Garrett Swetlikoff, ND
Kelowna Naturopathic Clinic
Garrett Swetlikoff, ND, is a pioneer of the naturopathic profession in Canada. Among the first licensed ND’s in British Columbia, Garrett has become renown as an individual who likes to push the profession to its deserved heights, blazing a path that hundreds of others have had the good fortune to follow. This passion for progress is identified in many areas of Garrett’s life and practice. Politically, Garrett has worked tirelessly to help secure scope of practice recognition as well as the prescription rights ND’s in British Columbia are presently enjoying. He served as the President of the BCNA between 1999 and 2007, and also served on the Pharmacy Committee of British Columbia, the Scope of Practice Committee, and acted as a liaison with the British Columbia colleges of acupuncture and TCM. Clinically, Garrett pushes the envelop of therapeutics to deliver safe, effective, and often novel therapies to his patients.
Garrett has coined a phrase that helps create an important differentiation in systems of naturopathic practice; “interventional natural medicine”. While an eclectic, whole- body approach, which he too employs, works for many presenting patient concerns, Garrett felt this traditional naturopathic model often failed to deliver prompt and effective treatment for acute, progressed pathologies. The more traditional naturopathic strategies may be effective for long- term management of these presentations, but a more robust, directed, and specific style of intervention is required for quick and clinically important symptom management of several common acute pathologies.
While the Kelowna Naturopathic Clinic has successfully utilized traditional eclectic strategies, it is the interventional techniques that have established a unique reputation in the community and surrounding areas. Garrett believes IV and injection therapeutics are the tools of choice for application of interventional medicine. His facility employs all of the following; prolotherapy, ozone/photo oxidation, hydrogen peroxide infusions, Myer’s cocktails, amino acid injections, etc… Garrett describes an 18-month internship with Dr Craig Wagstaff, where he learned early principles of neural therapy (injection of anesthetic and other agents into scars, tendons, ligaments, nerve ganglia in an effort to reset the autonomic nervous system) as a key moment in developing his interest in application of injection therapies. As such, the facility has built a reputation as a centre for such treatments, resulting in secondary referrals from other ND’s wishing to have the strategies employed on their patients.
The clinic remains true to naturopathic roots of eclectic assessment and treatment strategies. The goal of interventional strategies is often to transition patients into more long- term prevention models of care. The clinic has developed an impressive offering of integrative assessment tools. Most impressively, Garrett offers the Cardiovision assessment tool, which allows for assessment of flow mediated dilatation of the brachial artery. This strategy has been the focus of much recent research attention, and was applied by investigators during the construction of the Framingham algorithm. The clinic also offers assessment of heart rate variability, blood viscosity/ platelet aggregation, food IgG/ IgA sensitivity panels, electrodermal screening, complete stool analysis, breast and whole body thermography, redox, PH and resistivity of blood, urine, and saliva, and a wide array of standard blood tests and tumour markers.
The clinic has also employed a unique strategy in terms of dispensary management. Often, from a practice management perspective, clinicians are encouraged to limit the number of companies they order products from. Garrett has adopted quite an opposite approach, and the basis is obvious and simple; while each company may have several hundred product offerings, there are typically three to five products that distinguish the company from others. A handful of key products deliver phenomenal efficacy, and a massive product line ends up being built around this small selection of truly novel and effective offerings. Garrett chooses to identify each company’s unique and important offerings, and carries these. As such, the Kelowna Naturopathic Clinic dispensary carries offerings from over 80 different companies! The strategy may cause an increase in administrative duties, but the rewards grossly outweigh the inconvenience.
The naturopathic profession has been on a path of exponential growth for several years, possibly decades. Often we hear mentors of the profession questioning the strategies employed by the newer graduates. Some of the professions elders have expressed a concern over loss of traditional systems of practice. Garrett provided a fresh and reassuring view on the topic. Garrett feels that new graduates are better trained, better prepared, and simply more ready than graduates of the profession have ever been. He feels that as a result of this better training, the profession is reaching a critical mass, poised to position itself in a manner long overdue. The basis for such a view is becoming obvious. The thought of naturopathic doctors performing rotations in hospitals, partnering with medical doctors, brought on as part of the healthcare team of professional sport franchises, seemed like a far off dream in the not too distant past. Today, ND’s are filling such positions routinely.
What Garrett fails to highlight is his own contribution to this continually improving system of practice and education. Through the pioneering efforts of Garrett and others, safe and effective therapies have trickled down to the ranks of colleges. Students are leaving their ND training with knowledge that pioneers spent decades to compile. We at IHP agree that the profession has reached its critical mass, and the result is naturopathic appointment to overdue and deserved positions. Moving forward, the phenomena can only grow. The most valuable asset to solidifying the reputation of the profession is to blanket the country with practitioners who deliver safe and effective therapies. Garrett began this task over two decades ago, and set the bar very high.