ND Spotlight – Dr. Eric Arrata ND

ND Spotlight – Dr. Eric Arrata ND

Dr. Eric Arrata, ND, Elite Sport Performance, Calgary

Dr. Eric Arrata completed an undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary and worked at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal before moving to Seattle to study Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University.

“Since my early teens I knew that medicine was in my future and I’d be interested in maintaining health in the simplest ways possible. Most of this derives from the understanding that the body is self-correcting and connected to the larger natural world, though this understanding and awareness has largely been lost. A return to health then resides in our ability to remove the challenges to health that we’ve imposed, personally and societally. For the majority of people this is a simple, though not always easy, process. What we eat and drink, how we move and rest our bodies, our exposure to contaminants or toxins, and the health of our relationships all impact how vital and strong we are. So, at the end of the day, my clinical focus centers on lifestyle habits, emotional health, and identifying and removing known toxins or insults to the body.”

“My inspiration arises from being alive and becoming aware of the beauty and wisdom all around us. This may seem trivial or excessively dreamy, yet the truth is that things are always as they are and life isn’t complicated, just our understanding of it is. Knowing that we are all of nature and connected inspires me to aid others in being reminded of this. Then health can follow.”

For Dr. Arrata’s, the most rewarding aspect of his career as an ND is “having a patient arrive concerned about their pain, energy, digestion, mood or what have you, and then leave with a sense of how these symptoms relate to how they have lived their lives. This brings a smile to my face. I feel the saying “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” reflects what we do in our clinics daily. You provide people with a mirror and it’s up to them to accept the truth of the image or not.”

When it comes to work/life balance, Dr. Arrata feels that it is important as an ND to practice what you preach. “Teachings are most effective when they come from experience. One cannot know what it feels like to swim on a mountain stream until one has done so. So, in order to explore altering perspectives and changing one’s habits with patients, I should have had this experience myself. Early on in my career I discovered the things that support me and those that don’t, and I incorporated as many supporting factors as I could professionally and personally. These related to having a schedule that is never too busy, simplifying the various ways in which patients can reach me, maintaining boundaries around my cellphone and social media use, and remembering that family always comes first. I can’t really preach what I don’t practice.”

“Challenges are always plentiful in practice, yet the one that I most need to be aware of is not stretching my knowledge too thin. There are a great many areas of interest I have, that I often need to reel myself in to focus on a select few. I try to enhance those areas that are my “bread and butter” and leave topics that “stretch” the clinical envelope as smatterings, to keep things interesting. This has and likely always will be my greatest challenge since “connecting the dots” is a game I love.”

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.