Meet Our Therapists: Tamara Gervais

Meet Tamara, Acupuncturist at Lifestyle Meditation

Tamara has spent the last decade studying and practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine. Through the years, she has found that her acupuncture practice has taken a strong focus on women’s health, from menstrual difficulties, menopause and fertility health. She believes that in order to facilitate healing, we need to reconnect to ourselves and heal from the root, which is where the real healing happens!

Tamara believes the root of most ailments is stress. We become over worked and so stressed out that we ignore the signs and symptoms our bodies are giving to tell us to slow down. We continue to put more on our plate, and the symptoms get more frequent and more severe, until it stops you in your tracks. Her advice? If we can find ways to help us slow down and de-stress before our emotional and physical bodies breakdown, we can avoid many ailments and health conditions.

We asked Tamara to share more about her practice and her journey:

What inspired you to become a practitioner?

The truth is, I had no idea what I wanted to become. I was still trying to figure out who I was. What I knew for sure is that what I was doing wasn’t feeding my soul. There was something else out there for me, I just hadn’t quite discovered it yet. And so I tried job after job, and got license after license, you name it, I tried it. But nothing felt right. One day, I spent the day flipping through the newspaper and noticed an ad for acupuncture and decided to book an acupuncture treatment.

The acupuncturist was unfriendly and her office was cold. She hardly said a word before she put some needles in and then left the room. I had no idea what was happening or what I was supposed to be feeling, I wasn’t even sure if she was coming back. But as I lay on the table and relaxed, I knew something was occurring between those needles and my body. I didn’t understand it and I certainly wasn’t cured from all of my problems after that one treatment but I knew I needed to learn more. So I drove from that appointment directly to the school that offered the Acupuncture program and signed up for the 3 year course. Slightly impulsive, I know, but when you are desperate enough to find what it is you’re looking for, you jump at any and every opportunity that comes your way. So I jumped. And I finally found it.

What is acupuncture all about and what happens during an acupuncture appointment?

What I love about Traditional Chinese Medicine is that every acupuncture treatment is tailored to meet the needs of each specific person. As unique as your finger print, so should be your treatments. An acupuncture treatment will start with a thorough look and understanding of your health history, from your sleeping patterns, lifestyle and diet to your digestive functions. To understand how to fix it, we need to understand the entire body and where it is malfunctioning. After the full consultation, a treatment may consist of needles, electrical stimulation, cupping, Guasha, massage, vibrational medicine, essential oils and herbal medicines. Most people fall asleep during treatment and leave feeling incredibly relaxed. I always think if someone is drooling or snoring during a treatment, I have chosen the right points.

Does it hurt? No. It doesn't have to. I know most people would rather get punched in the face than be needled but I promise you, the needles are incredibly small and only feel like a little mosquito bite. Once the needle is inserted, you don’t even notice it is there!

Who can benefit from acupuncture treatments?

An acupuncture treatment is absolutely for everyone! I have treated babies as young as two weeks old, all the way up to people in their 90’s! Traditional Chinese Medicine has been around for over 3000 years and can help people with many different ailments. The most common issues I see in my acupuncture practice include high levels of stress, headaches and migraines, digestive complaints, menstrual irregularities, hormonal imbalances, pain and inflammation, circulatory issues, mood disorders such as anxiety and fertility difficulties. How do you incorporate wellness into your life?

Wellness HAS to come first in my life. I cannot give what I do not have. I know when my wellness practice has lost its place on my priority list because my body begins to feel imbalanced and symptoms show up. For me, wellness is a routine. Everyday. Every. Damn. Day. I am lucky enough to work with some of the most amazing healers and I make sure to use their services as much as possible but I also have daily routine practices that help keep me balanced such as Yoga, exercise, reading, meditation and puppy therapy. One of the most important practices in my wellness routine is to be creative. Everyday I have to do something creative! This could be playing the piano, knitting, painting, whatever. It doesn’t have to be good, it doesn’t have to be finished, it just has to be something. This is, without a doubt, the most important outlet that I use for stress and to keep me balanced.

Are there are any misconceptions about acupuncture?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture is not the same as the acupuncture you received through your chiropractor and / or physiotherapist. The latter forms are generally using motor points that stimulate muscles fibres. Points are usually selected based on muscles and joints and are then hooked up to electrical stimulation or manually stimulated through IMS. In TCM we use a network of pathways that connect the entire body and allow energy and blood to flow from one part of the body to another. Points along these pathways are selected and gently manipulated to encourage whole body wellness. Acupuncture treatments do not have to hurt.

What's your favourite thing about being a part of Lifestyle Meditation? Which workshops or classes do you love?

My favourite part of working at LM is without a doubt the people. I have fallen head over heels in love with each and every person I work with. Every single day I find myself folded over in a deep belly laugh. This team that includes so many different characters with different stories and pasts and yet we come together and hold a supportive environment for healing. I often have to pinch myself. To have become a part of this tribe, wow! I must have been working up some good karma. I love new and full moon rituals because it reminds us of the constant and reassuring cycle of mother nature. The new moon signifies the darkest part of the month and reminds us that the light is coming. And without fail, the full moon arrives with all its power, the rhythmic flux of yin to yang. This is the foundation of Chinese Medicine. These rituals allow me to tap into the connection with mother nature and my own body, because there really is no separation. The moon reminds me that even when I feel surrounded in darkness, the light is always coming. The sky will hold the moon and eventually the sun. The moon may be a sliver but will eventually be full. I love this reassurance of change but also the familiarity of what is coming.

Next time you stop by LM, make sure you say hi to Tamara or book an acupuncture appointment to start the healing journey.