Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on the flow of energy, or electrical currents, through our bodies. We use acupuncture and moxibustion to correct this flow when it becomes stuck in an unhealthy pattern. We use herbal medicines to chemically and energetically adjust unhealthy patterns.
What if we imagined our body/mind/spirits as marvellously balanced ecosystems of trillions of cells, all working together for the benefit of the whole? How then might we work to maintain and/or regain the dynamic balance of these systems when, for example, the earth gets too soggy or muddy, summer heat dries up the the rivers and streams, or a pathogenic invasion interrupts the healthy functioning of the airways?
We strive, through our practice, to find these imbalances or obstructions and help you regain your natural and fundamental inclination towards health and wellness.
Our extensive training and experience in Traditional Chinese Medicine provide us with a sophisticated healthcare model which has been modified and honed over thousands of years to become a valuable complement to our modern western healthcare model. It offers us a unique way of looking at health and illness, and complementary and/or alternative options for treatment.
Because our practice is committed to serving the needs of our community, we treat a wide range of conditions, from recovery from injury and surgery to chronic pain, and from common cold to chronic degenerative disease.
About Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine is deeply rooted in a blend of Chinese philosophy and the development of the culture and medicinal needs of the population over many thousands of years. The practice today is a contemporary science and art which has emerged from these roots and the empirical results of thousands of years of modification and development of techniques and medicinal substances which have proven over time to be useful and effective for modern life.
TCM is a sophisticated and affordable complement to our modern western medicine, offering a different perspective and unique treatment modalities. It is a truly holistic model which emphasises harmonising our internal and external environments.
Diagnostic tools include traditional pulse taking, palpation, and tongue inspection, as well as a thorough medical history and detailed assessment from a TCM perspective. Treatment techniques include acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, the prescribing of herbal medicines, acupressure and paediatric massage, and dietary and lifestyle counselling.
What to Expect
Your first visit will include your initial consultation and first acupuncture session, and take longer than subsequent visits. If you are seeking Chinese herbal medicines rather than, or in addition to acupuncture, you can expect to leave this first session with your herbs.
A complete medical history will be taken and you will be asked about your symptoms, including some questions which may seem to you to be unrelated, but which will help us differentiate your TCM pattern from other possible patterns and assist us in establishing the most effective treatment strategy. Your session, file, and all information collected is entirely confidential unless you give permission for it to be shared.
Important components of your TCM physical examination will include, but may not be limited to, inspection of your tongue and palpation of your pulses at each wrist.
Our acupuncture needles are made of sterilised surgical steel. They are extremely fine, only just thick enough to not crumple when inserted. We will sterilise your skin and let you know when each needle is to be inserted. You will always have new needles, which we dispose of in a Sharps medical waste container immediately after use. Your needles may be in for a moment, and immediately removed, or be left in for 20-45 minutes, depending on treatment strategy. They may be placed in your back or front, at the site of your injury or illness and/or at other locations on your body.
Most people experience a very mild to strong sensation, depending on the needle technique being used, the location of the needle, and individual sensitivities, but rarely experience the sensation as painful. This sensation subsides quite quickly. You can also expect to feel some sensations elsewhere in your body as the treatment takes effect. Most people find this fascinating rather than concerning. As the sensations subside, you can expect to feel comfortable and quite relaxed. Many people fall asleep on the treatment table. Others have questions and this is a good time to ask about your TCM diagnosis and treatment and the plan going forward.
The herbs we use come through a local supplier (a colleague with whom I studied in the 1980’s) who has visited the factories where they are processed and can vouch for the quality of the product and the ethics of the companies. We only buy products from companies we know well and trust that they use organic materials where possible, which do not come from endangered species and have been processed under optimal conditions. We use tinctures, tablets, capsules, and have syrups especially for children. We also have the option of preparing a custom formula from individual powdered herbs, to be consumed as a tea.
Some people experience immediate relief of their symptoms, while some conditions may take a series of three to ten acupuncture sessions for significant lasting results. You may need to take your herbal formula for only a few days, while chronic conditions may require months of herbal medicines and modifications to your formula according to the season or with changes in your symptoms. Some conditions may not respond significantly to treatment.
We treat a wide range of people and conditions and will be happy to speak to you specifically about the possible effectiveness of TCM treatment in your case.
Dr. Catherine Shaw
Dr. Traditional Chinese Medicine
I am a pioneer in the field of Traditional Chinese Medicine in BC. My journey began in the early 1980’s, and has taken me from assisting for several years in an acupuncture and herbal medicine clinic in rural Mexico to graduating in the first class from the first school of Traditional Chinese Medicine in BC.
I have been in private practice since 1988, and have earned through postgraduate studies the title and scope of practice of Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I am a proud founding and managing partner of the Bowen Island Wellness Centre, where my practice has been rooted since 1999.
Although my most valued teachers have been my patients themselves over many years of practice, I am also extremely grateful for the access I have had to teachers from North Anerica, Mexico, Europe, and the Far East. My passionate investigation into the extensive and fascinating field of TCM continues daily.
I graduated from the University of Portsmouth (UK) in 2010 with a first class Honours degree in Acupuncture. I then spent 5 years running my own acupuncture clinic in my local doctors’ practice, working predominantly with musculoskeletal pain. Using acupuncture and other TCM therapies like guasha, cupping, moxibustion and one of my favourites, electro-acupuncture, I found that these therapies helped to promote the circulation of Qi and Blood, and help heal the injured tissue.
Working with chronic and systemic health conditions, I became interested in the role that diet could play as a means to continue the therapy at home. I absorbed all the books I could find on Chinese Dietary Therapy, and still I wanted to know more. I wanted to know about the role that specific nutrients played in the body, and how an impaired bodily function could be addressed using these nutrients. I decided to train as a Naturopathic Nutritionist at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London (UK), and received the award for Clinical Excellence upon graduation in 2014.
The key to my approach is that I allow myself extra time in clinic to thoroughly investigate my client’s story. My goal is to understand the symptoms AND the root cause. There are many roads that lead to Rome, but understanding the path you have taken is, in my opinion, the most important diagnostic criteria. My blend of eastern and western training provides me with a broad perspective with which to give the appropriate recommendations.