The Pulse of Balance Winter 2021

Written by: Sonia Tan

November 21, 2021

The Pulse of Balance

News and Tips from the Tan Academy of Balance Group Collective!


Winter is such an interesting time of year. We encourage you to find balance in your life as you prepare for the festive season full of celebrations with friends and family, and as our clients fill our schedule using up the last of their extended medical benefits. This watery time of year requires flexibility, creativity and … most importantly rest.

The Tan Academy of Balance team is using the quiet of Winter to develop a new tool for the TAB group collective. We are creating an enduring treasury where we can gather and grow the “Balance System” wisdom from the ancient texts, the work of Dr. Chao Chen, Dr. Richard Tehfu Tan and others. A home for Metaphysics of FengShui and Chinese Astrology as taught by Tan Laoshi’s ancestors and other scholars.

The goal is to build an environment that can cultivate more than Chinese Medicine and Metaphysics understanding, but also promote personal growth and connection. Encouraging and supportive, it will be safe place to ask questions, and will provide a forum to hold discussions about new interpretations, findings or thoughts. Our hope is it will deepen meaningful relationships and inspire learning from one another by sharing our trials, tribulations and WINS. Stay tuned for some exciting news.

Whether you are new to Balance, or Balance Acupuncture is your home, we look forward to getting to know you more. 

Let us know what topics you would like to learn more about, if there are tools you would like to see, or any other questions you have for the team. Feel free to reach out to us and the rest of the TAB group collective on Facebook & … SOON in our new home!

See you on the on the waves of your journey, 

The Tan Academy of Balance Team

Adam, Fion, Howard, Meghan and Tan Laoshi


Teacher Assistant Tips

Respecting the name Laoshi

Repect of the name Laoshi, 老師.

You are an acupuncturist, a TCM practitioner, a Doctor of TCM. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), or rather Classical Chinese medicine is a medicine that encompasses not only acupuncture and herbal medicine but also Chinese metaphysics and philosophy. In fact in ancient China you needed to be able to do all of the above in order to be called a doctor.

Can you be a good practitioner learning this medicine without learning the culture and philosophy of where it came from?

I certainly feel privileged to learn this medicine having grown up with the language and culture. Some of the cultural practices are ingrained in everyday living so as a Mandarin/Chinese native speaker one would also follow and observe cultural rituals without having been reminded what to do.

I wanted to talk to you about Laoshi, 老師, “Teacher, which deserves your utmost respect.” Growing up in Taiwan we would never address our teacher by their first name, we are NOT their equal, we would always call them Laoshi. 老師. One should always regard Laoshi as much as one would regard the wise elders in their tribe. 老師 has the underlying meaning of a master or an expert, who is more senior than you in the chosen field, whom shares their expert experiences with us.

Learning from a Laoshi is not a transnational act, but rather a way of passing on the knowledge to the next generation.

Our Laoshi, Dr. Sonia Tan, deserves the utmost respect from us, therefore I would like to remind all the students to address her as Tan Laoshi or simply Laoshi.

Can we embrace and practice acupuncture more authentically by starting to adopt and learn about Chinese culture and philosophy? I wholeheartedly believe so.

Clinical Wisdom

Dealing with “Laundry List” Patients – What do you do when a new patient comes in with a laundry list of complaints?

Ask them about their most distressing symptoms they would like to address.

  • If they answer everything  then start with any pain symptoms to give them confidence that Balance system acupuncture can help. Don’t be afraid of using just simple single balance treatment.

No pain to deal with? All emotional and mental health symptoms and it is still hard to identify where to start?

  • 12 magical points is what you can do and if you haven’t learned this global balance you can always start with simple JY/SY or JY/YM global balance.

Be Well, 

Fion Chou, RAc, R.TCM.P.
Certified Balance System Practitioner and Certified Gemologist.

Fion 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.

