The Pulse of Balance – Winter 2023

Written by: Alex Lake

November 15, 2023

The Pulse of Balance

Seasonal Newsletter

from the Tan Academy of Balance team!


  • Seasonal thoughts from Dr. Tan, DAOM
  • Practitioner Case Study – by Dr. Howard Chen, MD
  • Upcoming public seminars
  • Mentorship program updates
  • Tan Balance Hub updates


Welcome to our Winter extended edition of The Pulse of Balance – the Tan Academy of Balance Newsletter. Our extended edition each season near the equinoxes aims to add in some more tips to keep you motivated! The season of Water & Lì Dōng (Stand (Up) Winter) 立冬 began on November 8/23 at 02:00 in conjunction with the Guǐ Hài 癸 亥 Water Boar month. I spoke about this briefly on my social media account, and I’ll revisit some of this again here with some extras:

  • This is a double water month of both Yin + Yang Water, with a dash of Yang Wood hidden within the Boar. 
  • A strong, bold, intuitive go-getter, the Boar is one that loves to create, evolve and be helpful to humanity, while having fun! 
  • The Water from the heavens this month will amplify the Water within the Boar, making the Water stronger and very sensory, even flooding and at times. 
  • Water is very sensory and intuitively intelligent. It is the wise mind, the gut wisdom.
  • The strength of the Water is tempered only slightly by the need for the hidden Yang Wood to grow and move forward. 
  • This month, and this Winter will have a flood of water, and it IS possible to overwater a plant. 
  • So, the question always is for balance, do you need water or need to stay away from water? On the flip side, to get through this season, will you live in fear, or in wisdom?
  • Be prepared on a global scale to be flooded with emotions or sensations that are either unfamiliar or hidden. 
  • ☝🏻 Boars tend to self-sabotage, so keep in-check impulsiveness. 
  • ✋🏻 Evolve by: letting emotions flow + mindfulness + learned action = the theme this month.
  • Listen to your gut / wise mind 👉🏻 What is it telling you?
  • 👉🏻 What is best for you to have flow, and avoid stagnancy and/or sabotage? This is time to break that down.

☝🏻 Embrace the theme this month of regulating your senses, mental flow and put one foot in front of the other. A double Water month may have you cringing on one hand with dampness, hormones, emotions going erratic. On the other hand, it may be just the thing someone needs to find peace and nourishment. A likely go-to for balance this month: Shaoyin-Shaoyang III-VI. ✌🏻

May you have a smooth Winter!

See you online, in-person, or in the Tan Balance Hub,

We hope to see you soon!

Alex & Tan Shifu and the Tan Academy of Balance Team

Practitioner Case Study

Presented by Howard Chen, MD, FAAMA, ABOIM

Adam Slamang, RAc

Dr. Howard Chen, MD, FAAMA, ABOIM, is a semi-retired Physician, Board Certified in Family Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Lifestyle Medicine. Dr. Chen was the founder and director of The Chen Center for Integrative Medicine in Reno, NV. With the Tan Academy of Balance, he serves as Lead Grand Rounds Instructor (Certificate Program) & Certified Balance System Acupuncture Teacher, Dr. Chen is a Certified BaZi Consultant and one of the “First 16” of Da Shi 大师 (大師) Richard Tan’s BaZi program. Dr. Chen’s primary Chinese Medicine techniques include Balance Method Acupuncture and BaZi Birth Chart Analysis.

BaZi Case Study

Client Info: 58-year-old female, interested in understanding what she needs to look for in a male significant other.

From the Chinese Calendrical (Ba Zi) perspective, her constitutional element (Day Master) is that of Deficient Yang Fire, thus needing fire and wood elements for energetic balance. Again, based on the Ba Zi perspective, her Spouse / Significant other position is Yang Metal, and her secondary element is Yang Earth.

With her Deficient Yang Fire constitution, she will naturally seek to increase her exposure to fire and wood elements. Thus, she will feel a kinship and ease of interacting with individuals who present with these elemental characteristics. While this “ease of interaction” is essential for communication and friendship, the spark of passion and excitement, especially important in relationships for those with fire constitutions, is strongly ignited with a five element Kè (剋) relationship.

