Meet our newest member of the BodaHealth team, Faith Belhacene! Faith is a Registered Acupuncturist, with a great education, experience in treating a variety of health conditions and a passion for helping patients through the use of a number of different healing modalities. Read more about Faith here:
Jeda Boughton: Hi Faith, 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 health care and the field of acupuncture? What initially piqued your interest?
Faith Belhacene: Hello Dr. Boughton, thank you so much for having me and kindly setting up this interview! Acupuncture has always been a folder in my “general knowledge” cabinet, so to speak. I have known about acupuncture for many years, but I hadn’t delved into or researched it until I began exploring natural ways to maintain my own well-being and that of my family. I’ve always thought that there has to be more to self-care and wellness than mainstream medicine (which is great!). I also consider the human body a complex yet intricate organism that’s made up of many micro systems, and believe the best way to take care of myself is exposure to a variety of healing modalities. More and more I found myself researching acupuncture, including various scholarly articles that discussed acupuncture being used to treat complex medical conditions, such as neurological diseases as well as infertility, with staggering success rates! I was mesmerized by it to be honest. I became passionately interested and wanted to know more.
JB: Can you tell me about switching from studying English to studying Chinese medicine and practicing acupuncture?
FB: I was working towards earning a Bachelor’s in English, and I loved it. However none of the career prospects appealed to me. I couldn’t envision myself teaching, going to law school, writing, editing or doing anything in administration. So I stopped after one semester and I let my soul lead the way, and it led me to Natural Medicine. I earned a Bachelor’s in Holistic Health Science and a Master’s in Natural Medicine through an online American university. Even though that university is not accredited here in Canada, it was one of the most valuable decisions I’ve made in my life. It opened so many doors of knowledge for me. I chose to do my thesis on acupuncture, and that fueled my interest even more! As soon as I completed the Master’s program, I knew even as exhausted and sleep-deprived as I was, that the next chapter for me was to become an Acupuncturist. I enrolled in the Kwantlen Polytechnic University TCM-Acupuncture Diploma Program, and here I am now! A fully Registered/Licensed Acupuncturist and a proud member of BodaHealth!
JB: Congratulations, you chose a rewarding career path! You mentioned that you used to give presentations to faculty and members from the Department of Health while you were an Acupuncture student. Can you tell me more about that?
FB: Truth be told, I spoke to anyone who would listen! I loved my field and I wanted to share the knowledge I had with as many people as I could. I absolutely loved it when we got a chance to provide free consultations for KPU staff, faculty and students. It was always so rewarding to engage with them in insightful discussions about health and wellness. As a student, I learned from such encounters and the people I interact with also learned a thing or two about Acupuncture! I enjoyed taking the lead as presenter during Health Day at KPU at the Langley Campus. We saw several groups of people at a time. They were seated around a conference table which was filled with various tools from the TCM-Acupuncture student clinic. We brought a TCM Model which showed all the meridians we target using various methods as well.
JB: That sounds like fun! You’ve told me that you often use moxibustion and cupping techniques during your Acupuncture treatments. What can you tell us about these, such as why you like to use these tools and what they are good for?
FB: I love to incorporate cupping and moxibustion into my treatments for sure. However I don’t include them or use them for every patient or every treatment session. That’s because diagnosis is key, and it paves the way to the treatment principles and the modalities of choice for each patient. But that’s not the only thing I take into account. I also take great consideration in my patients’ preferences and comfort. Some patients want or expect no sensation during needle insertion, while others want to feel a mild or a strong sensation. Some patients would rather avoid needles completely at times or are needle phobic. That’s where cupping and moxibustion are most suitable. I do want to mention that cupping and moxibustion are best used in conjunction with acupuncture as well. So it really depends on the patient and the current case I’m treating.
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 pain, hormone imbalances or internal medicine such as digestion, dermatology or fertility?
FB: I’m fortunate to be able to say that I’ve had the opportunity to treat a wide variety of ailments. I’ve treated patients for respiratory issues, gynecology, dermatology, gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal issues too. I absolutely love the fact that my experience is so diverse!
JB: Do you work with pregnancy and fertility?
FB: There is a special place in my heart for my fertility and pregnant patients! It’s truly a gift to be a part of their journey. It’s an honor to be a trusted source of professional care in the journey of fertility and pregnancy, including pre and post IVF treatments! As an acupuncturist, I certainly have a lot to offer to women who are trying to conceive and others who are expecting mamas! Acupuncture, moxibustion as well as nutrition therapy play a key role in fertility, prenatal and postpartum care.
JB: What kind of postnatal work do you do?
