people coming into my practice and not being able to find an answer. My main piece of advice for other medical practitioners is to find a system that works for you; without a system, we are left guessing. My preferred system is Electrodiagnostics, however, other health practitioner may find another system that works better for them. I have found that many doctors struggle, especially when they are fresh out of school, as they believe that if they fill their heads with more information, then they will have the answers. Yet, more information does not always solve the problem; I believe systemic categorization of knowledge and skills is most important.”

“What inspires me most are my philosophical life understanding of nature and holism, as well as my dad’s experience with cancer. I started off studying philosophical sciences and later sought out education in the physical sciences, including massage and natural medicine. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer at a very young age. After being sent home to die because the medical profession had nothing else to offer him, he continued to study and work with natural healers. By continually working on himself, he managed to live another 46 years after he was originally sent home to die. This motivated me to pursue an answer to the question: “How can we activate the healing from within?” This is the approach I now take in my practice; the tools themselves, whether acupuncture or any other modality, don’t matter as much.”

“My personal mantra is that I am a servant of the Divine; what can I do every day to be as clear in my intentions as I can? I like to come into my office around 7am every day to do some reading and studying. This meditative time helps me get calm, connect with the Divine, and get ready for whoever needs help that day.”

“I’ve found the difference between a good doctor and an excellent doctor to lie in having practiced long enough to treat four generations or more in the same family. This is one of my biggest achievements, having worked with four generations in about half a dozen families throughout the years. I find it enlightening to see how naturopathic theories carry on from generation to generation. It is truly amazing to see how generation after generation comes back. I once had a young patient who died of brain cancer. The mother took her child’s death very hard. I put his picture up in my office. Many years later, a woman struggling to conceive walked into my office, noticed the picture and shared that the child in the picture had been her younger brother. The woman managed to become pregnant and was able to bring a new child into this world. Finally, after many years of sorrow, the grandmother who had lost her child to brain cancer a long time ago had a new grandson to love and care for. I find stories like these truly amazing.”

Adapted from a phone interview conducted by Annick Meckes on Feb 13th, 2020 If you would like to be apart of our membership spotlight or have an ND you would like to nominate, please email associationalberta@gmail.com.