Changes To Bloodwork Access

Please take a moment to review the important information below!

Due to privacy laws, there have been some changes to how we can access your bloodwork going forward.

As it is important for us to understand your complete health picture since we analyze your results in order to individualize your treatment plan. There are 3 ways to ensure that we access your health information going forward:

1. Ensure your MD enters your ND’s information in the ‘Copy To’ section of your bloodwork requisition in order for the results to also be sent to the clinic. The information to include is:

a) ND’s Name and physician code: Dr. Christina Bjorndal, ND – NB6893 & Dr. Michael Mason-Wood, ND – NF4905

b) Clinic address: Natural Terrain, 6650 177 St NW #200, Edmonton, AB T5T 4J5

c) Clinic phone number: 587-521-3595

d) Clinic fax number: 1-855-541-0837

2. Sign up to access your own health records at MyHealthAlberta:

Once you have access to your results, you can email them to us at to upload them to your chart, or bring them to your appointment.

In your MyHealth Records Portal, click the ‘Share My Record’ invite link and then click ‘Share Health Information with Someone You Trust’ option. Add our clinic email (above) as the Recipient’s email address, click ‘No Expiration Date’ for Access Information Expiration Date and create a Passcode as specified. Click ‘Send Invitation’. Once you’ve done this, please email or call the clinic to share your passcode with us which will allow us to view and download your results.

3. Complete a Release of Records during your initial consultation/follow-up consultation with us which we can fax to your MDs office. We will then get the results faxed to us here at the clinic. NOTE: there may be a fee from your MD to send the results to us.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us!

A reflection on the past 17 years in practice with Dr. Mason-Wood ND

Graduating from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 2003, Dr. Michael Mason-Wood ND has spent the past 17 years helping over 3000 patients with a wide range of conditions. We interviewed Dr. Mason-Wood ND to reflect back on the past 17 years.

Q: Why did you go into naturopathic medicine?

A: I was a lost soul, I was 28, had no career in mind, but knew that I couldn’t be a gold and diamond miner all my life. So I went back to university as a mature student. In my final year of my undergraduate degree, I was thinking about doing my master’s in Entomology (the study of insects) when I met my massage therapist, who was studying to be a naturopathic doctor. She explained what naturopathic medicine was and encouraged me to go apply for the next year. I applied and got accepted and the next September I completed a 5-day drive from Whitehorse to Toronto. When I got to Toronto, I did not know much about naturopathic medicine, but as we started to learn about botany, homeopathy and acupuncture, I quickly fell in love with the profession. I am First Nations and I grew up learning about traditional healing from elders and felt that naturopathic medicine aligned with my core values.

Q: What has been the best thing about being a Naturopathic doctor? 

A: The best thing about being a naturopathic doctor is the satisfaction of knowing you are helping people on a daily basis. I am able to help over 80% of my patients get better, whether it’s a 5-month-old with eczema, or an 80-year-old with knee pain for the past 10 years. People are happy when they see me, they have better energy, better sleep, pain relief and I feel I am really able to impact my patient’s lives.

Q: How has your practice evolved in the past 17 years?

A: I started out practicing as a general Naturopathic Doctor in Whitehorse, YT. There were many practitioners in the holistic health field and I only saw 6-7 patients per week when I started in practice. After three years, I moved to Fort McMurray and there I started seeing 14-15 patients a day and working 13 -14 hour days. My wife and I later decided to move to Edmonton and become contractors at an already established naturopathic clinic. This allowed us to establish a better work-life balance and care for our son, something that we feel we have been able to continue for the last 15 years. After a couple of years, my wife left the clinic to start Natural Terrain, and I followed her a year later. Over my time as a naturopathic doctor, my practice has expanded into doing IVs, prolotherapy, ozone therapy and other injection therapies.  I am always incorporating new treatment approaches to provide the best quality care for my patients.

Q: What drives you?

A: I am driven by my ability to help people. I love being a naturopathic doctor and I am really proud of the work that I do and being able to make people feel better.  I don’t think many people can say they wake up every morning, excited to go to work, but I still am after 17 years.