FB: I offer various treatment modalities that target several aspects of postnatal patient care. Starting from postpartum bleeding, I must make sure that it is not too light or too heavy. I also inquire about lactation, as it can be promoted naturally if needed; and inflammation, swelling and pain can be reduced, especially within the first couple of days for new moms.
I help strengthen new moms’ bodies internally and I provide treatments that prevent organ prolapse after childbirth, particularly that of the uterus, anus and bladder. Whether the birth was by C-section or vaginal, tightening the muscles of the abdomen, increasing metabolism and aiding the body to return to a healthy weight is something every woman wants. My treatments focus on the body’s natural healing mechanisms and reinforces them so that moms are able to get back to their best physical shape and daily function.
Finally, I provide stress-reduction treatments, which are relaxing and enable my patients to get good quality sleep at night so that they wake up feeling rejuvenated.
JB: It sounds like you do a lot of great work with postnatal women! What other types of studies and education have you completed?
FB: While I was earning my Bachelor’s in English, I took several courses in science, biology, psychology and even forensic archeology! However, I realized that my passion was natural medicine, and that’s when I studied with an online American university. After a few years I earned my Master’s in Natural Medicine, and acupuncture was the main topic of my thesis. As soon as I published my thesis, I enrolled in the KPU TCM-Acupuncture Diploma Program.
JB: That must have been interesting to tie your interests together in your thesis! Do you use any other tools in your practice?
FB: I would love to introduce Moxa Plasters to my patients eventually. They’re herbal plasters that are applied in the three hottest days of the summer. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine Classics, such practice has the ability to treat winter diseases, especially those involving immunity, respiratory health, diseases of cold or those that are chronic in nature. I’m also able to treat my patients using Cold Laser Therapy, as well as Shockwave Therapy.
JB: Cold Laser and Shockwave have become really important and effective additional therapies in the clinic, I’m happy you have been able to add them to your practice. What kinds of things do you do for yourself to stay fit and healthy?
FB: It is essential for me to get to sleep around 10 pm as often as possible. Our bodies are programmed to rejuvenate and heal at the cellular level before midnight, so I make my healthy sleep routine a daily goal.
Next up is my nutrition; I eat home-cooked meals regularly and prepare my own snacks instead of eating store-bought. I buy dried fruits, nuts and seeds, and combine them to give me an energy boost when I need it. I also love making my own granola bars at home, without additives or preservatives. I do a workout every day to maintain physical health. I set aside at least one or two hours a day in my schedule to focus on my own self-care practices and for relaxation. However, I love Hot Cheetos, mouth-watering fast food and all-night movie marathons as much as the next person! I just treat myself to those things once in a while.
JB: Sounds like you have a well-rounded lifestyle! What’s next for you professionally? Are you planning on doing additional studies or courses? Do you want to evolve in a particular area with your practice?
FB: Yes!! I want to learn about everything related to the human body, health care and wellness! I have serious plans to enroll in advanced certification courses, which will serve to deepen my knowledge and enhance my skill set so that I’m able to better serve every single one of my patients.
JB: You’re still in your first month of working at BodaHealth. Can you tell me how it is so far? What do you like about it?
FB: It is absolutely amazing! I feel like I have been a BodaHealth member for a long time. I feel at home when I’m here; all my colleagues are incredibly friendly and supportive.
JB: And we’re all really happy to have you on the team! On a closing note, is there anything else you would like to tell people?
FB: I want them to know that acupuncture truly has the ability to target imbalances in your body that manifest as ailments, disorders and diseases. Acupuncture treatments basically stimulate specific points on your body that are hubs for vital energy (Qi), and that Qi circulates throughout your entire body (from your head to our toes) in a complex and interconnected network, just like your blood circulatory system. An acupuncture needle simply stimulates your own vitality, which in turn has healing properties and abilities to reharmonize you internally as well as ease any pain you have and reduce your stress. That is why it’s safe to say that acupuncture can treat absolutely anything. The key is in an accurate diagnosis and good stimulation technique, and as I always say, in conjunction with lifestyle tips and healthy therapeutic Nutrition.
About Faith Belhacene:
After receiving her Master’s in Natural Medicine, Faith Belhacene pursued her acupuncture training from KPU in Surrey, BC. Faith was drawn to acupuncture through her own exploration of natural self-healing and a fascination of the healing power of acupuncture. Faith has experience in treating diverse health conditions and a special place in her heart for working with fertility, pregnancy and post-partum patients. She brings her skill in acupuncture and experience in a variety of healing therapies to each treatment session.
To learn more about Faith, visit her full bio here and stay tuned for more Practitioner Spotlight interviews from the BodaHealth team.