Thanks for your interest in the services I provide from my practice in Mississauga – a combination of Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Bioenergetic Testing and Nutritional Counselling. Here, you’ll find each of these explained in a little more detail. Please note that in addition to Acupuncture and TCM, I also provides Needle-less Acupuncture treatments for those who wish to experience the benefits of Acupuncture but who are averse to needles.
In addition to treating patients for a range of health conditions, I also have additional hands-on training in Pain Relief, Fertility issues, Cancer and Stroke Recovery. Please refer to Conditions Treated, Pain Relief, Fertility, Cancer and Stroke Recovery for further information on these areas of treatment.
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
More and more people are coming to choose Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM as it’s often referred to) as this form of healthcare can work so well in addressing health issues which may not otherwise be easily resolvable. Traditional Chinese Medicine is the second most practiced medical system in the world (after western medicine). Both Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can also complement western medicine very effectively and have been proven to be effective in treating a wide range of illnesses and disorders. The World Health Organization and the National Institute of Health recognize acupuncture as being effective for numerous conditions.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used medical procedures in the world. The known history of acupuncture dates back at least 5,000 years ago (to the New Stone Age) with acupuncture needles made from Bian Stone having been excavated from various archaeological sites in China.
The basis of Acupuncture is that the body has an energy force within it known as Qi (pronounced Chee). Qi travels through the body along special pathways known as Meridians. These pathways can become obstructed, deficient, or excessive. This creates an irregular energy flow in the body, causing illness. Acupuncture treatment is a therapeutic method in which very fine needles are used at various specific points along the patient’s meridians (energy channels). The effect of the needles is to restore the balance of the patients energy, thereby improving health.
Today, Acupuncture is practiced in many Eastern and Western countries to treat various types of diseases and pain. Acupuncture is used to encourage natural healing, improve energy, reduce or relieve pain and improve the function of affected areas of the body. It is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative or adjunct to medications or even surgery. Relief is often obtained with acupuncture when traditional medical therapies have failed. Patients who have tried acupuncture are usually amazed and pleased with the outcome and tell their friends. Also recent clinical research supports the efficacy of acupuncture for a variety of conditions and more and more people have acupuncture covered by their health insurance plan.
For those who desire the benefits of Acupuncture but who are afraid of needles, or for babies and children, I provide needle-less acupuncture and also use techniques such as Bianstone Therapy. I also uses electro-acupuncture as well as auricular acupuncture where indications are that this would be of benefit to my patients.
Please go to the Acupuncture Page on this website for further information on Acupuncture.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (often referred to as TCM) is a complete medical system that has been practiced continuously for more than five thousand years. TCM takes a deep understanding of the laws and patterns of nature and applies them to the human body. At the heart of TCM is the tenet that the root causes of illnesses, not their symptoms, must be treated.
TCM is made up of a number of treatment modalities, which include Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Tuina Massage, Cupping, Skin Scraping, Moxibustion, Medical Qigong, Foods for Healing and Medicinal Liquors. As such, it is an integrated system of medicine which emphasizes non-invasive practices and the use of natural herbal remedies.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Herbal Medicine has been used in China for more than five thousand years continuously to treat a wide range of ailments up to and including chronic diseases. Herbal Medicine is often used in conjunction with Acupuncture and to enhance treatment effectiveness. Over 3,200 different herbs and some 300 minerals and extracts are used, with hundreds of formula used. The unique characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine is the degree to which formulation is done.
In other forms of herbal medicine, especially western herbal medicine, herbs are often delivered singly or combined into very small formulas of herbs with the same function. In contrast, Chinese herbalists rarely prescribe a single herb to treat a condition, creating formulas instead. A formula usually contains from one to as many as twenty or more herbs and must be tailored to the individual patient. This underlines the reality that two people with the same western medical diagnosis may have completely different Chinese medical diagnoses and corresponding herbal formulas.
