There are plenty of misconceptions surrounding the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. What is it you think of when you hear that?

“A lot of people think it’s just like voodoo medicine but really it’s been in the scriptures for at least 4,000 years,” says Registered Acupuncturist, Sheena Laflamme.


Sheena is helping people heal by bridging the eastern philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine and our modern western culture. A lot of that starts however with education. There are even elements you’ve likely heard of and just didn’t realize where they were coming from.

For Sheena, her interest began when she was 19. Originally from the Gatineau/Ottawa region, Sheena was living in British Columbia at the time. She knew she wanted to take her studies in a holistic direction so she began researching different types of schools offering alternative healing programs and landed at the first-class institution, the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences. Here, Sheena learned to practice the many different modalities of Chinese Medicine including acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping therapy, Gua Sha (scraping therapy), herbal remedy, tai chi, and Tui Na (Chinese massage).


“People fear what they don’t understand, what they don’t know and that’s absolutely normal,” said Sheena. “So a lot of what I do is education.”


Take tai chi, for example. Many people have heard of this but don’t actually know what purpose it serves. Sheena describes tai chi as a certain way to move your body to trigger specific meridians that help your body’s energy flow properly. It’s a way to work out but it’s more energy-based. The movements are slowed down so you can really feel what’s going on and move in a way that will help you feel better. There are movements that are good for your liver, kidneys, or lungs- and these movements are going to help move things in certain areas of the body to help you heal.

Sheena uses these modalities to diagnose and then personalize care to create awareness in her clients’ bodies so they can heal. As a practitioner, Sheena believes in restoring the balance of the entire system rather than focusing on individual symptoms as this allows the body to naturally achieve equilibrium.

Traditional Chinese Medicine can be used to treat a multitude of conditions from physical discomfort like abdominal pain, back pain or headaches to skin conditions and allergy symptoms to mental health issues like depression or anxiety.



“I’ve been trained to treat most of everything,” Sheena explained. “Often what happens is that these specific things that people are coming to see me for are kind of the branch of certain imbalances that are rooted in the body more deeply. So, my goal is to go down to the root of these disharmonies.”


Chinese Medicine is used to treat what is going on right now. Sheena uses four tools to get the full picture of what you’re going through:


Interrogation

In your first appointment, Sheena will discuss with you the symptoms you are suffering from and ask questions regarding your health and wellness. Often this will bring up patterns people don’t recognize as symptoms like sleep habits, lifestyle- even bowel movements. Sure, this can be a little uncomfortable but it really creates a connection with people and is important to understanding the general mapping of what is happening in your body.


Auscultation

Sometimes, it’s not as much what you say but how you say it. How you speak, the pitch of your voice, if you cough or grunt- all of this means something to Sheena so she listens very closely to not only what symptoms you are describing but how you talk about them. 


Observation

You may be experiencing symptoms you aren’t even aware of. For example, if there is a certain discolouration in your lips, if your eyes look tired or your hair is dry- these can all go into your diagnosis. You may not know to talk about them but Sheena is able to pick up on the subtleties and dive deeper to get to the root causes.


Palpitation

In each appointment, Sheena makes a point to look at your tongue and check your radial pulse. These two factors are mirrors for what is going on inside of your body. They can tell Sheena specifics about your organs.


In Chinese Medicine, nothing is considered separate. Your environment, the seasons, and your lifestyle are all going to have an influence on your body. By combining what is learned using those tools, we get our diagnosis from which Sheena can develop a treatment plan for healing.


“[The body] wants stability, it wants to be in balance. The body will naturally tend toward equilibrium but if you don’t feed it properly, if you don’t exercise it properly, if you also don’t bring in the emotional part that it needs to heal, that’s very tough,” said Sheena. “It leads to illness if you’re not addressing these things that are happening.”


For many in today’s fast-paced society, we are used to instant gratification and almost feel entitled to fast results but Traditional Chinese Medicine is not necessarily a quick fix. Especially for issues you’ve been experiencing for a while, it takes time to undo the damage and rejig patterns your body has become accustomed to.


“I feel like Chinese Medicine is for longevity,” Sheena explained. “One of the things I learned while studying Traditional Chinese Medicine was it made me very aware of the strengths and weaknesses of other medicines. Western medicine is very good as emergency medicine. If you get in a car accident and there are all kinds of open wounds and fractures, western medicine is really good for that.”


When we have to sit in the doctor’s office, it’s not always a place surrounded by positivity. It can be stressful just being in that environment, anticipating what the doctor is going to say. And really, the western medicine we know is only a few hundred years old. It can certainly be effective but there are still plenty of developments and questions to come. By contrast, Chinese Medicine is more of a partnership. It is working together to get to the core of an issue and treating it using time-tested and proven methods.

“Once you’ve experienced the actual full effects of what it is to have an Acupuncture treatment, it’s actually quite amazing,” Sheena described.
“You do really feel different when you get off of the table. You’ll often sleep very hard, you’ll go through a dream state and there really is this feeling … of feeling different.”


While Chinese Medicine can be used to effectively treat almost any issue from acute to severe, it’s real beauty comes from giving the body back to the person living in it.

“When we address what’s going on and you get better, you re-empower people with their own health,” said Sheena.
“Suddenly they feel they have that authority with their own body. It’s not these symptoms that are dragging them down, they suddenly understand why they have this peace and harmony inside and now they can control it themselves.”


Want to see what TCM can do for you? Book your complimentary Discovery Session today to learn how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you level up the EPIC life!