The Team

Howard Chen, MD

Howard Chen, MD

~ Lead Grand Rounds Instructor (Certificate Program) & Certified Balance System Acupuncture Teacher ~

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, where he treated patients in a membership model using a blended approach of Western and Eastern principles.

Dr. Chen was also the founding Medical Director of Renown Health’s Medical Acupuncture Clinic and their subsequent Integrative Primary Care Clinic.

A devout apprentice and assistant of Dr. Richard Tan from 2010 to 2013, he was the last and only Physician Apprentice 关门弟子 (闗門弟子) of Richard Tan, OMD. 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. Dr. Howard Chen is the originator of Chen’s Distance Acupuncture Technique (C-DAT). He additionally incorporates YiJing analysis, Muscle Channel Technique, Worsley Five Element, and Chinese Scalp Acupuncture in his diagnosis and treatments.

Dr. Chen is a Board-Certified Family Physician, Board Certified and Fellow of the American Board of Medical Acupuncture, the American Board of Integrative Medicine, and the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. He is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno, and has lectured internationally on Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine.

Suzanne Williams, BA, MBA, RAc, RTCMP

Suzanne Williams, BA, MBA, RAc, RTCMP

~ Certified Balance System Acupuncture Teacher, Head Teaching Assistant & Assistant Director ~

Suzanne Williams, BA, MBA, RAc, is a Registered Acupuncturist, Registered TCM Practitioner, Certified Tui Na practitioner, a Certified Balance System Acupuncture Practitioner, and a graduate of the first cohort! She is a Certified Instructor with the Tan Academy of Balance and is the Head Teaching Assistant for the Balance System Acupuncture program. Balance Acupuncture has changed the way she practices and she looks forward to passing the knowledge on!

In her youth, Suzanne was drawn to healing professions, yet her passion for languages, culture and travel led her over 12 years of study and work in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China.  While living there, she was exposed to Traditional Chinese Medicine formally, as a patient receiving Tui Na, cupping and Acupuncture, and informally as a recipient of OTC herbal at-home remedies.  Suzanne ultimately cultivated a career in research and consulting in China and Canada, and finds that her ability to solve problems for businesses in need of “therapy” translates well into healthcare. The holistic approach of TCM suits her love of thorough investigation, communication and resolution of health issues.

Suzanne studied external martial arts while living in Asia, and has long since been a student of Qi Gong, Tai Ji and other internal martial arts. She is fluent in English, Mandarin and conversational French. Suzanne now spends much of her time volunteering with community organizations, and can often be found enjoying Vancouver’s water in all its forms, whether racing dragon boats in False Creek, or teaching adaptive skiing on the North Shore mountains!

Adam Slamang, RAc

Adam Slamang, RAc

~ Team Leader & BSA Teacher-In-Training ~

Hi My name is Adam Slamang, I am one of the first graduates from Dr. Sonia Tan’s Balance System Acupuncture program at Langara college in Vancouver BC. I opened my acupuncture practice in 2020 in Charlottetown PEI. Starting my practice across the country during COVID has definitely been an interesting experience. Outside of acupuncture I like to think of myself having an entrepreneurial spirit and am always thinking of business ideas to keep me busy and ways to incorporate acupuncture and Balance System into other aspects of my life. Some of my hobbies include writing, acting and spending time in the ocean.

Julie Gazard

Julie Gazard

~ BSA Teacher-In-Training ~

French-speaking ambassador of Balance System Acupuncture (BSA) based in Montreal, Julie takes great pleasure in introducing people to acupuncture and its many benefits. It was initially out of curiosity that she began to study acupuncture in her late twenties. It was to better understand what “Qi” is, this sensation of tingling and circulation in the fingertips that she feels while practicing Qigong and martial arts.

Then, over the years, she began to change her lifestyle, transform her vision of the world and found her vocation — That of promoting with acupuncture, a safe space to connect to our inner Self and activate our body’s capacities to self-heal. She had the opportunity to live in Asia and completed her first clinical acupuncture internship in Vietnam. Then, she offered her acupuncture services for 6 months in a French medical office in Cambodia to the expatriate community. Based in Montreal for almost 10 years, she discovered Balance Method Acupuncture in 2017. It was like a revelation. This brought her answers to many unanswered questions. She is now very grateful to be part of the Tan Academy of Balance as an BSA assistant teacher-in-training. One of her dreams is to pass the knowledge on by travelling and spending time with local communities. Some of her hobbies is Essentrics, a full body movement workout inspired by ballet, fitness and taiji, as well as hikes in nature and discovering new places in the world!

Alex Lake

Alex Lake

~ Administrative Assistant ~

Proudly supporting Tan Academy of Balance behind the scenes, Alex is a skilled administrative professional, collaborative problem solver, and positive communicator who is consistent in her readiness to help others alleviate their worries, woes, and ‘to-do’ lists.

Maria Sola Adell

Maria Sola Adell

~ Events & Marketing Coordinator ~

Maria studied Journalism, Advertising and Public Relations in her home country of Spain. She moved to Vancouver, Canada to study Digital Marketing and continue her professional career.

Maria, through being part of Dr. Tan’s team at her Red Tree Wellness clinic, has come to understand the importance of Chinese Medicine and is a strong advocate of the Balance System Acupuncture method. She is excited to help bring the world of Classical Chinese Medicine, Metaphysics, and all the work that the Tan Academy of Balance team is doing to people around the globe.

In her free time, Maria enjoys reading books at the beach and going to yoga classes.

Rick Tickner

Rick Tickner

~ Operations & Project Manager ~

Rick has been working in operations and project management for over 30 years and has a Leadership Associate Certificate from BCIT. Accustomed to working in a fast-paced environment and resolving issues with favorable outcomes, Rick is also a lean process facilitator. His experience with working with multiple process owners, ensures fair collaboration amongst the group to reach a common goal.

Rick has personally experienced how Balance Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has positively impacted health and is an enormous advocate. He is pleased to help support the continued journey of educating practitioners, which in turn helps improve the health of patients.
In his leisure time, Rick enjoys bike riding, pickleball, and slow-pitch.

Jillian Wone, RMT, RAc

Jillian Wone, RMT, RAc

~ Certified Balance System Acupuncture Teacher ~

I’m Jillian Wone, a proud graduate of Cohort 2!  I live in Vancouver, BC. We live 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. On nice/ not rainy days I walk home and enjoy that view!

I was lead to Balance Acupuncture after 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? 

The Balance Method gives me a way of figuring out the why behind the point prescription. I know that LI 4 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.

Balance Acupuncture totally transformed my practice. THIS is what we should learn in school to be able to practice with efficacy. Balance System Acupuncture 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. Rarely do patients leave without feeling a real shift in their symptoms. I’m also an RMT and this gives me a way to use my palpation skills to further diagnose and treat.

I’m practicing Acupuncture in a way that resonates with and makes deep sense to me. That is such a huge gift. I’m looking forward to helping pass that on!

Jill is currently on leave.

"You can't stop the waves but you can learn how to surf"

John Kabat-Zinn

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