Balance Acupuncture Community Spotlight

1) What is your name and what hobbies do you have outside Chinese medicine?
I’m Jillian Wone, a proud graduate of cohort 2! When I’m not studying Chinese Medicine and learning about business (specifically women in business) I love to work with my hands; cooking, sewing, painting, creating…
Lately I’ve been watching Pasta Grannies on youtube, which is most definitely relaxing; and creating hand rolled pasta with my kiddos, 5 and 9. We made the lasagna from the Pasta Grannies cookbook, which is probably about 400% better than any lasagna I’ve ever had.
We’ve also started making little books to photocopy and send to cousins. Putting pencil crayon to paper and brainstorming ideas has been a great way to be able to connect with my kids. The stories and artwork that children create are quite entertaining!
On my own I like to do yoga with, alomoves or yyoga online. I find practicing at home a more reasonable way to be able to fit a class into my daily schedule. I’m working towards a confident and comfortable handstand.

2) Where is your clinic/where are you located?
I live in Vancouver, BC. We live downtown, in the West End close to Stanley Park, which we visit every time we get the chance to. At least weekly I have deep moments of gratitude when I can’t believe that I get to live in such a beautiful place. My clinic is just across the Burrard Bridge in Kitsilano. On nice/ not rainy days I walk home and enjoy that view!

3) What is your clinical focus?
Simple question, complicated answer!
I’m still figuring that out. This year my youngest began kindergarten and it is the first time since I’ve been a parent (9 years!) that we haven’t juggled preschool schedules and work – my husband is an RMT too, so we make our own schedules.
I finally get to really focus on my work and it is so nice. That said, I’ve been seeing post concussion syndromes, digestive issues, menstrual difficulties, back pain and other MSK pain with great results.

4) What led you to Balance System Acupuncture?
I had a community acupuncture treatment and was very interested in the way the acupuncturist knew, intuitively, where to needle. She was also using points that I NEVER used and I wanted to know WHY?
I learned more about the history online and found that an amazing program was here in Vancouver! After taking the first weekend with Dr. Sonia Tan, I couldn’t not enroll in the Certificate Program.
The Balance Method gives me a way of figuring out the why behind the point prescription. I know that LI4 works for headaches many times, but I also need to know when and why it won’t work so I can use what will. Empirical uses weren’t enough for me.

5) How has Balance System Acupuncture changed your practice?
Totally transformed. THIS is what we should learn in school to be able to practice with efficacy.
Balance Method has given me the confidence to know what to do almost all of the time, and that what I do is actually of measurable benefit to the patient. I’m also an RMT and this gives me a way to use my palpation skills to further diagnose and treat. I add craniosacral to treatments to further open the channels.Rarely do patients leave without feeling a real shift in their symptoms. 
I’m practising Acupuncture in a way that resonates with and makes deep sense to me. That is such a huge gift.

Jillian Wone, RAc, RMT
Salt Acupuncture


Tan LaoShi’s current worldwide teaching schedule is
available at a glance on her website.

Or scroll down to review all Courses and Seminars by  Tan Academy of Balance Inc or Dr. Sonia F Tan.

Starting Soon

Want to get your Feet Wet?!? Register early!

*NEWBSA Refinement (Annual Review Course)

Looking to fill those gaps or refine your learning? Miss Seeing Your Cohort? This was the first Balance Acupuncture course that LaoShi, Dr. Sonia Tan,  ever developed. And it is back! A one-day refinement course – this is a chance to refine your knowledge, ask questions and review cases from Levels 1 thru 4, with a focus on Head, Face and OBGYN 8 with Tan LaoShi (Dr. Sonia Tan).

  • This course is never the same twice, since each student submits their current tough cases and questions.

  • LaoShi will address specific inquiries, present the class cases, review theory, refine approach, share her own cases and tips.

