The Pulse of Balance – Spring 2023

Written by: Alex Lake

March 15, 2023


It’s always lovely to reconnect with you all, in the many ways we have. I hope the Spring and Wood season are treating you well, and if they are clunky for you, I hope smoothness reaches you soon.

As many of you know from my lectures, I speak about the lunisolar calendar that the Chinese use, and how it speaks about the warming and increased sunlight trend beginning with the start of Spring that began February 4th with the new Astrology year. Here in March as we reach the equinox, we therefore reach the midpoint of the Spring season. If you live in a region that goes through the outdated practice of moving clocks forward or backward, you may feel this change forces our body into unnatural cycles instead of flowing with natural law. The readjustment for many, is unsmooth. Remember a quick way to reset the body is the wonderful 12 Magical/Meridian System! May Springs’s natural growth affinity gives you the knowledge you need to progress to your next level of your best self. 


  • Practitioner Case Study
  • Special event: Dr. Sonia Tan webinar offering at Eastern Currents FLOW Symposium – Mar 24/23
  • April Learning Lab – Apr 17/23
  • Teaching Program Updates

Below is a repeat of my social media post for you to ponder for the rest of the Spring season. May you flow with natural law well. 

Hello movement! As of March 6, we have entered a Yi Mao 乙 卯 month, a double Wood month that also occurred in February with the Wood Tiger month. It is the second month in a row that is a double Wood month! Did it feel a little pushy for ya? It still may. Wood is the action and growth energy that needs vision, and needs to implement. This may not be planned, it may be the Universe pushing you toward → A course correction? An opportunity? New awareness? If Wood is unfavourable, hide and avoid as many possible hazards as possible. Overthinking? Lots on the plate? Instead of focusing on knowing what to do, un-do. Let it flow and follow your gut.  

This is also when the Insects Awaken 驚蟄 (惊蛰) Jīng Zhé in the Chinese solar calendar. Take a look outside, you’ll see that the creepy-crawlies are in more abundance and active now. You may be wondering where the other Solar marker posts are. It’s my theme going forward to ensure things are more simple + easy, and allow myself more creative and regenerative space. However, I also encourage appreciating the broad strokes and guidance to keep moving forward that exists with general analysis of the cycles of the Universe and Earth energies of Chinese Astrology. 

May the Qi be with you! 

See you when the stars align,

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

Founder, Principal, Chinese Medicine & Metaphysican Illuminator.

Practitioner Case Study

Presented by Suzanne Williams, MBA, RAc


Suzanne Williams, BA, MBA, RAc, is a Registered Acupuncturist, Certified Tui Na practitioner, a Certified Balance System Acupuncture Practitioner, and a graduate of the first cohort! She is also one of Tan Shifu’s Certified BSA Teachers. Balance Acupuncture has changed the way she practices and she looks forward to passing the knowledge on!

The Power and Versatility of OBGYN8

I remember with vivid clarity the first time that Tan Shifu introduced our BSA Cohort 1 class to the OBGYN8 concept and treatment strategy during our Level 2 module. She said with her trademark confidence that it could be used to address any obstetric or gynaecological condition. “ANY??”, we asked, askance… “Yes, ANY” she replied firmly. She gave examples of irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea to ease us in. “What about amenorrhea?”, we asked… “Yes”, Shifu replied. She then gave us more examples – menorrhagia, endometriosis, small fibroids, hormone-related acne, hormone related headaches, PMS symptoms, fertility, cervical ripening, morning sickness during pregnancy. “Any hormonal gynaecological condition”, she emphasised. I felt my mind whirl a little, wondering how on earth I could effectively treat gynaecological conditions without needling Ren or Liver points. 

Four years later, I have witnessed the power of OBGYN8 after administering it time and time again. Although Tan Shifu reminded us that treatment frequency and consistency was essential to OBGYN8 success and that three months of treatment one to two times a week would be needed to see results, I have found that the healing typically takes hold well before the three month mark (as long as the patient is consistent in receiving treatments, of course).

Take the example of my 33 year old patient who came to the clinic seeking help for her irregular menstrual cycle, insomnia and unmanageable feelings of stress and anxiety. She had never had a regular cycle in her life, even in her earliest days after menarche. The only time she had a regular “cycle” was while she was taking a birth control pill from her late teens to mid-twenties. As soon as she stopped the BCP, her cycles became irregular again, ranging from 35-50 days. She knew her period was about to arrive when she started to feel extreme, unmanageable anxiety, tender breasts and lower abdomen cramping. She knew then that her period would arrive (and relieve all of her symptoms) four to five days later. The patient also felt an increase in stress since starting her career about seven years before she came to seek acupuncture treatment. She also had some heat signs – a hot face with a flare in anxiety, constant unquenchable thirst, and occasional night sweats that would soak through her pyjamas. It took her a long time to calm her mind down well enough that she could fall asleep. Occasionally, she experienced templar or parietal headaches, but they would resolve without medication. I’m sure you’re thinking what I was thinking – it’s going to take some time to regulate a cycle that hasn’t been regular for 22 years! However, I knew that OBGYN8 would be a perfect place to start. I added in our stressy friend the Liver channel so that I could form a Jueyin-Shaoyang III-VI truss (within OBGYN8) to help with her overall stress levels and facilitate her ability to fall asleep. We also discussed sleep hygiene (hers was ok but needed tweaking) and after her treatment she set off, ready to put some simple pre-bed habits in place. I also asked her to start tracking her BBT and check her cervical fluid so that we could determine when she might be ovulating. She agreed to (and subsequently adhered to) a treatment schedule of once a week for 12 weeks.

