Your First Session and Treatment Plan
What will happen on my first visit?
Depending on what services you are interested in receiving, and the health concerns you have, your first visit will consist of an intake process and a discussion of our treatment plan. Your first visit will usually take about an hour; in which time I will consult with you about your history, medical testing and medications, specific concerns, and goals. I will also take your pulse and look at your tongue. All of these means form the foundation for a holistic picture to emerge relating to your unique condition according to western and Chinese Medicine diagnostic methods.
Most patients I see privately receive acupuncture with supplementary advise on nutrition, lifestyle, and movement or yoga postures. Sessions may also include a herbal prescription. If you are not interested in receiving acupuncture I also offer a number of other services including a full nutrition or herbal consultation and full private yoga sessions. And if you are not local I offer skype call sessions for teacher mentoring and health related concerns.
How many sessions will I need?
Most patients begin to feel some positive effects after only one acupuncture treatment. However, consistent treatment helps to encourage lasting positive results. Because this type of treatment is so individualized, results depend on your particular condition and how it is manifesting in your unique body. Usually, the longer the condition took to develop, the longer it will take to change. During your first consultation I will work with you to set out a personalized treatment plan.
Clients generally begin with a series of treatments closer together to work on a particular concern and then continue with treatment on a less frequent basis for maintenance. Many patients find treatments to be very relaxing and end up discovering that our sessions benefit all sorts of other aspects of their lives.
What do you treat?
Acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition counseling, and yoga can be very effective therapies for a number of conditions. Some of the more common conditions I encounter include stress, fatigue, menopausal difficulty, anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, menstrual irregularity, and digestive disorders. Acupuncture is also very effective at addressing musculo-skeletal pain and injury.
I take a special interest in patients who are willing to follow through with self care practices at home, and are curious about incorporating yoga, movement or meditation practices into their treatment plan.
What is acupuncture and how does it work?
Acupuncture is one of the key treatments used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is a natural method of treatment in which sterile micro-thin disposable needles are inserted at specific points along the body. These points trigger the body to regulate/circulate Qi (pronounced “chee”) or energy through energetic channels called meridians. Qi runs through skin, bone and organs and its flow affects our physical, mental, and emotional health. When there is physical injury or emotional stress the natural flow of energy is blocked leading to disease. By tapping into the body’s intelligence balance is restored and illness prevented. Acupuncture can also be explained in western medical terms using the concepts of trigger points in muscles and the activation of the nervous and immune systems.
What does acupuncture treat?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of medicine and healing. Using TCM, practitioners can diagnose and treat almost any health condition. TCM is particularly good at regulating systems in the body and addressing chronic or stress related diseases. In fact, many disorders that western medicine fails to successfully treat or prevent TCM addresses.
Acupuncture and TCM is also a way to optimize an already healthy body and mind and can be used as a preventative measure.
Is acupuncture proven?
Chinese Medicine has endured over 2000 years of clinical study and use. Throughout this time, countless physicians have developed the Chinese Medicine we use today through thorough research, academic discussion, and trial and error.
More recently, western institutions such as the world health organization (WHO) and the Mayo clinic have conducted numerous clinical trials to prove the effectiveness of this ancient healing art and to determine the exact mechanisms by which acupuncture is effective. A popular WHO publication cites hundreds of conditions acupuncture is effective at treating including infertility/reproductive issues, digestive disturbances, physical pain and injuries, high blood pressure, migraines, stress disorders, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, and addictions to name just a few.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Because the needles are extremely thin acupuncture does not usually cause pain. A slight discomfort or heaviness may be felt during treatment, but usually patients report feeling relaxed and many fall asleep during treatment. My approach is gentle and I encourage feedback to ensure patient comfort and relaxation.
Can I get acupuncture if I'm pregnant?
Yes! Acupuncture can be very therapeutic during pregnancy. Modified treatments help to support pre and post-natal conditions such as fatigue, morning sickness, breach babies, and body pain.
Acupuncure can also be used in the weeks leading up to labor to prepare the body and eventually for induction (if needed).
What is cupping, gua sha and moxa?
Cupping and gua sha are massage techniques that use small glass cups and wooden implements to relax muscles and release tension and stagnation. These methods are sometimes used in conjunction with acupuncture. Moxabustion (moxa) uses a herb called mugwort to bring warmth to certain points. The herb is burned near the points allowing not only the warmth of the smoke but also some of the medicinal properties of the plant to affect the body.
Does my health coverage or MSP in BC recognize acupuncture?
BC residents with MSP are covered for $23 (per visit) for up to 10 visits a year and most extended health plans cover acupuncture. Students who have a school health plan (including UVIC and Camosun college) have full coverage. Please contact your provider for more information.