What can chinese herbal medicine do for you? In combination with other TCM modalities such as acupuncture, your treatment will be more comprehensive, yield better results and a better overall prognosis for recovery. As a professionally trained Herbalist (Bernadette also teaches Chinese Herbal Medicine at the Toronto School of Traditional Chinese Medicine) Bernadette is committed to making sure you receive the herbal formula that is appropriate to your condition – and to do this she ensures she uses the best herbs available.
Please refer to Traditional Chinese Medicine for more detail.
Tuina is relatively new to the West but its roots in China are ancient. Archaeological studies have dated it back to at least 2,700 BC, making it the forefather of all forms of massage and body work that exist today from shiatsu to osteopathy. Throughout its history, tuina has been developed, refined and systematized by doctors in the colleges and hospitals of Traditional Chinese Medicine throughout China.
Tuina is a unique form of remedial massage typically used for medical purposes instead of relaxation. Through the application of massage and manipulation techniques to stimulate related acupuncture points, channels and muscles, Tuina works not only on the muscles and joints but also establishes a harmonious flow of Qi, allowing the body to heal itself naturally. Tuina can be used alone to improve circulation and strengthen the body, or in synergy with acupuncture and herbs for the treatment of many diseases.
Please refer to Tuina Massage for more detail.
Skin Scraping (Gua Sha)
Skin Scraping is a healing technique used in traditional chinese medicine where the skin over specific meridians and acupuncture points is pressed with with repeated strokes using a smooth edged tool or stone that results in stimulation and the appearance of small red patches. From a Chinese medicine perspective scrubbing helps to dredge the meridians, activate the flow of Qi and blood, invigorate Yang Qi, remove old blood and toxins stuck at the site of trauma, regulate the internal organs and enhance the body’s resistance to disease.
Also, it has a very quick effect on painful disorders, such as stiff necks, acute back pain, etc. Scraping can provide immediate relief to painful and stiff areas of the body. I use Bian Stones for scraping. Bian Stones are a special type of stone formed from Sibin Pumice, a stone with a unique chemical structure that is known to have been used thousands of years ago – and in fact the first known acupuncture needles were made from Bian Stone.
Please refer to Skin Scraping for more detail.
Cupping is a very traditional method of treatment used in Chinese medicine for over 3,500 years. Cups come in various different sizes and are applied directly over pressure points, along the channels/meridians or in an area where there an energy imbalance is diagnosed (such as the back or shoulder). Suction is then applied to ensure the cups adhere to where they have been placed. Traditionally, suction was created by “fire-cupping” or by water suction using boiling water to heat the cup. Nowadays, cupping uses a suctioning device to withdraw air or alternatively, flexible silicone cups are used.
Depending on the condition being treated, the cups will be left in place from 5 to 20 minutes. Several cups may be placed on a patient’s body at the same time. Small amounts of medicated oils or herbal oils may be applied to the skin just before the cupping procedure, this makes it possible to move the cups up and down to cover particular acupoints or meridians after they have been applied. By pulling the superficial layers of skin and muscle upward, the flow of energy, blood and lymph are greatly increased which in turn releases toxicity and pain. The increased blood flow also speeds up healing to the area and often alleviates the underlying health issues.
Once cupping starts on the skin, the cups may remain stationary for 5 to 20 minutes, .or may be slid across the skin with the aid of an oil lubricant or lotion. Cupping can leave some discoloration of the skin but there is no pain and it fades within days. Cupping therapy is a helpful technique for many conditions, but like all treatments it is not suitable in every situation or for all body types.
Please refer to Cupping for more detail.
Moxibustion is a therapeutic technique generally used in conjunction with acupuncture, acupressure, cupping and Chinese herbal medicine. Moxa mugwort (Chinese wormwood, Artemisia vulgaris) is burned directly over the skin at acupuncture points. Practitioners use moxa to warm regions and acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating circulation throughout the points to induce a smoother flow of blood and qi. The technique employs burning moxa and there are a number of methods for this.
Unfortunately, due to fire regulations and building insurance restrictions, this is not a technique I employ within my clinical practice. I do however provide advice and guidance on the use of moxibustion for my patients, and I do carry a limited amount of moxibustion supplies which are available for sale to my patients.
