Please join us in welcoming Catherine Zheng to the BodaHealth team! Catherine is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is excited to expand her practice and share her healing gifts with her patients. Read more about Catherine in this Spotlight Interview.
Jeda Boughton: Hi Catherine, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate you taking the time to chat with me about your practice. Can you tell me a bit about your journey into acupuncture and the Chinese medicine field? What initially piqued your interest?
Catherine Zheng: Thank you, Jeda, for spending time with me. I started my career as a medical instrument engineer. Since I was in the medical field already, it didn’t seem like a big stretch to switch to Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have a cousin who’s a professor at Shan Xi Province TCM University in China, so I have been familiar with Chinese Medicine for many years through my family. I love TCM because it’s challenging and there’s so much to learn and explore. I was just naturally drawn by this new medical knowledge. And I wasn’t quite healthy. Maybe I was trying to find a cure for myself in this field.
JB: Were you able to find a cure?
CZ: I was! Through acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
JB: Do you still take Chinese herbs?
CZ: Yes, I take them regularly as needed.
JB: Can you tell about switching from being a medical instrument engineer to a Dr in TCM? It seems like a 180-degree change to pursue Chinese Medicine.
CZ: Yes, certainly! But, in a way, they’re interchangeable. As an engineer, I need to know in which steps the project should be developed. As a TCM doctor, I have to have this holistic concept as well when treating patients.
JB: When you returned to China after PCU College in Burnaby, what and where did you study? At another school? Internship? TCM hospital? Was it a program? Who or what kind of practitioner(s) did you study under?
CZ: I took a seminar taught by an acupuncture expert Dr. Zuo, Chang Bo in Hang Zhou, China. And I took another class with him to learn how to treat body pain.
JB: I know you also have a master’s degree, what is it in and what did you hope to do with it?
CZ: I have a master’s degree in higher education. It enriched my educational experience and I learned the skill of independent study. I think I’ve benefited from this experience because as a TCM doctor, it’s very important to study continually.
JB: You mention that anything we take into our body should be from nature, not artificially made. Does this belief come from working in the medical instrument industry? If so, is there more you can say about it. For example, did you discover a new route to health, natural healing solutions, or something along those lines?
CZ: Yes, I think that’s part of the reason. When I studied Western Medicine, I learned all the side effects of commonly used drugs. But after I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine, I was amazed by the results the ancient TCM experts could achieve. They were able to bring dying people back to life using only natural herbs. Also, I’m a Seventh-day Adventist. I believe what we can eat is made by God, not by men.
JB: You’ve told me that you mostly use Dr. Tong’s techniques. Anything you can tell us about this, such as why you use this system and what it’s good for?
CZ: Dr. Tong’s acupuncture is different from the traditional 14 main meridian theory. The fundamental principle is expressed in the ancient text, the Nei Jing, called Miu Ci, which means if the problem is in the head, we needle the feet. Or if the problem is in the left of the body, we treat the right side of the body. We adjust the Qi this way and get quicker results without irritating the sick part of the body.
JB: Is Dr. Tong the style you mainly use?
CZ: Yes, in most cases I use Dr. Tong’s style to treat my patients.
JB: Are there any specific injuries, imbalances or pain that you tend to treat a lot, or that your style of treatment works really well for, such as low back pain, osteoarthritis, rotator cuff problems, or internal medicine such as digestion, skin problems or fertility?
CZ: I’ve treated many people with neck pain, back pain, knee pain and shoulder pain. Generally, I get good results by using Dr Tong’s technique. I also use what I learned from Dr. Zuo to treat internal diseases including insomnia, anxiety, depression, PTSD, infertility, weight control, etc.
JB: What other types of studies and education have you completed?
CZ: I took an online course to study Pi Wei Lun. This is a book written by a Traditional Chinese Medicine master named Li, Dong Yuan. He explains the importance of the spleen system and its role in treating other various internal diseases. He was one of the influential TCM masters after Zhang, Zhongjing, the author of the famous ancient classic, the Shang Han Lun.
