The Pulse of Balance – Fall 2021 news and tips

Written by: Sonia Tan

September 26, 2021

News & Tips From The Tan Balance community


I have to admit it has been not easy to sit down and write this next intro to our newsletter. I have been faced with much burnout, and even with the regular medicinal tools that I have been using, one must sometimes admit that what is coming at you is often over and above what you can keep up with. With that during this past summer, I reflected quite a bit on having lived over half my life, having less than half left and what would I like to do with that time left. I also felt a strong need to scale back, recoup, shut out the world, and shudder to say the word in my “middle” age…..retire! What?!?

Before you go down a rabbit hole and a tsunami of thoughts, please avoid worrying. I won’t be retiring…..yet. 😉 However, I will be re-designing my life and teaching schedule for more balance to my own constitutional energetic DNA – Astrological energy. 😉 I encourage everyone to take a step back every so often, and have a look from a bird’s eye view – what is the happiest and most simple life for you that promotes harmony? Just like in Balance Acupuncture, we sometimes need to have a look with a different set of eyes and chart a new strategic course.

Fear not, Astrology and Feng Shui, Luo Vessels are coming, in addition to another book. I have set the outline. Next is creating time and space for me to create the details of the curriculum. Please know that Astrology and particularly Feng Shui are highly specialized areas of consulting and learning, and this may require more dedicated time, resources, effort and learning by you. Luo Vessels is another passion of mind that is incredibly quick and effective, and which I have added my Balance Acupuncture spin on it for more efficacy! What topic would you like to hear first? Do let me know.

With the changes I am slowly putting in place you will start to see more of my team and Certified Balance System Acupuncture practitioners to help lead and teach. Our community and the beauty of this medicine survives with a legacy of know

ledgeable, kind, collaborative and passionate people passing this on. That has always been my intention. To gradually pass all this on… 😎 I’ll do my best to pass as much on before I feel the Sun will set.

I will be around, although sometimes in hiding and am always open to new ideas and topics. Retreat? Teacher training? Please tell me and my team so we can continue to facilitate the flow and dissemination of knowledge and excitement going. 😊

If you are new to Balance, or Balance Acupuncture is your home, I look forward to seeing you in person on e day soon. Feel free to reach out. Let us know what you would like to learn more about, learning options, or any other questions. As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I am a firm believer that our positive common thread, with openness and curiosity, will serve to help take you to new awareness and levels of learning. This learning is not just about Chinese 

Medicine and Metaphysics, it is about yourself and your own evolution.

See you on the on the waves of your journey,




Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP

Teacher Assistant Tips

Fion Chou

Fion Chou, RAc, RTCMP, Certified Balance System Practitioner and Certified Gemologist. She is the Lead Teaching Assistant for the Tan Academy, with 17+ years of practice under her belt. You’ll see her in the Langara College program helping to guide and refine your understanding and skills. Fion’s clinic Healing Path Acupuncture is located in Vancouver, BC.

Protecting Yourself in Practice

Have you ever had this experience, after a whole day of treating neck and shoulder pain, you ended the day with some neck and shoulder tension as well. And after seeing some cases of depression and anxiety you started feeling anxious and depressed yourself? As acupuncturists and Chinese Medicine practitioners, we work with Qi/energy day in and day out, Qi surely affects us in every possible way. So we will have to learn how to block bad Qi (pathogenic) from entering our bodies.

A few weeks ago I had this patient with an acute shoulder injury, she had come in three times in ten days, I gave her fairly standard $LBP treatments adjusted to her needs that pretty much took care of the pain coupled with her physiotherapy sessions. Immediately after her last visit I had an acute attack of migraine aura, right away I couldn’t see clearly and my next appointment had just arrived. I had my patient get ready in the room but I had to go in to inform her that I couldn’t treat her, the aura progressed so quickly I actually couldn’t see. Immediately, she, who is a Reiki practitioner, said it was the result of bad energy from the previous patient. With my permission she, the patient, gave me a Reiki treatment. Within 5 minutes the aura was lifted and we continued our acupuncture treatment.

The point to the story is that I had become very casual with the previous patient since she is an acquaintance/friend that I play sports with and I let my guard down. I didn’t cleanse the energy of the room before and after and I didn’t wear all my protection.

These are the things that I recommend that you consider doing, if you believe in pathogenic Qi which we as acupuncturists should and probably all do anyways. If you have paid attention to what Tan Laoshi wears on her hands you would notice that she has several rings on multiple fingers, the rings are meant to block the patient’s Qi from travelling through her fingers into her body.


