TCM/A Practitioner Spotlight

With eight Chapters across Canada, the CMAAC is proud to represent committed and talented acupuncturists, TCM practitioners, and students in our Association. We want to share the stories of our members.

Watch for our upcoming newsletters as we continue to feature members from other Chapters.

If you would like to be featured, please submit answers to the questions as appropriate for you and submit it to your Chapter presidents for consideration.

Suggested Questions:

1. What do you like about practicing in your area or your clinic?

2.What is your specialty?

3. What made you join CMAAC?

4. What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

5. Is TCM and Acupuncture an important part of primary care and integrative care?

View our spotlights by clicking on their names below:

Jason Tutt, R.Ac - British Columbia

1. What do you like about practicing in British Columbia?
British Columbia seems to be one of the provinces on the leading edge of TCM & Acupuncture within Canada. BC was one of the first provinces to become regulated in Canada and is now leading the way for an expanded scope of practice in TCM & Acupuncture. I am so lucky to be surrounded by talented practitioners that have mentored me and become close friends in my life.

2. What is your specialty?
In July 2015, the CTCMA filed a regulation amendment to add “Point Injection Therapy” to the scope of practice in BC for TCM/A. Since initially getting trained in PIT in the fall of 2014, I have fallen in love with using injections as a part of my daily practice with impressive results. My main area of focus with PIT is addressing chronic pain and sports injuries.

3. What made you join CMAAC?
TCM/A needs unity across the provinces, as well as within the provinces in order to negotiate and lobby government and insurance companies for better coverage and access to a wider scope of practice. The first question asked to us when meeting government officials is “Do you represent the profession?” The CMAAC being a Canada-wide association with impressive membership numbers is an important step to unify TCM/A across Canada and to be taken seriously as a profession. It is my hope that our provincial association the ATCMA can work closely with the CMAAC in realizing these goals.

4. What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?
I hope to see the TCM/A profession being treated as equals to other practitioners across the board. Currently in BC, our crown provincial insurance company for motor vehicles will only cover acupuncture treatments for motor vehicle accidents performed by physiotherapists, but not TCM/A practitioners. I hope that in the future, government insurance as well as extended health insurance will treat our profession the way it treats every other regulated profession.

5. Is TCM and Acupuncture an important part of primary care and integrative care?
TCM/A has been shown in research to have minimal side effects and clinically significant positive effects on a number of conditions such as; chronic pain, allergies, addiction, anxiety, depression, insomnia that generally require long term prescription medications with a number of unpleasant side effects. It is my belief that Acupuncture should be considered first before putting a patient on a long term drug medication unless the patient is at risk of immediate harm.

For integrative care, The National Cancer Institute has published evidence on the effectiveness of acupuncture for reducing cancer treatment induced side effects such as nausea and vomiting, fatigue, hot flashes, xerostomia, neuropathy, anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems. It is outperforming drugs for many of these conditions without further side effects in these already fragile patients. 

Rebecca Sprintz, CMD - Manitoba

What do you like about practicing TCM/A in Winnipeg?

What I like about practicing TCM in Winnipeg is the curiosity and interest that people are starting to show. As you’re aware, there are no regulations here so the quality of acupuncture is quite variable. Most acupuncturists are physiotherapists or chiropractors, and of course patient’s experience is quite skewed from what a true TCM treatment should be. Fortunately, patients are finally beginning to recognize this and are seeking out qualified acupuncturists. What made me specialize in prenatal care was the lack of support that women had in Winnipeg. Women didn’t realize that miscarriages can be prevented, morning sickness remedied quite quickly, hemorrhoids treatable, breeched babies rotated, and labour augmented quite safely and efficiently with acupuncture. It has been such a privilege to help women have a positive and enjoyable pregnancy.

What is your specialty?

I am actually in the process of starting up my own clinic called Family Acupuncture Wellness Clinic where my focus will be on Fertility and Pregnancy support.

What made you join CMAAC?