The patient returned for her second treatment one week later. Since her cycle was irregular, she didn’t know exactly where she was in her cycle but based on her BBT she thought she may have ovulated. The main change she felt was in her stress response. She said she felt “better”, but that it was difficult to articulate how – overall, she just felt less frazzled or discombobulated. Her insomnia had changed a little, as she found it easier to fall asleep but didn’t feel completely rested on waking. She did not have night sweats that week but felt a little warmer than usual. I decided to stay the course with Jueyin-Shaoyang III-VI within OBGYN8, but I also added SI1 to give the heat a place to vent.

At the patient’s third visit, she reported that she slept better and was finding it easier to fall asleep, though it still took some time. She had no night sweats or sensation of heat, but she had started to break out with whitehead acne on her face and upper back, which hadn’t happened in a long time. She felt her stress response was much better as she had not felt anxious during situations that would normally put her on “high alert”. She thought she might be having some PMS symptoms due to the breakouts and some very minor cramps. I continued the course of treatment with Jueyin-Shaoyang III-VI within OBGYN8 + SI.

The patient’s period started the day before her fourth visit, on day 28 of her cycle! She felt an increase in anxiety a few days leading up to her period but reported that it was much less intense than before. The one night of sleep disturbance she experienced pre-flow was less frequent than usual. For the past couple of weeks she had fewer nights with night sweats, and intensity of sweat was not as high as usual. Her work had been stressful, but she felt she was not reacting to it as she did before. The only symptom that worsened was the breakouts on her face and upper back. I stayed the course with Jueyin-Shaoyang III-VI within OBGYN8 + SI, and I included some strong imaging for the areas of her breakout within the treatment.

By the patient’s fifth visit, she reported that she felt remarkably good. Her period lasted five days, which was a little shorter than usual, but she had no additional symptoms during her period and she was sleeping well. She did have some more night sweats the last few nights, but she didn’t soak through her pyjamas. Her mood was even and calm even when presented with stress. However, her breakouts were still present. I repeated the Jueyin-Shaoyang III-VI within OBGYN8 + SI treatment, imaging the areas of her breakout.

The patient’s sleep was now solid, and her mood was calm even during stressful situations. Since she  had gone through one good menstrual cycle, I determined that it would be ok to work more on other symptoms that were more persistent, namely her feeling of heat/night sweats and the breakouts. For the next treatment, I balanced her channels with Mag4 heat within OBGYN8. I used the regular Mag4 favourites to see if that was enough to take the heat down. It was not! Although the breakouts started to clear, her night heat and sweats actually worsened for one week. This was an indication that she needed a stronger heat treatment, so I shifted to Mag4 heat with heat sedation on the LR channel within OBGYN8. That was effective enough to knock the night heat and sweats back over the next week, though it was not completely resolved and her acne worsened a little on her jaw and neck. HOWEVER! She had a second period since initiating acupuncture treatment, and it started on day 28 of her cycle. It took her by surprise because she had no PMS symptoms other than the acne flare. The patient was blown away, as she had never in her life had two periods in a row with the same interval. 

Knowing that this can be when people with periods start to feel that they are “fixed”, I reminded the patient that it was important to remain consistent in her treatments for four more weeks to ensure that her cycle was truly regulated. She complied, and came in for another month of weekly treatments. She reported at her next visit that her period had been “uneventful”, saying that it “just came and went” with no cramping or clotting. The sedation on LR to address the heat was the right way to go, as her feeling of heat and night sweats had reduced, and her blemishes were clearing up. Her mood was even.

For the next four treatments, I stuck faithfully to OBGYN8 as eight channels out of twelve is a lot to work with on its own. However, I leveraged the versatility of the strategy by customising on the channels within OBGYN8 as appropriate to address her symptoms, and added a balancing channel or two as needed to work on any blips in stress or heat. For the first two treatments within these four weeks she had “nothing to report” in terms of symptoms. She then felt a little backslide in sleep, sweating, acne, anxiety and hormones, but they were short lived and resolved on their own – her body was now doing its job!