  1. Wear stone rings. The colour and the material are best chosen according to your individual Ba Zi Astrology elemental needs. Jade and hematite are some general choices.
  2. Wear a Talisman/Amulet pendant as protection. Any black stone/crystal is grounding and protecting. Or once again, choose a stone based on your individual Ba Zi Astrological elemental needs. For example, white and black colour are both favourable for me therefore I wear several white Jade rings and my talisman pendant is a clear quartz. I wasn’t wearing anything when I treated my patient, like I mentioned I was too casual, there wasn’t a patient-practitioner boundary established.
  3. Smudge with Sage or Palo Santo wood to cleanse the treatment room before and after.
  4. Wash your hands up to your elbow with cold water after each treatment and let them air dry is another good way to prevent the negative Qi hanging around you.
  5. At the end of the day you can use a Selenite crystal on your body to do a symbolic brushing like brushing away the negative Qi.
  6. Place a piece of black tourmaline crystal in the healing space to any negative Qi.
  7. Regular practice of meditation to build up your own golden armour.

Why do I talk so much about Qi? Acupuncture treatment is an energetic treatment, and we are using a physical instrument to affect the patient’s Qi in the channels to balance what’s imbalanced. It is best that we are not part of the equation.

Be Well,
Fion Chou, R.TCM.P.


Balance System Community Spotlight

1) What is your name and what hobbies do you have outside Chinese medicine?

My name is Patrick Dugas, I’m also a professional musician (drums and percussions). I’ve been playing professionally for over twenty years as a free-lance musician all around Canada and Europe. I also run a woodworking shop. I don’t do furniture or stuff like that. I make all kinds of small artistic objects. I don’t think I have any specialty. I thrive on learning new stuff and the shop is an awesome lab where I can let my mind go wherever it wants. I like to let my intuition guide me through the matter I’m working on. It’s a great place to let go and recharge the batteries 😉 My life and my schedule flow around those three spheres. I flow with it, sometimes acupuncture is the main focus, sometimes music, sometimes woodworking. It’s like the sea, always in movement.

2) Where is your clinic/where are you located?

I live in Bonaventure, Gaspésie. It’s a small village near the ocean. I came back here after spending 21 years in Montreal. My family have been living in the area for a couple of generations. My wife Catherine (who’s also an acupuncturist) and I bought a century old bed and breakfast in Bonaventure which we transformed into our home and clinic. We have a daughter Lucie who’s going to turn 7 in December. We run the clinic 4 days a week and we have 3 rooms available to greet the patients.

3) What is your clinical focus?

I treat any case I get but I do get a lot of musculoskeletal pain cases. I used to treat a lot of musicians and athletes when I was in Montreal. So elbows, shoulders, lumbar area, hips, knees and ankles are something I do understand a lot. I also get all the cases where it looks like a puzzle. I get a kick trying solving those 😉 In this area I see a lot of auto-immune cases from fibromyalgia to bigger one like MS. It’s really awesome that we can offer something that helps those people get back on their feet.

4) What led you to Balance System Acupuncture?’

I was first introduced to Dr. Tung’s acupuncture system when I was still in school. Ling Gu then became my best buddy! After a while I realized that the TCM classical approach wasn’t the tool that fitted my mind best. I had that strong feeling there was a better way I could use acupuncture. I started looking around the internet and found videos of Dr. R. Tan! Was I intrigued!! I spent many hours listening to everything I could find on the subject. At the same time, one of my teachers introduced me to Dr. Wang’s palpation methods and treatment methods. It was after that I concluded that a good treatment was like playing a chord on a piano. You don’t need to play all the notes at the same time, you need to play the “right ones”. What’s most important is the coherence between the notes, that’s what gives the right color. So I began practicing like this but I had a hard time finding the right “chords” to get the result I expected. I then bought Brad Whisnant’s books and I was really happy to understand that it’s possible to mix stuff! I bought all of Dr. R. Tan’s books as well and went through them in no time. It was then I took my first After my first Dr. Tan seminar with Dr. Sonia F. Tan everything started to make sense thank God! I had a way, a recipe to start from. A system.

5) How has Balance System Acupuncture changed your practice?

It changed everything. It’s like finding what instrument you want to play. Once you do, you get excited and you go practice practice practice and then you want more and it starts to make more and more sense. I would try to treat a patient with one image and then two and so on. I would challenge myself to treat with only system 1, only system 3, etc. until I had a feel of it. I basically applied my musician experience to my acupuncture learning system. It basically gave me a way of understanding the “chords”, the dynamics of mixing points to get that or that color. It gave me a way to react right away even on those bad days you don’t feel inspired. You always have something to bounce off from. You can always trust the basics and the mathematics of it. I like mixing stuff up, and the Balance system is my favorite instrument to play with. So many toys to play with!! I would compare it to Jazz music. Complex but with a lot of freedom once you start going deeper into it. It became a tool I can be really intuitive with. I can play with it, and can shift stuff around. I’ll feel confident and I feel free. I will forever be grateful to have met Dr. Sonia F. Tan and having the chance to learn all the levels with her.

Patrick Dugas, A



Welcome Cohort 3!

Courses and Seminars by the Tan Academy of Balance Inc or Dr. Sonia F Tan.

Coming up the pipeline! Get registered early!