I joined CMAAC because it was the qualified association in Manitoba. I studied in BC and CTCMA was the large and established regulating organization. I thought that CMAAC was the closest thing to that. I respected the fact that there was a 2 part entrance exam, gave us the organization number for private insurance recognition, and an opportunity for professional insurance coverage.

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

I am truly hoping that CMAAC will regulate in Manitoba in the near future as many practitioners for becoming aware of the lack of regulations here and are taking advantage of that. It is a shame that unqualified practitioners are effecting peoples first (and possibly last) acupuncture experience. The lack of regulations also belittles TCM as an art and science. It is such an incredible medicine which truly treats the person as a whole and should be treated with utmost respect. It is nice to see other provinces recognizing this and I am looking forward to Manitoba following suit hopefully soon.

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D. Brune Clavette, D.Ac, RMT, ADS, MQP - New Brunswick

What do you like about practicing TCMA in NB?

Practicing here in Fredericton, New Brunswick, has been great. I moved  here in 1989 after having lived in Montreal for 8 years where I had done my traditional training at L’Ecole Superieure de Medecine Chinoise de Montreal. Then I did the provincial exam with ‘La Corporation Professionnelle des Medecins du Quebec’, now under L’Ordre des Acupuncteurs du Quebec which I am still a member of.  Within 3 months of being in NB, I was already in a full time practice. 

What are your specialties?

I am also a Registered Massage Therapist. I combine with Kinetic Swedish Massage, CranioSacral Osteopathic techniques, Somato Emotional Release, and Visceral Manipulation. I have been practicing Qigong for nearly 20 years and am currently doing some advance Medical Qigong Therapist training with the Ordre of Acupuncturists of Quebec.  

You are a RMT and an Acupuncturist, how do you integrate the various modalities that you do?

My treatment sessions run about 60 to 80 minutes, this gives me time to do very thorough and personalized work. While the needles are in place, let’s say, for example, the distal antique points , I then massage the abdomen and do visceral manipulations, or release the neck and / or do cranium vault or even mouth work. Depending of the need of the individual this will decide which tools I use; whether I do deep tissue fascial release or dredging the channels, wei qi fields and organ cleansing with medical Qi Gong.   Working in such manner has been very satisfying for both me as a therapist and my patients. Of course they enjoy the massage but time and time again they mention that the lasting effects come from the acupuncture.

What made you join CMAAC?

Coming from a regulated province, when I first moved to NB, the practice of Acupuncture was minimally known. I wanted to be part of a professional association that will help bring the standards and scope of practice into a legislated process. I have been Chair of the Applications and Membership Committee for over 15 years. For numerous years, I had the same title with the professional body of the Massage Therapy Association which I am a founding member. I have had to do, and still continue to do, various educational promotion campaigns.    

What do you hope to see in the future of Acupuncture and TCM care in your province, or in Canada?

Due to the fact that we are not yet legislated in the province of NB, I think the first step is to have all associations come together into the regulatory process. Ethne Munden (Chair, College of Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of Newfoundland and Labrador) was here recently for the Maritime Association of Registered Acupuncturists Spring Meeting where she offered the Safety Program for Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists. This was a stepping stone for us; a first to bring dialogue amongst the different associations and provinces. She has also offered us tools for the legislative process as well so as to bring a common ground to prepare for the provincial / national exam in Canada. This is inspiring and, hopefully, will produce a very positive outcome for our profession here.

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Diana Tong Li, CMD- Nova Scotia

What do you like about practicing TCM/A in Nova Scotia?