I took another online course to study Shang Han Lun taught by Hao, Wan Shan. He was a professor in Beijing TCM university and has more than 50 years of clinical practice. He is still active in this field.
I also took a course to study Zhang, Yuan Su’s herbology. Zhang, Yuan Su was a famous TCM master in the 12th century. He emphasized that each herb works on a specific meridian or meridians and it has a nature of ascending, descending, going to upper Jiao or lower Jiao in terms of helping Qi flow. His theory furthered the classic text Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing. By studying the classics through these courses, I learned how to use herbs to better and more effectively help my patients.
I’ve benefited from the learning from Dr. Zuo, Chang Bo. He taught me how to treat any kind of body pain by specifically adjusting the Qi’s flow in the Ren and Du meridians. He also emphasizes the horizontal connections of the body which traditional 14 meridian theory usually does not. That’s why I’m confident and get good results in treating body pain.
JB: I’m excited that you have so much knowledge in the classics of Chinese medicine. That is what I am most passionate about when using herbs. What other tools do you use in your practice? Do you use moxa, Gua Sha or Tui Na?
CZ: I use needles and herbs the most. I do cupping quite often as well and sometimes bleeding techniques. If it’s necessary, I use moxa and I teach my patients how to use moxa at home. Sometimes I use Gua Sha but not a lot.
JB: Can you tell me a bit more about teaching your patients how to use moxa and how this can help them with their health and recovery goals?
CZ: The role of moxa is irreplaceable. For example, once I had a patient who had the issue of irregular bleeding. It made her very weak. I taught her how to use moxa at home. The next day she came and told me that the bleeding stopped. Nowadays, people eat more raw food like salads and fruits and drink more cold drinks. It hurts the Yang Qi a lot. And moxa helps to warm and nourish the Yang.
JB: That’s amazing! It’s great that you can give your patients tools to take home with them. Do you have any education in TCM nutrition, do you use it much with your patients?
CZ: I took a dietary therapy course when studying herbology and I do make some dietary suggestions to my patients. For example, I suggest that patients not drink very cold liquids too often and I ask them to eat Chinese yam for Spleen Qi deficiency or if they have digestive difficulties.
JB: Do you work with pregnancy and fertility? What kind of postnatal work do you do?
CZ: Mostly I use herbs to help moms with lactation and milk production. I also work with them to reduce stress and help them to lose extra weight if needed.
JB: What kinds of things do you do for yourself to stay fit and healthy?
CZ: I take Chinese herbs when I am feeling sick or unwell. During this pandemic, I sometimes cook herbs for my family to enhance their Qi so we can stay healthy. I practice Tai Qi too.
JB: You have so many skills, what’s next for you professionally? Are you planning on doing additional studies or courses or do you want to evolve in a particular area with your practice?
CZ: Recently I have been studying Zhang, Xi Chun’s book Yi Xue Zhong Zhong Can Xi Lu. He was a TCM master in the 19th century, and he was the first person using both herbs and western medicine at the same time. He prescribed many very effective formulas to treat gynecological diseases, body pain and other chronic diseases. I may focus on treating gynecological diseases in the future because I think TCM has an advantage in this area. Based on my experience, patients suffer much less and have much better results when they use Chinese medicine.
JB: On a closing note, is there anything else you would like to tell people?
CZ: I’d like to say that if you cannot find a cure in western medicine, I encourage you to try herbs, needles, cupping or moxa. It will help you feel better.
About Dr. Catherine Zheng:
After working as a medical instrument engineer, Dr. Catherine Zheng turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine, receiving her acupuncture certification from PCU College in Burnaby in 2017. After graduating, Catherine studied in China and dove deep into the classical foundations of Chinese medicine. Her knowledge and expertise in acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy makes her a skilled and effective practitioner in treating pain conditions, mental health issues and a variety of other health conditions.
To learn more about Dr. Catherine Zheng, visit her full bio here and stay tuned for more Practitioner Spotlight interviews from the BodaHealth team.
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