Inaugural Longevity Symposium

Live Webinar, October 3, 2021
Guest panelist Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM, RAc, RTCMP

Dr. Sonia F. Tan has been invited to speak at the inaugural Longevity Symposium hosted by Yo San University in Los Angeles, CA! She’ll be talking about Acupuncture strategies for approaching chronic diseases and promoting Longevity and Healthy Aging. This is a new topic and a different spin on looking at how to apply (Balance) Acupuncture to chronic conditions.

Attend the online only, one-day live symposium with multiple other panielsts such as Dr. Daoshing Ni, Dr. Mao Shing Ni, Ron Teeguarden and Ken Cohen.


Five Phases of Astrology

Live Recorded Webinar, October 31 2021
With Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM and Dr. Howard Chen, MD

This is an adjunct course to the prerequisite Introduction to Chinese Astrology (alphabet writing) course by Dr. Sonia Tan, and the Ba Zi Chinese Astrology (and Feng Shui) path of learning.

This course will dive deeper into the meaning of the Five Phases in context to Chinese Astrology. Take this course as an adjunct to the learning levels of Ba Zi Chinese Astrology that will eventually unfold with Dr. Sonia F. Tan.


BSA Refinement

Coming Spring 2022

This was Dr. Sonia Tan’s first course she ever taught when she started teaching Balance Acupuncture.

This one-day refinement course goes over your gaps of learning, questions and cases from Levels 1 to 4, with a focus on Head, Face and OBGYN 8 and cases, with Dr. Sonia Tan.

This course is tailored every time, with all students submitting their cases and questions which are discussed with and advised by Dr. Sonia Tan directly. Dr. Tan will present review, refinement, new tips, and her own cases, in addition to addressing specific inquiries.

Look to fill those gaps and refine your learning!

Ongoing classes

Systemic learning and building – Join the Certificate program in 2022

Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Certificate program at Langara College

Balance System Acupuncture Certificate program at Langara College has been transformed to have the option of majority distance/online learning.

Hybrid Program: Both online and in person
In Person Practicum: April & December for hands-on learning, demonstrations and practice.
Certificate program starts May 2022 with July & August off
September to December returns to lectures
Final Exam January 2023

While online teaching and learning is not the ideal and preferred way to teach for Dr. Sonia Tan, it is an adaptable way to learn in the current times. Much of the learning comes from hands-on practice and you will still receive that.

Visit for more details or email for more info.


Webinars are offered through Net of Knowledge.

Coming Soon…

Level 3: Channel Conversion & Level 4: The Twelve Meridian System

Webinars are offered through Net of Knowledge.

Note: These are the basic principles and have less than what is provided and exchanged in a live course, such as cases and questions answered by Dr. Sonia Tan.

FLOW symposium (recording)

Introduction to the Integration of the Sān Cái 三才 – Three Essences (an introduction to Feng Shui)

Enjoy a peek into how Feng Shui is integrated in lifestyle, medicine and health! Discover the synthesis of the Three Essences (Sān Cái 三才) with some simple starter tips and case examples. Learn some starter easy tips on how to adjust your clinic room, office and bedroom for enhanced Qi flow and blaance.

Available Now…

Introduction to Chinese Astrology

This course is an introduction to the basic foundational components of Ba Zi (eight characters) Chinese Astrology, as well as the Five Phases – Wu Xing basics utilized in both in Chinese Astrology and Feng Shui. Learn the Chinese Astrology Alphabet and you keep the recording of the course for life! Great way for learning to Read & Write!

Level 1: Single Systems Balance System Acupuncture & Level 2: Multiple Systems: Balance System Acupuncture

Note: The Level 1 and 2 webinar can go towards qualifying for the Certificate Stream at Langara College in Vancouver, BC. A one day Review and Practical held in April every year is designed for those coming from the webinar stream, and want to enter the Certificate program. However, anyone can take the Review and Practical, which is an in-person session and reviews Levels 1 + 2, Single and Multiple balance systems with demos and hands-on practice. More details are at Langara College’s website or email us for info.

Webinars are offered through Net of Knowledge which are then redirected to your host country’s provider.



Foundations of Balance Acupuncture: A Clinical Reference Manual

Available for Purchase @ Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Eastern Currents. Are you local in the Greater Vancouver area? Purchase direct from Dr. Sonia Tan herself and pick up in Vancouver. Email us for more info.

What is the next book you would like Sonia to write? She has some planned, but always likes to hear from her students. Updates will also be on the Books page on the website.

Book Launch Party Recording

CLICK HERE to watch the video and hear reviews and stories of creating this book.


Zai Jian 再见 (再見)!

Take good care everyone,
The Tan Academy of Balance team

Until next time – our Quote of the season:

​“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
– Anais Nin

Who do you know?

Looking for a Balance System Acupuncture Practitioner? You can find one on the website under Find a Practitioner! The list is constantly being updated. Please let us know if you change office locations and contact info. An address is required for this list due to the connection to Google Maps.

Sonia Tan
Author: Sonia Tan

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