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.