Please refer to Moxibustion for more detail.
Foods for Healing – the Chinese Medicated Diet
As with other components of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Chinese Medicated Diet has a long history dating back to remote antiquity. Healing foods are viewed as equal to medicine, performing the same function in nourishing and healing the body and preventing illness. Most medicinal herbs used in the chinese medicated diet are quite mild, but have a good effects on disease cure and prevention and as a general health tonic.
Chinese medicated diet plans are prepared using Chinese herbs, foods and condiments that prevent and cure illness and fortify one’s energy. The healing properties of chinese herbal medicine are combined with the enjoyment of food to make these diet plans an enjoyable way of restoring one’s health. The key message of the chinese medicated diet and the TCM approach to nutrition is the fact that an optimal universal diet does not exist. Rather, an individual diet must be designed for each person based on his or her constitution, lifestyle, environment, climate, and season. The main goal is to use food and medicinal herbs integrated into food as a means to achieve balance and harmony within the body.
Where appropriate to a patient`s treatment and lifestyle, I may recommend the integration of chinese medicinal herbs into the patient`s diet. For further information, please refer to TCM Medicated Diet.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, therapeutic tinctures are often made by using alcohol as a solvent to extract the active ingredients of plants and allow them to keep for a longer period of time. Most medicated liquors are taken orally, while some are for external use. These herbal tinctures have been an integral part of Chinese medicinal therapy for thousands of years with records of medicated wine having been found inscribed on oracle bones from the Shang Dynasty (16th -11th century BC) – some of the earliest records of medical compounds ever found.
Medicated liquor is easily absorbed, the alcohol promotes blood circulation and the medicinal compounds can be absorbed quickly by the patient’s body. These are not off-the-shelf remedies – making medicated liquors does require some time, as the herbs selected are specific to the patient and the patient`s condition – and the herbs must be steeped in the alcohol for some time before use. I prescribe medicated liquors only after discussion with the patient on this type of treatment.
For more information, refer to Chinese Medicated Liquors.
At Mississauga Bioenergetics, I carry out bioenergetic testing using a computerised testing system to measure the energy of the body at various acupressure points. Bioenergetic testing uses galvanic skin response measurements to quickly and non-invasively determine the energetic balances and imbalances within various bodily systems, providing the practitioner with an important tool to restore your health. Bioenergetic testing can detect low-level reactions within your body and also indicate nutritional, supplementation and homeopathic remedies which can be used to bring about an energy balance. There are no side-effects, no discomfort and no electrical impulses are felt.
Skeptics are usually convinced less by the science than by the accuracy of the skilled practitioner in administering and correctly interpreting the measurable responses from bioenergetic testing. I use the Biomeridian MSAS-Professional device for Bioenergetic Testing. The MSAS-Professional is the worlds premier testing tool for measuring the body’s electrical conductivity variations along acupoints on the skin. Using the electronic probe, the MSAS-Professional reads the energetic value at the meridian points and transmits that signal to the computer. The associated computer software creates a graphic display for practitioners to evaluate and for clients to review, helping them better understand the energetic readings of their body.
For more information, please refer to Bioenergetic Testing.
Sound nutrition is the basis of our health, providing the foundation on which all else is built. Mainstream medicine does not emphasize the significance of poor nutrition as a major cause of a wide range of health disorders. In many cases of ill-health, nutritional therapy can make an astounding and life-altering impact for the better.
Although most people are aware of the benefits of sound nutrition, the range of information available is confusing and often conflicting. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (and as a TCM Practitioner trained in TCM Medicated Diets), I can guide you through the maze of information that is available. I can review your eating habits, your lifestyle, health concerns and health issues, then work with you to design a personalized nutritional and lifestyle program that will help you optimize your and your families health. Should you have specific health concerns or issues, I can work with you to identify and correct the nutritional aspects of these.
For more information, please refer to Nutritional Counseling.