I am also driven by my family.  As a child, I grew up eating chocolate ice cream and frosted flakes. I would have 1-2 severe strep throat infections a year that would keep me home from school for 2-3 weeks at a time. As a father and a husband, I want to make sure that I know how to prevent and manage illness to keep myself and my family healthy. I want the best for my family and I think being a Naturopathic Doctor provides so many opportunities and knowledge that they can ask their naturopathic doctors to help them with.

Q: A lot of the therapies you have learned are for pain management. What got you interested in pain management?

A: Part of the reason that I have spent so much time learning about pain and about the different therapies for it is that I’ve experienced pain first hand. Given my own health conditions, severe kyphosis and scoliosis, i have had to learn how to manage chronic pain for myself. I wanted to ensure that I knew how to manage it so that myself and my patients wouldn’t have to let pain affect their daily lives.

Q: What has been your most rewarding moments?

A:  There are lots of rewarding moments, but the one that comes to mind is when I was able to help a man who had been suffering for the past 20 years with severe pain after a motorbike accident. I did 2 PRP* treatments and 4 prolotherapy treatments and the patient’s pain went away. I saw the patient 3 years later and he still did not have any pain. I felt I was able to significantly change his life.

*Please note that PRP is not currently allowed to be performed by Naturopathic Doctors in Alberta. If you would like to see PRP returned to the scope of practice for the naturopathic profession, please contact the College of Naturopathic Doctors of Alberta at or call 403-266-2446.

The Foundations of Immune Health: Part 3- Diet

Optimizing the immune system requires more than taking a simple pill. It is an interplay between lifestyle and diet.  The foundations of the immune health require special attention to different aspects of your life such as


This week we will be discussing how diet plays a role in immune health and tips to make sure your diet supports your immune system.

The Connection Between Diet and the Immune System

Throughout the whole immune process, the body requires certain micronutrients to help fend off invading microbes. One of the best ways to get these micronutrients is through the diet. Food provides energy and nutrients to help our immune cells work effectively in prevention and recovery.

Diet also plays a major role in regulating the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome helps to breakdown and present the infectious agents to the immune cells in specialized tissue called the gut association lymphoid tissue (GALT). If we eat unhealthy food, we can experience something called “dysbiosis” which is an imbalance of our good microbiome bacteria and bad bacteria. The bad bacteria cause the body to go into an inflammatory state. When there are high amounts of inflammation in the gut we can develop something called leaky gut. This means that instead of food particles and bacteria entering the body in controlled ways and being checked by immune cells in the GALT, it now can enter your bloodstream unchecked. This can cause an immune reaction throughout the whole body and cause you to get sick.

Dietary Tips for Immune Health

You may be thinking “well then what should I eat?”. The answer is not as simple as you probably thought. The ideal diet should be individualized for every patient, their health concerns, values, beliefs and lifestyle. The best diets come from a partnership with our naturopathic doctors and their patients. Dietary changes should be reasonable and be able to be sustained for a long time.

In terms of immune health, here are our top dietary recommendations

1. Eat a variety of foods

The best way we like to explain this to patients is by telling them that they should “eat the rainbow”. Basically, this general rule suggests that when you look at your plate, you should see 4-5 different colours of food. Colours represent different nutrients that are in the foods. The immune system requires lots of different vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats to function optimally. The gut microbiome also thrives when exposed to a variety of different foods (see below for more suggestions on how to support your microbiome with food). Some other ideas include switching up your meals at least a couple of times a week, experimenting with cooking new foods and ensuring that all your meals have a protein, vegetables and a fat source, such as olive oil.

2. Eat your veggies and fruit

Vegetables are dense in nutrients. They can help provide your body with different vitamins and minerals. Fruits and vegetables have antioxidant properties which help to reduce damage to our cells and optimize the immune system.  Almost all vegetables and fruit have benefits to the immune system. Some examples of particularly great immune supporting fruits and vegetables are; berries, spinach, citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and arugula.

3. Reduce inflammatory foods

During acute illness, inflammation is a good and natural process that helps the immune system fight off infections. However, if we are already in an inflammatory state when we get sick, then we are already using the immune system’s resources on other parts of the body that may not require as much energy. Inflammation leaves our bodies more susceptible to illnesses. The number one inflammatory food is SUGAR! It is also a good idea to avoid processed foods and excessive alcohol as they are also highly inflammatory.