Thus, a romantic relationship with a male with an Excessive Yang Water constitution would free this deficient Yang Fire female to act as her most authentic self within the relationship because an Excessive Self needs output and influence to sedate itself, which for Water equates to Wood and Fire. In addition, both he and she would be balanced by the wood element, so they could participate in physical activity and dreams of making big plans together. While she may be drawn to the notion of a Yang Metal significant other (based on the Significant other position in her Ba Zi chart), the effort that it would take for her Yang Fire constitution to Kè (.i.e., melt) the metal could lead to a discrepancy of effort vs. reward. It’s best to find a partner where both helpful elements match, hence the values and ideals are more aligned.

Upcoming Public Seminars

January Learning Lab – Jan 22/24!

Open Questions Lab

The next Earth month is almost here, and you know what that means…

It’s Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Learning Lab time! 

Join Suzanne and Adam for the next installment of the quarterly Learning Lab! This time around we are hosting an open question and answer session, opening the floor to any and all Balance or Tan Academy of Balance related questions! If you have a specific case you would like us to possibly go over, send it to

Who should join? Students interested in diving deeper into channel theory, holography and Classical Chinese medicine.

Strongly Recommended PREREQUISITE: Those who have taken a minimum of BSA Levels 1 and 2 (Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Foundations – Level 1: Single Systems + Level 2: Multiple System balancing) through Tan Academy of Balance (in person or webinars) or an equivalent course through another provider.

$7 for the hour, free for (premium) members of the Tan Balance Hub (the private Tan Academy learning community). Coupon code can be found in Tan Balance Hub on the Activity Feed. Non-members can find the registration link in the Events tile.

Join online for 1 hour from wherever you are!
We’ll begin at 1:00pm Pacific time on Jan 22/2024!

* Learning Labs are now recorded, and available afterwards on the new Tan Balance Hub Members Area. Sign up as a premium member for access to the members area! 

Please note that CEUs are available only for those in
live attendance of Learning Labs. 

In-Person only Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Foundations: Levels 1+2 Single + Multiple System Balance Seminar 

December 1-3, 2023
In-person only in Vancouver, Canada

Only 9 spots left!

This is a LIVE IN-PERSON ONLY COURSE with a practical component! Hands-on practice with Dr. Tan and her teaching assistant(s). This course provides knowledge and skills of the basic Foundations of Balance System Acupuncture (BSA), Level 1: Single System Balance and Level 2: Multiple/Global System Balance.

In Part One, learn Balance System Level 1: Single Systems and the basic structures of the five main systems of Balance System Acupuncture, an evolution of the Balance Method. The systems are rooted in the concept of healing the body by balancing channels. Students will learn the history of the Balance Method/System, the basis of each of the Five Systems, and the logical processes for determining the channels to acupuncture, including an easy-to-use format to outline the treatment plan. A detailed explanation of the Holography (Mirroring and Imaging) Formats will also be explained to assist participants in effective point selection. Dr. Tan will show how to use distal points in order to avoid aggravating the area of discomfort and will include demonstrations and hands-on practice. Particular attention will be paid to musculo-skeletal conditions in this introductory level.

Part Two expands on the basic principles taught in the Single Systems: Balance System Acupuncture Level I. Part two will discuss treatment of functional and internal disorders and how to treat them with multiple systems of  Balance System Acupuncture. Students will expand on the knowledge from Level I (part 1), 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. The Holography (mirror and imaging format) will be further discussed and how it is used in clinical practice to treat internal issues and body pain. Advanced treatments will be discussed for use in clinic such as an Eight-Channel combo for women’s health and a Nine-Channel combo for digestive disorders. A Four-Channel combo will also be discussed as a treatment strategy to treat bronchial disorders, cardiology symptoms, digestive disorders and urogenital diseases. Practitioners will understand how to approach complicated cases involving multiple channels in clinical practice, have hands-on practice with newly introduced acupoints and techniques, and have feedback from the teaching team.

Prerequisite: A license to practice Acupuncture*

*Any health care practitioner who is legally able to practice Acupuncture in their jurisdiction, with a minimum 250 hours of Acupuncture and foundational training. Acupuncture students that have completed Year 2/knowledge of all channel flow and acupoint location and needling.


$850+tax for the 2 day seminar.
A Black Friday deal will be in effect Nov 15 until Nov 26/23! Don’t miss it!