Before moving to Nova Scotia over 30 years ago the practice of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine was non-existent in the Maritime Provinces. Dr. Franklyn Chen and I were the first to open an Alternative Medicine Clinic in Halifax, Nova Scotia that was fully dedicated to the practice of Acupuncture & TCM. Since then, the practice of Acupuncture & TCM has been rapidly developing as more and more people are seeking out alternative medicine for their conditions and health. In addition to our clinics, Dr. Chen and I have opened up the first and only career college in Atlantic Canada that primarily focuses on Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I enjoy sharing the practice of Acupuncture & TCM to the people of Nova Scotia because it is my passion and I personally know how successful Acupuncture & TCM treatments can be. I am dedicated to educating others on the great benefits Acupuncture & TCM can have on one’s mind, body and spirit. Dr. Chen and I have helped thousands of patient’s conditions with Acupuncture & TCM in Nova Scotia and have seen the amazing benefits Acupuncture & TCM has in helping pain conditions, allergies, infertility, weight loss and many more conditions. As you are aware, Acupuncture & TCM is not regulated in Nova Scotia. As the president of CMAAC Nova Scotia Chapter and Vice President of the Acupuncture & Naturopathy Association of Nova Scotia (ANANS), I play a strong role in lobbying for regulation in the province for the health and safety of the patients and practitioners. Dr. Franklyn Chen and I are the only doctors in Nova Scotia with PhD degrees in Acupuncture & TCM. I enjoy practicing in Nova Scotia because I know I am giving the best possible care to my patients due to my experience and education. I am actively training new Acupuncturists through the Canadian College of Acupuncture & TCM to make sure that the residents of Nova Scotia can receive Acupuncture & TCM treatment from qualified professional. My students receive high end education from experienced Acupuncturists who follow equivalent guidelines to Acupuncture & TCM colleges in regulated provinces. I truly enjoy being part developing and growing the practice of Acupuncture & TCM in Nova Scotia.

What is your specialty?

I co-own and operate ST/LC Acupuncture & Natural Medicine Clinics with Dr. Franklyn Chen. My main specialities at the clinics are working with infertility and motor vehicle accident patients. From Dr. Franklyn Chen and my forty years of combined experience we have created the Dr. Li-Chen Fertility program which has helped over 280 women successfully conceive. Due to our 25 years of success helping with healing and conceiving Dr. Chen and I have been interviewed for various media outlets such as CBC, ATV, The Chronicle Herald, Chatelaine and most recently Global Nightly News. I also recently presented at the 8th Annual WFAS World Conference of Acupuncture in Sydney, Australia in November 2013. I was able to present two of my research articles that focused on infertility and motor vehicle accident patients. The first article was titled, “A study on the pregnancy when using acupuncture treatments for infertility patients undergoing IVF,” and the second article was titled, “A special five elements acupuncture treatment for whiplash syndrome.”

What made you join CMAAC?

I joined CMAAC 25 years ago because it was and is a qualified and well-regarded association in Nova Scotia and Canada. CMAAC shares the same mission and vision of mine when it comes to developing and regulating the education and practice of Acupuncture & TCM in Canada. The leadership skills of the members of CMAAC, such as Professor Cheung are remarkable and really make CMAAC what it is today. I first was able to understand the commitment of the association when I attended the 2nd Annual WFAS Word Conference on Acupuncture in Paris with alongside other CMAAC members from across Canada. CMAAC only accepts members of high standards of training and qualifications of Acupuncture & TCM, which I truly respect as a Doctor of Acupuncture & TCM. In addition, CMAAC is a member society of the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies (WFAS) which is the only international acupuncture organization recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).As the President of CMAAC Nova Scotia Chapter and as an elected member on the WFAS executive committee, I work closely with CMAAC head office to lobby for regulation of Acupuncture & TCM in Nova Scotia. Since joining CMAAC 25 years ago, I have been the President of the CMAAC Maritime Chapter, and am now the active President of the CMAAC Nova Scotia Chapter. When I first became President of CMAAC N.S. Chapter there was only 2 to 3 members. As of now, we have an estimated 38 members and counting that are part of the N.S. Chapter. I am a proud member of CMAAC and try to represent the association as best as I can in my professional practice.