4. Spice up your meals

There are a lot of great spices out that don’t just add a bunch of flavour to your meals, but they also have immune-supporting effects. Garlic has a lot of antimicrobial properties that assists the immune system in preventing you from getting sick. Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory and is a good antioxidant. Ginger is also good for bringing down the inflammation. These foods will help to improve your immune function. Try adding at least one to every meal.

5. Eat probiotic rich foods

Because a lot of our immune cells are in our gut, it only makes sense that taking care of the gut is an important part of immune health. Probiotics help to populate the intestinal lining with bacteria that are helpful for nutrient absorption. Eat probiotics rich foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso frequently.

To get more information and to individualize a diet for your health needs, book an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor today!


The Foundations of Immune Health: Part 2 – Stress

Our immune systems are changeable and adaptable. What we do, how we live and what we think plays a direct impact on our immune systems. Because of this, working on the foundational building blocks of the immune system is important in preventing illness.

These foundations include….

  • A good night’s sleep
  • Stress management
  • A healthy diet
  • Exercise and time outdoors
  • Appropriate supplementation.

In part 2 of our immune foundations series, we will be going over how stress affects the immune system and some tips for improving the immune system through stress management.

How stress affects the immune system

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how thoughts affect our bodies and physical health. It is a fascinating science that helps to show that health is really more than just the physical, it’s a combination of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our life. The impact stress has on the immune system works through a couple of different mechanisms. First, nerves in the brain that sense stress goes directly to our lymphatic organs, including the bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes and spleen which is where our immune cells are created and stored. Secondly, when we are stressed, our bodies release hormones and neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, epinephrine and cortisol). These substances can then attach to specific receptors on the immune cells, which reduce their ability to protect the body. Additionally, stress can cause a change in behaviours, such as poor diet, changes in sleeping patterns, drinking alcohol, decreased exercise and smoking which can all lead to lower immune function. In order to optimize the immune system, it is important to identify your stressors and learn how to manage them.

Tips for Stress Reduction

Stressors are all around us. There are a lot of stressors in life that we can’t control  but we can control how we cope with these stressors. Here are some tips on how to reduce your stress and manage the stress that you can’t control.

1. Eliminate unnecessary commitments

This is possibly one of the most important tips for stress reduction.  We all need to learn how to say “no”. You only have so much time and energy, so make sure you are doing things you enjoy and that are within your current capacity. Having time to rest is a necessary commitment.  Remember you don’t have to please everyone.

2. Reframe your thoughts

After you have eliminated unnecessary commitments, identify your stressors. Although we may not be able to eliminate these things from our lives, we can learn how to reframe our thoughts so what was once stressful is now just an opportunity for growth. You can learn about reframing your thoughts here.

3. Breathe

When you take deep breathes, you are activating the parasympathetic or relaxing part of the nervous system. It helps to lower your stress response. There are a number of different ways you can deep breathe. One of our favourites is belly breathing. To do this, place one hand on your abdomen and one on your heart. Try to keep the hand over your heart still, and only move the hand on your abdomen with each breath. As you breathe in, you should feel your abdomen expand and as you breathe out you should feel it go back in. Stopping what you are doing and taking 10 deep breathes once an hour is a great way to keep stress low.

4. Journaling

Set aside time every day to journal. This is your scheduled time to worry. Right down everything you are thinking, the stresses you are feeling and the things that are on your mind. Getting it out on paper will help you to see your stressors and help to reduce the amount of space they take up in your thoughts. For an extra stress management, end your journaling with writing down 3 things you are grateful for.

5. Meditate

Meditation is a great way to bring your mind into the present moment and take a break from focusing on your stressors. There are a couple ways to meditate. You can find a guided meditation on YouTube, or meditate by focusing on your breath or mentally scanning your whole body. Make sure when you are meditating you are sitting in a comfortable position. Sitting on the ground with crossed legs or sitting on a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the ground are great options. Take the time to slow down your breathing and focus on you and your body in the current moment.