Optional certification test February 11, 2024 to qualify for as Certified in BSA Foundations, the Certificate stream, AND entry into the BSA Certificate program beginning fall of 2024.

See our Teaching Schedule page on our website for the
Steps to Register

Questions? Email us at

All Tan Academy of Balance mentorship programs & BSA Equivalency Test Information Sessions

TAB Programs & Equivalency Test Online Information Sessions Dates:

Monday Jan 29/24 & July/24 (Date TBD)

Have questions about the Tan Academy of Balance mentorship programs we have to offer? Want to learn about the Three Essences of Balance: Astrology, Feng Shui and Classical Chinese medicine?

Look no further! We are excited to offer 2 online information sessions in the new year, showcasing our three current programs and inviting you to connect with our instructors, ask your questions, and learn about enrollment and program requirements.

Join us on Monday, January 29/24 for our first All Programs Information Session, including specific information about our upcoming BSA Equivalency Exam & Practical taking place on February 18/24.

Email for more information.

Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Certificate Mentorship Program –
Cohort 5

Program & Equivalency Test Online Information Sessions
Monday Jan 29/24 (Register Below)
& July/24 (Date TBD)

Cohort 5 Applications open: July 1/2024

The Balance System Acupuncture Mentorship Certificate Program includes all Advanced levels of Balance Acupuncture (3-9), plus Grand Rounds classes of adjunct topics, cases, more practical feedback time and guest lecturers. The program explores many strategies to effectively deliver more immediate, lasting results. Based on a long lineage of ancient, authentic classical Chinese medicine teachings and applied channel theory, the Balance Acupuncture mentorship Certificate Program brings Acupuncture to life!

Certification Mentorship Program (hybrid delivery) begins with
Level 3: Channel Conversion → September 13-15/24!

Prerequisites: Completion of BSA Levels 1 and 2 (Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) Foundations – Level 1: Single Systems + Level 2: Multiple System balancing) through Tan Academy of Balance (in person or webinars), the Equivalency Tests, and Practical components (if not previously completed), to equate BSA Foundations Certification.

Look for more info in the coming newsletters or attend our info session to be in the know sooner!

Email for more information.

Tan Balance Hub Updates: Membership Fees + New Tan Academy of Balance (TAB) Teaches Tile

We’re pivoting – again!

Introducing the new TAB Tips Tile on the Hub!


Look soon for video demos and tips as well as written cases about all things San Cai! Involving all areas of Classical Chinese Medicine & Metaphysics, you’ll have access to the TAB teaching teams quick tips and inspirations on Balance Acupuncture, Chinese Astrology and eventually, Feng Shui!

Important changes coming!

Since launching our Tan Balance Hub app in summer 2023, we have offered two options for engaging with our teachers and the Tan Academy of Balance online community. Come January 1/2024, the Tan Balance Hub will require paid membership for all members.

Those currently registered on the Free side, look to your Tan Balance Hub direct messaging push notifications for an amazing discount offer to join the merge into the premium membership. The benefits of belonging to the Premium Members side are plenty! Where else can you get direct and qualified help, continued support, a like-minded community and fresh content & inspiration that is iOS and Android app friendly? We hope to see you on the Hub!

If you have yet to, sign up to Join the Tan Balance Hub here!

Continued Learning Resources

         Recorded Webinars


Net of Knowledge: Dr. Sonia F. Tan

BSA levels
1, 2, 3 & 4

Astrology &
Feng Shui
introductions and prerequisites

Course-only & CE Options Available

AcuPro Academy

Whole-Body Scalp Holography Acupuncture

Tan Academy of Balance Books

Dr. Sonia Tan authored this book as a reference textbook for BSA Levels 1+2: Single + Multiple Balance. It is an essential clinical reference.

Available in English & International French!

Join the Hub!

Find a Practitioner

Access the free section of info including TAB Teaches (quick tips & insights) or dive deeper to the Members side → Learning Lab recordings, community support of like-minded practitioners, direct communication with Tan Shifu & the TAs, your practice listing on our website, and more!

Find a Practitioner!
 Find trained or certified practitioners in your area.

~ Inspiring Confidence ~ Creating Balance ~ Motivating Evolution ~

Alex Lake
Author: Alex Lake

Administrator & Registrar

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