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

It is my goal to advocate for regulation in Nova Scotia and educate others on the great success of Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine. The demand for Acupuncture & TCM in Nova Scotia, as well as in Canada is actively growing as people are becoming more familiarized with the benefits of alternative medicine. By being the president of CMAAC N.S. Chapter, as well as the Vice President of the Acupuncture & Naturopathy Association of Nova Scotia (ANANS), I have been actively lobbying for regulation in Nova Scotia for many years. I believe as one of the two Acupuncturists and TCM practitioners in Nova Scotia with PhD degrees from Traditional Chinese universities (the other being my husband and clinical partner Dr. Franklyn Chen,) it is my duty to advocate for regulation so patients can be treatment by qualified professionals. . I continuously try to promote Acupuncture & TCM in Nova Scotia by attending various tradeshows and events. I am often am asked to be a guest speaker and lecturer at events, such as the International Women’s Show which is put on by the Federal Government and by Dalhousie University. I recently was elected onto the executive committee for the World Federation of Acupuncture-Moxibustion Societies during the 8th annual WFAS World Conference on Acupuncture in Sydney, Australia. By having the honour to sit on the executive committee, I am able to give Nova Scotia and Canada a voice in the rapidly growing world of Acupuncture Traditional Chinese Medicine. I am hoping that this position will allow me create great progress in lobbying for regulation in Nova Scotia. ef3b7e92-2de2-4241-97b2-cf7734893f3c

Bronwyn Johansen, D.Ac.- Saskatchewan

What do you like about practicing in your area or your clinic?

Saskatoon has been a great place to practice! I moved here in 2011 after practicing in Cochrane, Alberta for 3 years. Even though Saskatoon has population of over 200 000, it’s a very close-knit community and therefore word of mouth has been huge influence in the growth of my practice.

What is your specialty?

I have focused my practice on pre & postnatal care. After graduating from Grant MacEwan University in 2007, I decided to focus on taking continuing education courses in prenatal and postnatal acupuncture. This became even more of a passion for me after giving birth to my son in 2012. I was able to go through the pregnancy and childbirth process while experiencing the benefits of acupuncture first hand. 

What made you join CMAAC?

I moved to Saskatchewan from Alberta where acupuncture is already regulated. I was disappointed to learn that acupuncture was not regulated in Saskatchewan. After doing some research and speaking with other Acupuncturists in the area, I realized that joining CMAAC would be the best option for me at his point.  

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

I would like to see acupuncture regulated in Saskatchewan. I educate every client that walks through my door on the importance of finding a qualified Acupuncturist. Unfortunately there are a lot of individuals in Saskatchewan who practice acupuncture after very few hours of training.

I would like to see more research being published in the field of acupuncture. This is extremely important if we want to see more referrals from the medical community. 

I would also like to see more medical professionals working together with Acupuncturists. Since starting my practice in 2008, I have already seen an increase in the number of referrals from GPs and OBGYNs. For example, I have had several clients see me at the request of their doctors to try and start labour naturally so that a medical induction can be avoided. This is very exciting for me to see and I hope that it continues!

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William Porter- North West Territories

What do you like about practicing TCM/A in Yellowknife?
It’s like being a pioneer on your own in the north, having a large variety of ailments to treat, the diverse backgrounds in the patient base, warm hearts in the cold winter, a chance to educate people.  There is a opportunity to build a deep soul connection with people here.

What is your specialty?  
My specialty would be esoteric acupuncture.  I like the challenge of a mystery, coming up with unique treatments to address some of the more uncommon conditions with which my patients present.  I may see as many as eight to thirteen patients a day, every one of them with different needs.  Choosing the particular approach that will be the most effective gives me the energy to keep going on these long working days.

What made you join the CMAAC? 
Because there is no association in the NWT, no legislation and no regulation of the practice of TCM or acupuncture, I felt a need to associate with CMAAC to maintain my credentials, have a source of continuing education opportunities and build a network of colleagues for consultation and support.  I also appreciate member benefits such as the newsletter and the professional insurance coverage.  The rigorous qualifications required for membership ensure that the organization maintains a high standard, which I appreciate.
 