BSA Foundations Refresher & Practical
– April 3, 2022, Vancouver, In-Person

This one day prerequisite “Review and Practical” course was designed for anyone that took Levels 1 & 2 via webinar and now want to enter the Certificate programme. An in-person class that reviews Single and Multiple balance systems (Levels 1 + 2) with demos and hands-on practice.

  • More details available on Langara College’s website or email us

  • May be taken as a refresher course, with permission

Five Phases of Astrology
– RECORDED WEBINAR RELEASE COMING SOON LATE 2021 presented with Dr. Howard Chen, MD

Deepen your knowledge of the Chinese metaphysical concept of the Five Elements / Five Phases – Wǔ Xíng (五行), and understand how it applies to personalities, preferences and health in Bā Zì (八字) Chinese Astrology. Do you know the differences between the Yang Wood and Yin Wood personality types and how excessive or deficient states affect the manifestations of the constitutional self? Do you understand how one’s personality and useful elements react and adapt when there are specific elements interacting with the constitutional self? Learn each of the singular 10 constitutional selves more in-depth. Learn more about the layers and context of how the presence and interactions of the other Wu Xing affects and differentiates how one’s constitutional energetic self presents both internally and externally to the world. Understand how these elements can be used as a tool to understand yourself, your relationships, and your life, including health and lifestyle choices.

Balance System Certificate Program with Langara College

Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Certificate Program
Next Cohort entry is May 2022 (see pre-requisites below)

  • Systemic learning and Skills building at Langara College
  • Join the Certificate program in Early 2022
  • Need a visual explanation, or additional information?

The Balance System Acupuncture Certificate program at Langara College has been transformed to a hybrid style providing more flexible learning options, especially for individuals living outside of Vancouver’s Lower Mainland.

Key Notes about the Certificate Program

Hybrid Program: The certificate program is presented in a hybrid format. This allows for both online and in person learning.

Lecture Weekends: May, June,September & November 2022. While online teaching and learning is not Dr Sonia Tan’s ideal or preferred way to teach, it is an adaptation that allows learning in the current times.

In-Person Practicum: April & December (mandatory). Learning is best when it’s done in-person. These two weekends of hands-on learning, demonstrations and practice allow you to organically learn, as well as cultivate relationships with LaoShi Tan, your cohort and Teaching Assistants.

Exams: Online Exams are held after each level

Final Exam: January 2023, online

Continuing Education Credits: Eligible for 95 CEU credits with the CTCMA & CNPBC (prerequisite and program courses required)

Certificate: At the end of the Program you will have earned a certificate from Tan Academy of Balance. It is also easy to apply for a copy of your Certificate of Balance Acupuncture from Langara College, a well respected public institution of higher learning in Canada.

Prerequisites for Certificate Program

  • Level 1 and 2 webinars through Net of Knowledge
  • BSA Foundations Refresher & Practical course – April 3, 2022
  • Completion of Level 1 and 2 Equivalency Exams
  • Visit Langara’s website for more details & info


Unless otherwise noted, webinars are offered through
Net of Knowledge
and are automatically redirected to your host country’s provider.

  • These webinars discuss the basic principles being taught, but are never as fully realised as a live class would be.
  • As a recording, they lack the normal exchange of energy and/or ideas including case discussions and questions answered by Tan LaoShi

Available Now…

Introduction to Chinese Astrology – Net of Knowledge

Open the door and scratch the surface into the world of Chinese metaphysics, and the harmony of nature and humankind. Get your feet wet with these pivotal and essential basics of Chinese Astrology and Feng Shui, two important tools for living in the Sān Cái 三才 – Three Essences harmony. Refine and elevate your Five Phase and Yin / Yang knowledge. Set in motion your learning of the language of the Chinese metaphysical world! Take your first step on the journey of Chinese metaphysics, Astrology, Feng Shui, and seeing the world with a new language of integration and harmony!

