Dr. Angela Foran, Acupuncturist BSc, DrTCM
I have always enjoyed an active lifestyle with yoga, biking, snowboarding, swimming, dance and hiking. I have always had an interest in health, fitness, the human body, food and nature. For the longest time I had no idea that all these seemingly different interests could be wrapped up into one profession – Traditional Chinese Medicine.
When I first became curious about TCM I was living in Taiwan, a place that is very modern and traditional at the same time. I loved the herbal shop and chose to visit traditional doctors when I became ill. It was fascinating for me to have my pulse read even though I often didn’t fully understand what was going on. It was also in Taiwan I witnessed the amazing therapeutic benefits of acupuncture as well as received advice at the markets on which fruits and vegetables I should be eating or avoiding according to my skin and body constitution.
I began reading general knowledge books on Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. I found the system very different to what I learnt during my Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. Although it was a different way of looking at the body and health/illness it resonated with me with respect to preventing illness and promoting longevity through living in tune with your environment, taking into consideration emotional and mental wellbeing as well as the interconnectedness of all aspects of the body.
For a few years I let the idea of returning home to percolate. I knew I loved to travel and still wanted to see more of the world before I returned to Vancouver. In order for me to transition easily back into Canadian life I had to start something new and that was study TCM. Five years seemed like a long time to go back to school but as soon as I started classes I knew I had made the right choice. Chinese medicine is a passion of mine. I am constantly impressed by the depth and breadth of treatment options and fascinated by the workings of the whole system. It is a profession that is constantly developing and changing but where you can return to the classics for clinical inspiration that is still relevant 1000′s of years later.
Learning is a life long process and fortunately TCM has many avenues to explore. Some of the more interesting courses I have taken include facial rejuvenation, reflexology, allergic conditions and NADA. Community service to me is an important aspect of emotional wellbeing which has lead me to work as an acupuncturist at the BCCCS Wellness Centre and volunteer at the Dr Peter Centre. Another organization which helps those suffering with HIV is the Pan African Acupuncture Project and in 2008 I was fortunate enough to be able to combine my love of travel, acupuncture and service by making two trips to Uganda as a volunteer to help train health care workers there.
As I develop as a practitioner I find I am drawn to different areas of the profession. Upon returning to my private practice after a relatively short maternity leave I was tinkering with making tinctures at home. This experimentation led to the purchase and rebranding of a local tincture company into what is now Shanti Solutions. Herbs make powerful medicine and I am proud to be making products locally from organic/pesticide free herbs. As of now they are only for purchase from practitioners.
Over the last 4 years I have been a faculty member of a long standing TCM college in Vancouver, the International College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Working with students has helped hone my skills as a doctor as well as reignite my interest in TCM theory and research. As the medical ethics instructor and clinical supervisor I hope to instill excellent clinical skills and habits in the students I teach. This position has led me to be chosen for a position with the BC government. I am now a part of a hearing audit panel specifically for acupuncturists. I am honoured to be appointed to this position and look forward to putting my ethics background to the test.