What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?  
Due to other circumstances in my life, I will be leaving the north to join a practice in Thunder Bay (Red River Acupuncture).  There is a great need and a well-established clientele around the Northwest Territories, and it is my fervent hope that some other TCM practitioners will take up the challenge of life north of 60.  It is a very rewarding part of the country to live in, especially for people who are looking for adventure.  One of the things that would be helpful is to have the Territorial Government enact legislation regulating practitioners of TCM and acupuncture as well other alternative therapies.  This will ensure that the standard of care remains as high as possible for northern residents, while offering them alternatives to western methodologies lock. 

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Pamela Moore- Saskatchewan

What do you like about practicing in your area or your clinic?

The clinic at which I work also houses naturopathic doctors, massage therapists and body talk practitioners. It is situated in a beautiful old home which lends a different type of atmosphere. The goal of the owner has been to create a healing place – a place where people can achieve a balance in their lives. It is a nice environment for both practitioners and clients. We are very busy and my clients are embracing Chinese medicine concepts of health preservation and disease prevention.

What is your specialty?

I would say I am a “general practitioner” – my clients are very diverse and vary in age from their teens through to their 80s. It means treating (in Western terms) menstrual issues, menopause issues, allergies, chronic and acute pain, acute injuries, anxiety and depression (where I find the 5 Element theories particularly applicable), as well as moderating diabetes and hypertension. I particularly enjoy guiding my clients, with their help, from a state of less than optimum health to balance and good health based on Chinese Health preservation concepts.  Because Chinese medicine has so much to offer – multiple forms of acupuncture, cupping, gua sha, tui na, and moxibustion there is almost always something that can be done to assist our clients.

What made you join CMAAC?

I joined CMAAC as soon as I graduated from school in 2001 after the 4 year program at Michener. I wanted to belong to a professional organization that promoted Chinese medicine in all it’s aspects not some watered down version. I particularly admired Professor Cedric Cheung’s untiring efforts to get Chinese medicine recognized and regulated. What he and the CMAAC have accomplished across Canada is noteworthy.

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

My background prior to studying Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture was nursing. I worked as an RN for over 20 years in many different areas and had some wonderful experiences, however, nothing compared to Chinese medicine’s concepts and theories regarding the integration of the body systems. Several of the TCM doctors I met throughout my training hoped for an integration of Chinese and Western medicine to create a unified medicine that would change medical care. That would be the ideal, but in the meantime, the education of the public through successful treatments and exposure to Chinese medicine concepts one person at a time is having significant impact. pamela

Lara Stechyshyn, D.Ac- Saskatchewan

What do you like about practicing TCMA in Saskatchewan?

Being able to practice in my home province of Saskatchewan is rewarding. Sharing my passion with first-time acupuncture recipients, allows me to educate them on the Traditional Chinese Acupuncture.  The smaller communities allow the relationship with clientele much more personal, which branches acupuncture out into other rural communities, close by.

What is your specialty?

I currently do not have a specialty. I find each acupuncture issue different, more exciting and it this helps me to utilize my knowledge and refresh my education.

What made you join CMAAC?

Moving back to Saskatchewan, knowing Saskatchewan is not a regulated province, I knew I had to find an association to call home. Talking with other acupuncturists, CMAAC is the best choice. They are always sending out updated newsletter, having sources of educational opportunities and maintaining my credentials.

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

Due to Saskatchewan not being regulated, I would like to it to be so. Medicinal and Traditional acupuncture are different entities. TCM would be the primary modality offered in the acupuncture field; educating the public on the difference.

  Lara

Simon Leung- Markham, Ontario

What do you like about practicing TCM/A in Markham and Toronto?

Many of our own neighbours and familiar patients reside in this area, they bring much joy to my TCM practice. The patients have easy access to this location because of the good traffic, many can travel from Toronto Downtown, Mississauga, Hamilton, Brampton, Oakville, Waterloo, and even North of New Market to visit this popular place in the Greater Toronto Area. There are many great suppliers here as well for herbal medicine or medical supplies around this locality. Since we have been practicing in this location for around 30 years, we have developed a great clientele.