Level 1: Single Systems Balance System Acupuncture – Net of Knowledge

This course provides the basic foundations of five main systems of the Balance Method/System. The systems are rooted in the concept of healing the body by balancing meridians. Student will learn the history of the Balance Method/System, the basis of each of the Five Systems, and the logical processes for determining the meridians to acupuncture, including an easy-to-use format to outline the treatment plan. Learn how to apply the quick, efficient results effectively! Particular attention will be paid to musculo-skeletal conditions in this introductory level. 

Level 2: Multiple Systems: Balance System Acupuncture – Net of Knowledge

This course expands on the basic principles taught in the Balance System of Acupuncture Level I – Single Systems. This class will discuss treatment of functional and internal disorders and how to treat them with multiple systems of the Balance Method / System of Acupuncture. Students will expand on the knowledge from Level I, extending their clinical reach from musculoskeletal (MSK), orthopedics and pain, to treating internal medicine disorders, including the discussion of complicated cases that include both MSK pain and functional internal disorders. 

Coming Soon…

Level 3:  Channel  Conversion – Coming Soon, Net of Knowledge * Already released in some Countries

An abridged advanced course, students will expand their knowledge on the applications of Balance System Acupuncture and discuss a variety of internal syndromes including digestive, respiratory, gynecological and emotional states using “Channel Conversion” and the Yi Jing (I Ching). This class will further explore the channels, the Guas of the I Ching and Multiple System balances. Practitioners will learn how to develop simple treatments that affect the body at a deeper, energetic level. The history of Zang-Fu diagnosis used for herbal diagnosis and treatment will also be discussed and compared to Meridian diagnosis in order to devise effective acupuncture treatments. Finally, there will be case discussion with the practical application of Channel Conversion.

Level  4:  The Twelve Meridian System – Coming Soon, Net of Knowledge

Discover and learn how to apply Dr. Richard Tehfu Tan’s Strategy of Twelve Meridian Points/System to treat the entire body by regulating all 12 meridians. 

Introduction to the Integration of the Sān Cái 三才 – Three Essences (an introduction to Feng Shui) – Coming Soon, Hosted by FLOW symposium

Enjoy a sneak-peek into how Feng Shui can be 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 balance.

Enjoy what you learned in Levels 1 & 2?
These webinars are the prerequisites for the Langara College Certificate Stream in Vancouver, BC.

S’Équilibrer au Québec

Quebec Levels 5, 6, 7 – November 2021


Dr. Sonia Tan continues to write!

As mentioned in the last newsletter, Tan Laoshi has plans to write next about the Luo Vessels and Balance Acupuncture integration.

  • Updates available on the Books page on the website

  • What topic would you like to hear first? Let her know!

Retrospective case series analysis on novel Acupuncture and TCM diagnostic and treatments for Allergic Rhinitis.

Dr Sonia Tan’s dissertation asks “Does the novel integrative Blood plus Balance Method approach of Tan’s Strong Blood Strong Immunity, provide better efficacy and long term outcomes?”

Foundations of Balance Acupuncture: A Clinical Reference Manual

This manual was written to make sure you have everything you need, and more, to get started with Balance Acupuncture. It discusses Balance Methods history, origins and practical theory.  

This easy-to-understand manual is filled with detailed illustrations, informational gems, and case studies. 

Available for Purchase Online – AmazonBarnes & Noble and Eastern Currents

Looking for a Balance System Acupuncture Practitioner?

Find them on the website using Find a Practitioner!

– The list is constantly being updated. Please let us know if you change office locations and/or contact info.
– Address is required, as part of the connection to Google Maps.

Find them on the website using Find a Practitioner!

– The list is constantly being updated. Please let us know if you change office locations and/or contact info.
– Address is required, as part of the connection to Google Maps.

Quote for the Season

“The plants and the earth are resting.

Maybe we should too. The long days will be here soon enough.

~ Rebecca Raiden

Until next time, Zai Jian 再见 (再見)!

Warmest Wishes from the East & West Coasts of Canada,

The Tan Academy of Balance Team

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