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Meet Zen Tuan of Healing with Zen | Acupuncture & Herbal Remedies in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zen Tuan.

Zen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
As far back as I can remember, I have loved to snowboard. I would take every opportunity to head up to Bear mountain with my friends. On one such trip, disaster struck. As I flew down the mountainside, I lost my footing and rolled onto my shoulder. Stuck on the mountain for more than an hour in agonizing pain, my friends found me and carted me down the mountain and back home.

Growing up, I had been exposed to Chinese herbs by my Taiwanese father. He was a huge proponent of natural and holistic medicine. He never liked to visit western doctors and would always insist on giving me herbs or “tuina” (Chinese acupressure/massage) when I wasn’t feeling well, regardless of how resistant I was. Little did we both know that I would find a passion for Chinese medicine later in life.

After attempting conventional methods of treatment with little effect, I was still in pain and had limited range of motion from my snowboarding accident. A friend recommended that I see an acupuncturist; a teacher at a local acupuncture school. Succumbing to the pressure of my father and the suggestion of my friend, I decided I would try it out.

My first acupuncture treatment was definitely not a typical one. This professor treated my arm and shoulder on full display in a room full of interns. Although awkward, the experience was incredible. As he treated my injury, he lectured the onlookers imparting the philosophy of acupuncture and explained how and why it worked. I was astonished that with only one treatment, my arm was in less pain and I had better range of motion. I was hooked and although I had a good job in a completely different industry, I felt compelled to pursue this incredible field of medicine.

I received my formal training at Emperor’s College in Santa Monica, CA where I completed my Master degree and graduated Magna cum laude. Soon after receiving my license to practice, I founded Healing with Zen, a full-service acupuncture and herbal remedies clinic located in Pasadena, CA, and have never looked back.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with any small business, starting up is always a struggle. But my biggest obstacle in building my practice was the pregnancy and birth of my daughter.

Women in business face a difficult choice between career and family. And for me, it was no different. On one hand, I had invested years of study and practice perfecting my craft. On the other, I would have my own child to nurture and care for, detracting from my ability to serve my patients’ needs. I found it difficult to leave what I do and know best (treating patients using Chinese medicine) to pursue this new role as a mother. But Chinese medicine teaches us that our bodies function their best when we are in balance. I believe that our environment and the world around us operate on those same principles. I was committed to finding that balance between family and business and chose to continue my practice through my pregnancy, the birth of my child, and beyond.

This choice has not been without struggle. It has been incredibly difficult to manage both the business and our home through this time, but it has also been incredibly rewarding and enlightening. Motherhood has opened up an entirely new area of practice for Healing With Zen, focusing on the needs of expectant mothers, and especially for women experiencing and coping with the aftereffects of birth.

I had a difficult and traumatic birth experience, which led to a very slow recovery. It took me much longer than expected to bounce back, not only physically but also mentally. Women’s hormones and bodies may not fully return to the pre-pregnancy state until over a year after the birth of their child, especially if they are breastfeeding. Women’s bodies are amazing and are constantly fluctuating when transitioning through the different stages of the menses cycle, let alone through pregnancy and post-partum.

I’ve become passionate about helping other women through this incredible transitional time (before, during and post-pregnancy) since I, myself, have received so much benefit utilizing Acupuncture and Chinese medicine during my own journey.

Healing with Zen | Acupuncture & Herbal Remedies – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’ve always had a passion for treating pain. I’ve studied numerous methods that specialize in pain relief and have treated many patients successfully, both in my own clinic and at the cancer hospital where I work part-time.

Such vast arrays of people receive pain relief from acupuncture, from competitive athletes to those with serious illness and disease. Not only do they receive pain relief from Acupuncture, but many are surprised that they receive additional benefits such as mental clarity and focus, better energy and sleep, improved digestion and an overall balanced demeanor.

During and after my own pregnancy, I incorporated Chinese Medicine and acupuncture into my routine and found so much benefit. Since then, I’ve become passionate about offering not only pregnancy care but pre and postpartum care as well.

Often, western medication cannot be used during this delicate time in a woman’s life. But Acupuncture can be used to treat common issues from headaches, colds, aches and pains during pregnancy to lactation issues and post-partum depression. Acupuncture can also help those that are trying or finding it difficult to become pregnant. I have successfully used acupuncture many times to treat patients during IVF procedures to increase response rate.

At Healing with Zen, we offer individualized health plans tailored to each individual’s needs. During the initial intake, we spend a longer period getting to know our patients so we can better understand their health history and their body constitution. From there, we put together a comprehensive plan so both the patient and the practitioner are on the same page about the patient’s health goals. We set markers to check-in to re-evaluate our progress, and we design a course of treatment to achieve our collaborative goal. Along the way, we may offer additional nutritional advice, herbal supplements, and lifestyle advice.

We pride ourselves on happy and healthy patients who have benefited from our treatments, and we look forward to continuing to serve our community and our patients. For someone in my field, there is truly no greater feeling than to see the positive results from the treatments we’ve prescribed.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success in my business means making people feel better. Whether that is feeling better physically, mentally, or just finding a better balance within oneself, I define success as helping my patients achieve a better, healthier version of themselves.

Getting to that point takes work, persistence, and a desire to make a change. At Healing with Zen, we work with our patients to set health goals and define markers to track and identify progress. We look at nutrition, activity, lifestyle, and environmental factors to diagnose and treat our patients.

One of the most beautiful things about Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture is that we are taught to treat the entire body and not to just resolve an individual ailment or issue. Whatever a patient’s primary goal is, if that’s to relieve chronic pain in the body, improve fertility by balancing hormones, or enhance the immune system to ward off disease, we embark on a journey to optimal health together and find success when the body and the mind are in balance.

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