What is your specialty?

Although the practice of Chinese Medicine is wide, and demands the practitioner to continually research and develop his/her own skills, there are a few diseases that I become very familiar with. I have seen many patients with Respiratory diseases for example different aspects of Coughs and Asthma; Digestive disorders such as Epigastric Pain, Gastric Upset, Diarrhea and Constipation, Diabetes, Acid Reflux or Nausea and Vomiting; Pain or Neurological Disorders such as Painful Obstructions, Facial Pain or Neuralgia, Stiffness and Neck pain, Sprains, Lumbago and Sciatica, Arthritis and Bone Degeneration, and even Sports Injuries.Many patients also come to see me for Infertility and Gynecological disorders and Cancer, which has become very common.

What made you join CMAAC?

I joined CMAAC with the initiative to further the TCM practice in Ontario. I wish to produce a professional standard in TCM in Ontario, and I also wish to help TCM practitioners in developing their own practice. The quality of this association is outstanding, as of fact, during CMAAC’s past years we were able to help our practitioners meet the registration requirements through continual education and training. In the future, we wish to help CMAAC’s members achieve other benefits through insurance and other public regulatory bodies. CMAAC in the future will have many development opportunities in collaboration with other health professions, which will provide other benefits as well to the community.

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

We hope that more TCM schools can be accredited to the university level, or if possible, more universities can offer TCM degrees here in Ontario.We also hope that the Grandparented Class of TCM practitioners can be changed to the General Class, so that they can also contribute their valuable TCM service to the general public. We also hope to see more government support in the profession. Is TCM and Acupuncture an important part of primary care and integrative care? This is certainly important. If TCM can fully collaborate with other regulated health practitioners and receive more of the government’s support, then this will benefit Ontario as a nation.  

                

       simon

Gwen Williams, CMD, Nova Scotia

Why did you choose to this profession?

My background is in science and research. I have a variety of educational credentials, worked in medical research and managed clinical trials for a number of years. While looking to apply to medical school, I fell in love with TCM when one of my children had a health issue that could only be alleviated with acupuncture. I believed that TCM would be the key ingredient to the future success of a modern, integrated medicine and decided to switch career paths.

Where did you study?

I completed a full time 2300 hour, acupuncture program at Eastern College in Halifax while working 2 full-time jobs (managing a seniors home on weekends and building web capabilities for health promoters in the evenings) and parenting 3 teenage children.

What made you join CMAAC?

When I graduated, I joined CMAAC because of its great reputation and long history of good work in promoting the profession.

What is your specialty?

I bring a rich life experience to my practice. I work out of my home, “the cottage”, in Musquodoboit Harbour. My clinic (Eastern Shore Holistic Acupuncture) is warm and welcoming with two treatment rooms and an office area overlooking the lake. Because I live in a rural area, I treat everything from optimizing health in people who are well to supporting the sick who have run out of options. My special interest is in treating vision loss due to degenerative diseases.

What do you like about practicing in your area or your clinic?

I am passionate about the holistic aspects of TCM and understand how the social determinants of health, in addition to lifestyle, emotions etc., can affect well-being. I feel greatly rewarded by what I do and believe the world is “waking up” to the benefits of a holistic, natural medicine. I like to give back and enjoy teaching at the Canadian College Of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (CCATCM) in Bedford. In addition, I am proud to be Vice President of the NS Chapter of CMAAC.

What do you hope to see in the future of TCM and Acupuncture care in your area, or in Canada?

It is an honour for me to be a part of this TCM tradition. I like how the Internet and social media has levelled the information hierarchy and given more people a voice. I try to “spread the good news” and have many followers on Face book, Linked-In and Twitter. I hope to help build a strong professional presence here in Nova Scotia, where our profession is currently unregulated, through social media, teaching, working with CMAAC and most importantly by doing my best to help facilitate healing in others.

gwen

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