Natural is the only way to go at a new West End health clinic.
Healthtree Healing Centre, located at 609 Sargent Ave., opened its doors on July 23, offering services and treatments including acupuncture, Chinese massage, and Reiki — a Japanese form of alternative medicine in which energy is transferred through the palms.
Dr. Mike Li practises acupuncture at the clinic, alongside Reiki practitioner Sheri Boyce, Reiki master Sharon Baldock, and massage therapists Lisa Wu and Amanda Osioway.
"Acupuncture, to put it simply, is putting very fine needles into certain points in our bodies," Li said.
The needles can’t be placed just anywhere. The points are specifically selected, thanks to a Chinese theory called qi (pronounced "chi").
"Our human body is run by the flow of qi, so if our qi is blocked, decreased or even in excess, then we’re in trouble. The acupuncture is to stimulate the flow of qi to readjust or rebalance the body," Li explained.
What can disrupt the flow of qi?
Li said the body is affected by many factors — physical, mental and emotional — as well as environmental factors, such as weather.
"The qi in our body flows in specific ways, so if it came from inside our body, like our organs, then the qi will flow from inside to our skin, to our joints," Li said.
"For example, if you have a headache, then there’s specific points on our hands that will connect to that system. Stimulate those points, and your headache goes away."
Acupuncture is one aspect of traditional Chinese medicine, and Li is passionate about it. He opened the clinic in this particular area to provide services to two specific types of clientele: seniors and low-income citizens.
"I have the vision to focus on senior health, and also to help those who have financial needs," Li said.
That’s why Healthtree Healing Centre offers a community acupuncture program, targeted to those who cannot afford regular treatment.
Li was previously a practitioner of Western medicine but he changed gears as his interest waned. He trained in Chinese acupuncture in China for five years before coming to Canada in 1995.
"I find that the traditional Chinese ways of treating people is something I want to do for the rest of my life," Li said.
For more information about Healthtree Healing Centre, visit healthtreehealing.ca or call 204-396-4325.