Functional Medicine and Family Practice

Dr. Cathryn Zapf MD MBA MRCGP CCFP

Functional Medicine and Family Physician

Dr Zapf hails from near Stonehenge in England. After 16 year working for the British military she has escaped to the Rocky Mountains to play on the back of a horse.


She read medicine at University College, London, England. During the early part of her career she worked in Scotland as a psychiatrist. Her general practice training was completed on the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of the Scottish Highlands.  In 2000 she was recruited to work with the British armed services. She worked for the British Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Marine Commandos and the Royal Air Force for 16 years as a civilian medical practitioner. For 5 years she worked in hyperbaric environments with divers and submariners. In 2011 she was posted to BATUS at Suffield near Medicine Hat in Alberta, Canada. She fell in love with the province and vowed to return.


In 2016 she came to Canada and in early 2018 took over the ownership of the Bow River Medical Clinic in Canmore. This clinic was renamed the Paleo Medical Clinic in 2019 to reflect her evolutionary approach to health.


Her interest in Functional Medicine stems from her time with the military. She had to use lifestyle interventions and natural solutions to solve complex medical problems. The last thing she does is reach for the prescription pad. She believes that how you live your life has a profound influence on health.


She is a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Member of the Institute for Functional Medicine and the Canadian College of Family Physicians. Dr Zapf sees health through the prism of evolution. She has an MBA and speaks International French.


She loves Irish wolfhounds, horses and hanging upside down in aerial yoga


Why Functional Medicine?

It can help with


We have comprehensive stool testing with Doctor’s Data. This looks at the microbiome, digestive enzymes, inflammation, parasites, worms, yeast and short chain fatty acids. The test for small intestinal bacterial over growth is a breath test patients can do at home that detects hydrogen and methane.


The reasons for fatigue and be complex and numerous. Many patients have normal conventional blood tests and are often left frustrated. Sometimes their symptoms are put down to depression. During the course of Functional Medicine testing we are able to uncover the root cause.


Many new chemicals have been released into the environment that have been regarded as safe. Many we are beginning to recognize are a lot more harmful than anticipated. As now so many are combined we have a burden of toxicity unprecedented in our evolution. We have testing for mycotoxins from mold and heavy metals. Genetic testing can also reveal vulnerabilities to certain toxins.

Brain Health

We are able to offer brain optimization for those seeking the highest performance. Anyone over the age of 45 might want to consider a cognoscopy: MRI with NeuroReader which looks at the volume of forty five parts of the brain, detailed neurocognitive testing and blood tests. The Bredesen Protocol is offered for Alzheimer’s disease.


In the modern World we do not value hammock time. Our ancestors spent hours of the day at rest talking with their clan. The stresses for them were short and intense. By contrast we are in a sympathetic dominant state most of the time. We use heart rate variability to establish a parasympathetic state encouraging the body to rest and digest.


We all respond to food individually. In the clinic we recommend a paleo template for good general health. However, if the gut becomes permeable we can become sensitised to foods and get an inflammatory reaction. In time this can provoke autoimmune diseases. Using Cyrex Arrays we are able to uncover gut permeability, food sensitivities and plan bespoke elimination diets to heal the gut. This can be the first step to recovery from autoimmunity.

Your Health Starts Here

Contact Info



202-1205 Bow Valley Trail, Canmore, Alberta T1W-1P5

Clinic Hours








8:30am - 5:00pm

8:30am - 5:00pm

8:30am - 5:00pm

8:30am - 5:00pm

8:30am - 12:00pm