Once the patient’s third period arrived without any unwelcome fanfare on exactly on day 28 of her cycle, we could be confident that OBGYN8 had done its job well. We scheduled two more appointments two weeks apart, then another one month after that. With her hormones back to a solid level of homeostasis, we added treatments for new CCs of seasonal allergies (resolved within two treatments) and neck stiffness (resolved within one treatment) on top of the continued OBGYN8 favourites. After the last OBGYN8 treatment, all of the patient’s symptoms have resolved and her period has continued to remain regular and “uneventful”. Even when she is faced with stressful situations, her anxiety does not flare and any mental tension that arises resolves quickly on its own.

This case, and many others, demonstrates that OBGYN8 does, in fact, address ANY hormonal issue related to gynaecology. The patient’s symptoms were almost entirely related to or worsened by hormonal imbalance. By staying the course of OBGYN8, all the while utilising its broad channel coverage to customise the needling, and then leveraging the ability to create new trusses that addressed the patient’s specific symptoms, OBGYN8 sent the messages that this patient’s body needed to balance itself. Regulating 22 years of irregular cycles starting in eight treatments is proof enough for me of the astonishing power of OBGYN8. 

Dr. Sonia Tan Speaks at FLOW Symposium

It is an honour for Dr. Sonia Tan to be speaking at the Eastern Currents 2023 FLOW symposium March 24-26/23 and to be in the company of the great Jeffrey Yuen.

Day 1 intensive with Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM

March 24, 2023

8:30am PDT, 11:30am EDT

Online or Live in-person

Course Objectives

  • Introduction to Holography, Mirror & Imaging systems.

  • Understand about five main systems of Balance System Acupuncture.

  • Learn the evaluation of the Mirroring and Imaging Formats.
  • Protocols for use of distal points in order to avoid aggravating the area of discomfort with special attention to Musculo-Skeletal conditions.

An intensive all day lecture focusing on:

  • Holography → microsystems, mirror/image maps and how to use them more effectively
  • Special Points → effectiveness explanation and how to use them for better clinical outcomes. This includes some Master Dong points.
  • Single Systems Balance System Acupuncture → learning the 6 Balance Acupuncture strategies in conjunction with holography, and how to understand its use for enhancing your clinical outcomes.

If you took Level 1 of Balance System Acupuncture Foundations with Dr. Tan before, this is a different and modified course. We hope to see you again where you’ll find both more gaps to fill and new learnings occur.

If you’ve been curious about learning about Holography and/or Balance Acupuncture, we hope you’ll join Dr. Tan for this introductory course!

For those that have taken the Tan Academy of Balance’s webinars of Balance Acupuncture Levels 1-4, this is a great review with new content, but more than that, Dr. Tan would love to meet you!

If you cannot attend in person, you can attend by livestream online!

April Learning Lab – Apr 17/23

It’s Spring Season!

Join Suzanne and Adam this April for the next installation of the learning lab! This time around we are opening the floor to your questions about imaging. Do you want clarification on an image that is stumping you or have you been curious about which image is better for which ailment? This is the Lab for you!

Join online for 1 hour from wherever you are!
We’ll begin at 1:00pm Pacific time on April 17/2023!

Teaching Updates

BSA Cohort 4 has begun! 

Look to the TAB website for more information on this special certification program

Cohort 5 is set to begin 2025

Things to keep in mind about our unique Balance System Acupuncture Certificate program:


  • Tan Shifu and the program she designed teaches in a clear, systematic way so that students know how to build a treatment plan using the strategies taught.
  • Customization and refinement – this is the golden nugget for practitioners who have been practising Balance but haven’t studied with Tan Shifu before. It takes treatments to another level.
  • There is breathing room in class and between classes to ensure students really absorb and understand the advanced concepts, so they know how to apply them. 

Exciting Mentorship Opportunities in 2023

All programs are full!

Extra Channels and Vessels Mentorship
 1.5 years, 4 meetings per year, in-person only Vancouver, Canada.
With Dr. Yvonne Farrell, DAOM
 Inquire with for more information.

All spots are filled. Waitlist is open. Next Cohort entry in 2025

Certified Chinese Astrology Practitioner Mentorship
2.5 year mentorship, 3 meetings per year, beginning June 2023, hybrid delivery (in-person & online), by application only.
Inquire with for more information.

All spots are filled. Waitlist is open. Next Cohort entry in 2026

Recorded Webinars


BSA levels 1,2,3&4

Learning the prerequisite language of Astrology (Branches, Stems and Five phases)


The Foundations of Balance Acupuncture Dr. Sonia Tan continues to write!

  • Dr. Sonia Tan wrote this book with the intention that it be a reference textbook to Levels 1+2: Single + Multiple Balance. It is an essential clinical reference.
  • Updates to new writings are also available on the Books page on the website.

The International French Version of The Foundations of Balance Acupuncture is Now Available!

Want to refer your patient?

 Find trained or certified practitioners in your area.

Looking for More?

Gain direct communication with Shifu Tan & the Teaching Assistants Community and support of like-minded practitioners.

~ Inspiring Confidence ~ Creating Balance ~ Motivating Evolution ~

Alex Lake
Author: Alex Lake

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