6. Schedule time for yourself and practice self-care

Doing things that you love and make you feel good are important for your health. Prioritizing you and your health will help to reduce stress to make you a better parent, spouse, child and/or employee.

To get help with stress management, or learning more about what you can do to keep your immune system healthy, book an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors.


Supporting your child’s mental well being and health

Dr. Chris Bjorndal ND gives insight into ‘The Umbrella Effect’, taught by Dr. Jen ND

When my son was ten years old he experienced some setbacks at school when he was being bullied by another boy in his grade. This raised concern in me because when I was a child I had a difficult time in school. My mental health challenges started in grade 3 and I wished that I had the skills to handle the mental and emotional waves of my life. As I write about in my book, “Beyond the Label: 10 steps to Improve your Mental Health with Naturopathic Medicine” mental health is multi-factorial. We need to develop a solid foundation in all ten areas to prevent mental illness and achieve mental wellness.

A couple years ago, I attended the Northwest Naturopathic Medicine conference, primarily because I was drawn to a lecture titled: The Umbrella Effect: Strategies to Support Pediatric Mental Well Being in Family Practice by Dr. Jen Forristal ND. I arrived on the Friday night to celebrate another colleague’s birthday party. By chance (or divine guidance) I ended up sitting beside Dr. Jen ND– who was the one person I wanted to meet given my practice focus is on mental health.

Dr. Jen Forristal BSc ND is a naturopathic doctor and children’s mental health specialist located in Kitchener, Ontario.

Dr. Jen ND explained to me that “throughout our lives we will face many challenges and setbacks. Much like the rain, these are aspects of our life that most people experience and we have little control over. The sun doesn’t always shine in life and often, we spend a lot of time wishing the storms will pass, instead of properly protecting ourselves from the rain. What is important as parents, is to teach your children the skills that will empower them to grow in their mental and emotional health. These she refers to as “umbrella skills”. These skills are made up of emotional and cognitive skills: gratitude, resilience, mindfulness, intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy, purpose, optimism, integrity, lifestyle, empathy, kindness, growth mindset, cognitive flexibility and grit.

The happiest and most successful people possess these skills and they are highly predictive of our future wellbeing.”


These skills are made up of emotional and cognitive skills: gratitude, resilience, mindfulness, intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy, purpose, optimism, integrity, lifestyle, empathy, kindness, growth mindset, cognitive flexibility and grit.


As a parent, I have had to get myself out of the way and not project my childhood experiences onto my son. An example of this was when I was in Grade four, girls in my class started an “I hate Christina” club, and this devastated me. The same thing happened to my son when he was in grade two. My heart sank when he told me as I flash-backed to my horrible childhood experience. But his response highlights the difference between poor self esteem, which I had at his age and self confidence, which he has, as he said: “It’s okay mom—no one joined!”

Natural Terrain Family
Dr. Chris ND with her husband and son.

Another example is my son sometimes can feel left out in a group of three and my reaction was “Let’s only do one on one play dates”, essentially avoiding groups of three. Seems logical right? When I consulted with Dr. Jen ND her solution was the exact opposite of mine. She said “you want him to experience groups of three so that he learns how to navigate this. If you don’t do this, what do you suppose will happen when he is an adult and may have to work in a group of three on a work project?” One suggestion she gave our son was that he talk to the other boys and discuss a strategy where if one of them is feeling left out that they work together to make sure everyone is included.

Umbrella skills will carry our children forward in life and support them when emotional weather gets cloudy in their life.

By using these skills we can actually strengthen our mindset and re-frame the challenges we experience; reducing what felt like a heavy downpour to a light drizzle.   All of the skills are important and work best together. For example, working hard with grit is important but without a sense of purpose it becomes unfulfilling.

By developing these habits, we will develop the confidencand strength it takes to hold ourselves up and pursue life’s opportunities, despite the stormy weather. 

If you would more information about Dr. Jen’s ND Umbrella Project visit her website at

-Dr. Chris Bjorndal, ND


Dweck, Carol. Mindset – The New Psychology of Success. Ballantine Books, 2006

Foristall, Jennifer – Pediatric Mental Health lecture, Northwest Naturopathic Conference, April 2017.