Unmasking Christina

Pandemic practicing is not without it’s trials, tribulations and quirks. There is no manual for what we should be doing.

The foundation of our community practice is relational and a huge component of the work we do involves human connection. Now that we have enhanced measures in place to keep both practitioners and clients safe and our shared space sanitized, it unfortunately compromises the face-to-face interactions that are at the core of providing high quality acupuncture sessions.

For myself personally, I find myself trying to really focus on eye contact and being overtly expressive with my eyebrows to ensure that clients feel heard, connected and tended to. I think it helps…I’m not sure :P

And while for many of our veteran acu-nappers, the H&H ‘punks now donning a mask that covers half their face is strange, but that with an established clinical relationship, it’s just an additional weird detail. But for our new clients, esp those who are new to acupuncture, we would like to THANK YOU and commend you for your courage and trust that you place in us to hold space for you in a vulnerable state and to work with your bodies and energetic field despite not knowing what we actually look like in-person.

So without further adieu, I’d like to unmask and RE-introduce myself:

My name is Christina Chan.
I am a first generation Hong Konger Chinese Canadian. My parents are Eric and Jennie who immigrated from Hong Kong in the late 70s. They chose “Canadian” names when they arrived here.
My younger brother and I do not have middle names, but were given Chinese names. Mine is “Hoi Man”.
I was born in Scarborough Ontario, but raised in Brampton, Ontario, the traditional territories of the Anishinabe and Mississaugas peoples.

I have been a Community Acupuncturist since 2009. I am also an organizer, educator, rider of things with 2-wheels, martial artist, crafter, fermenter and ongoing lupus survivor. I believe acupuncture is an important tool for social change and I have practiced my craft in many unusual places from Vancouver Daytox and AIDS Vancouver Island to the First People’s House and FernFest. It has been my vehicle in which I have had the opportunity to experience a slice of humanity.

I am fascinated by the intricacies of the human body, likely spurred by living with chronic illness since I was a teen and the roadblocks and limitations I have encountered within the allopathic medical field. I have sat many a time in a doctor’s office watching them shrug when I discussed symptoms they had no answers for. I have completed a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in human physiology and formerly a seasoned lifeguard, first responder and first aid instructor prior to my career as Registered Acupuncturist. I have also completed training in Cranial Sacral Therapy with a blend of Upledger, biomechanical and biodynamic styles, which deepens my relationship to my practice of acupuncture and relationship to my client’s bodies as well as my own.

I am also currently recovering from a year-long, complex health crisis and bladder reconstruction. However, having been diagnosed with lupus nephritis as a teen, I am unfortunately quite familiar with navigating the cyclical ups and down of living with chronic illness. Hence, this experience has left me generally equipped for a pandemic. Not much in my life has really changed. I still mostly keep a small social circle, stick fairly close to home, have become an expert at stockpiling food in my freezer and seeking out obscure foreign films with subtitles.

I celebrate my first bladder-versary on Nov. 1, 2020.

In honor of reaching the other side of what seemed like insurmountable circumstances, I am raising funds to donate to BIPOC organizations that advocate and improve access to medical care within Canada and beyond. If you’d like to find out more and/or contribute, READ HERE

And here are my answers to a few interview questions to make this a bit more relevant to the times we are in:

My go-to activities to pass the time during quarantine

Whatever my post-surgical body requires from day-to-day, typically resting, stretching my midsection, applying heat and nibbling very small meals.

Other non-bodily activities include, sewing, kimchi making, bone broth brewing, growing veggies, speaking to my houseplants and consuming vast quantities of music, podcasts and documentaries. Being unfortunately fixated on consuming the news, but I’d prefer to be informed. And more recently, I upgraded my bicycle, so I’ve been getting out to rip around on my new whip…far away from crowds and strangers.

An intention for the world during this time of uncertainty

This pandemic is amplifying numerous societal inequalities that always existed on the margins and under the surface. Homelessness and/or limited access to safe and affordable housing, addiction, mental health, lack of a living wage, limitations of our healthcare system and the fragility of our so-called “economy”. I wish for safety for everyone who works on the frontlines, ESP the under-recognized and under-appreciated low wage essential workers who keep the world fed, clean and supplied. And the many of millions of folks who are hitting the street to vocalize the collective injustices that continue to oppress and harm the vulnerable and marginalized members of our communities.

I wish them courage, safety and a societal sea change.

Things you are grateful for (in no particular order)      

That I am a settler on the west coast in the beautiful Lkwungen Territories, surrounded by clean air (most of the time), ocean and greenery and is relatively more spacious and bike-able than many other cities.
My loving and supportive partner, Denny and my fur babies, Peanut and Borbor.
My Honda CB500X, Georgina and my good friend Natalie who is keeping her in storage for me until next riding season in the spring.
Having been born Canadian and having access to an excellent medical specialists and my team of complementary practitioners. My health trajectory might’ve be vastly different if I was a citizen elsewhere.
That I am still employed (for the time being) and I am currently able-bodied (enough) so I can be provide a vital and necessary service to our community.

Causes that you support during this time

BIPOC lives matter, LGBTQ lives matter
Indigenous reconciliation and my role in it as a settler
Keeping your eyes on the rapidly deteriorating political situation in Hong Kong and the US
The climate crisis

Acupuncture is important at this time because…

We ALL NEED TOOLS to help our nervous systems regulate during this rollercoaster of uncertainty and global unrest. We do not have control of the events of the external world, acupuncture is a profound, accessible, drug-free resource that can support you in regulating your landscape within.

When this is all over, I’d like to…

Start practicing Aikido again!
Go to live concerts again!
Attend a women’s motorcycle retreat somewhere amazing – Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Northern Cali….
Travel internationally!

And if you still want to know even more about me

Perhaps you’d like to visit me and GET POKED and you can also check out a little about me and my practitioner bio.

Be safe, be calm and see you in a chair!

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