What are Jennifer's Chinese Medicine and acupuncture qualifications?
Jennifer graduated with her doctorate of Traditional Chinese Medicine which is the highest designation in her profession. This included 5 full time years of Chinese medicine study including many western biomedical sciences. Health Canada appoints the CTCMA in BC to regulate and monitor the practice of Chinese Medicine in BC. Jennifer is a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner (acupuncturist and herbalist) with the CTCMA which allows her to practice acupuncture and herbal medicine privately in BC.
Nutrition // Herbal Medicine
What is holistic nutrition?
Most people are aware that proper nutrition is an important part of the healing journey. However, conventional western medicine doesn't place a heavy emphasize on food as a major cause and possible answer to many disease states. In addition there is such an overwhelming amount of information regarding diet and nutrition that the options can seem endless and confusing. Holistic nutritionists help their patients understand the information in a way that applies to their unique body and health goals. They help identify and correct the nutritional causes of diseases, and they can help design individualized lifestyle and diet programs that optimize well-being.
What is herbal medicine?
The herbal medicine I prescribe is based on my extensive education and experience with both western and eastern plants, theories, and systems. Herbal medicine can be used during times of relative health for strengthening the immune system and adaptation to environmental stress, in addition to being used during times of illness.
Herbal medicine uses plant, mineral, and at rare times, animal products, for healing. Most often I prescribe traditional 'formulas' which include anywhere from 2-12 different herbs. These combinations of herbs are consistently the safest and most tested version of herbal medicine. The complex way in which the phytochemicals of the plants individually interact with one another creates a therapeutic effect with little to no side effects. These formulas have been used and tested over literally thousands of years.
What is the quality of the herbs?
The herbs and formulas I sell in my clinic are of the highest quality available. Whenever possible (almost exclusively) herbal products are free of colors, pharmaceuticals, preservatives, and sugar. Herbs are grown and manufactured in North America and certificates of analysis from my herbal providers show the extensive testing these products undergo. This eliminates the risk of contamination, substitution of herbs, falsified test results and guarantees purity, potency and safety.
Is it safe? Could the herbs you prescribe interact with my medications?
Almost all of the herbs I work with are very safe and will have very little interaction with the western medications you are already taking.
Western medical doctors may have some general knowledge and there are plenty of plant medicines in your spice cabinet and your garden that are very safe. However, it is important for me to know all of the medications you are on so that I can assess the very rare chance of herb-drug interactions. Ultimately this is one of the reasons it is important to work with a qualified herbalist especially when using more complex herbal formulas.
Yoga and Meditation
What kind of yoga do you teach?
The yoga I teach is therapeutic in nature, alignment focused, and based on the individual needs of students. You do not need to be flexible or strong to do yoga. So much more than exercise; I offer the physical asana (postures) interwoven with deeper spiritual, philosophical, and energetic teachings. Learn more about the types of yoga I teach here.
I have an injury or health concern. Should I still do yoga?
Yoga can be very helpful during an injury or health concern depending on how it is practiced. Be sure to let me know so that I can help you with modifications and variations. Booking in for a private session or one of my small group classes may also be beneficial. Most importantly; if it hurts back off, rest when you need, and honor the limitations your body is presenting. Yoga is about how we approach the difficulty. There will always be a posture that you can’t do. But with a consistent practice you will see change.
Who are private yoga sessions for?
I love working with yogis one on one to develop a yoga practice that addresses individual concerns. If you have a health concern, are new to yoga, want to start a home practice, or take your practice to the next level, a private session can help you on your path. I have deeply benefited from working with my teachers one on one and would love to pass on the care and attention I've received.
I'm not religious. Are your classes right for me?
At times traditional yogic teachings have cultural and religious under tones related to Buddhism and Hinduism. This is mostly due to the fact that yogic teachings were adopted by these major systems in Vedic times.
Yoga is both an art and a science. In my classes I offer the teachings and practice of yoga as a doorway to self understanding and greater awareness. At times these teachings utilize practices that may seem religious (such as short chants or meditations) when viewed from a historical perspective, but in actuality they are available as tools for people of any faith. These practices are free from ideology and dogma and instead offer a lived experience of peace and wisdom.
This is my first yoga class. How should I prepare?
There is nothing in particular you need to do before your first class. A few things to keep in mind: bring a yoga mat, arrive a little early to get settled, turn off your cell phone, and try to come to class on a relatively empty stomach. Yoga is practiced with bare feet and please wear loose (but not too baggy) comfortable clothes.
If you are attending one of my small group sessions or a private session please be sure to fill out your student questionnaire before class and let me know of any injuries or limitations you have.