Sometimes the universe has a way of giving you what you need. I don’t often purchase things from Groupon, but in this case I was really glad I did. In 2010 I saw a Groupon voucher on sale for acupuncture / shiatsu at Therapy at Room 301. It sounded really interesting and something just drew me to this Groupon, though I routinely ignore them. So I bought two vouchers, one for me and one for hubby. That was the year that I found my favourite acupuncturist: JoAnn L. Alafriz.
Just to show you how amazing I think this woman’s treatments and skills are, I live about 30-45 mins away from her office by transit. But I continue to make the trek to see JoAnn for treatment because she is the best I’ve ever experienced. She’s totally worth every cent of money and time I spend on her treatments. She is professional, knowledgeable, personable, and open to suggestions. She also has an intuitive way of knowing exactly what your body needs once you describe what you want to work on. I often come out of her treatments so blissed out I just want to take a nap. I wish you had a napping room JoAnn! Besides JoAnn’s impressive acumen, she has a good variety of other modalities under her belt. Don’t like needles? No worries, JoAnn also uses other modalities such as Shiatsu, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Reflexology, Tui-Na, Moxibustion and Cupping. To learn more about JoAnn and her rates, check out her personal webpage.
How did you first get interested in acupuncture and shiatsu?
I first discovered shiatsu after a stressful time in my life. After receiving a treatment at the Shiatsu School of Canada student clinic, I just envisoned myself as a therapist. This was after university and a few odd jobs that I had. That shiatsu treatment made me feel amazing, so calm and relaxed. I believe it was the first time I felt in-tune with my body. Acupuncture was a natural next step. I began seeing clients with complicated conditions such as depression, anxiety, IBS and fertility issues requiring a deeper approach to treatment. Having benefitted from acupuncture myself, I knew that adding this ancient modality to my practice would help many of my clients.
How do you decide which modality to use on a client?
Acupuncture (Eastern Asian Medicine) encompasses a variety of modalities. It is not just needles; it also includes cupping, moxibustion, Tui Na (massage) and herbs (which I do not practice myself). Shiatsu is an extension of Eastern Asian Medicine. For any given client, I can tailor treatment depending on their chief complaint, how they present (their constitution), and what they are open to. Most clients are very open, so my treatments are a combination of modalities. I do have some clients who prefer a single modality whether it be acupuncture, shiatsu or cupping. Whenever appropriate, I am happy oblige.
What are the benefits of getting regular treatments of acupuncture or the other modalities you use?
JA: Regular treatments are important because each treatment builds on the others. Whether the response is large or small, they all contribute. There is a saying that goes something to the effect “the longer you have had the condition, the longer it takes to change.” Meaning if you have been experiencing discomfort for many years, do not expect your condition to disappear overnight. Change is incremental. I’ve seen remarkable transformations after a series of treatments: increased mobility, decreased pain, better sleep, improved digestion, even pregnancy after years of infertility, etc.
JoAnn’s Treatment Room
What one ingredient or product would you never, ever use and why?
JA: In my soaps I avoid fragrances and sulfates. Personally, they irritate me physically. The artificial fragrances give me headaches and sodium lauryl sulfates dry out my skin.
Do you think that if people reduce their exposure to toxic ingredients it would help them physically?
JA: Something that is toxic, by its definition is a poison. Our bodies are pretty efficient when it comes to metabolizing toxins. However, if you are already compromised or through overexposure, these poisons can significantly affect the body in many different ways. For example, imagine a client who complains of feeling sluggish, who experiences a “foggy” mind and red, weepy skin. According to Traditional East Asian Medicine, I would diagnose “Damp-Heat.” These symptoms can be a result of consuming excessive amounts of sugar and alcohol. Topical soaps, lotions and fragrances can also contribute to this condition. Treatment would include Acupuncture to clear the Damp-Heat from the body. Homecare would include cutting out the sugar, alcohol and greasy foods from the diet. I would recommend more cooling and lighter foods like steamed green vegetables such as bok choy or cabbage. I would also encourage drinking green tea. Of course a more detailed intake would need to be taken.
If there was one message you could give to everyone about health and wellness what would it be?
JA: Slow down, enjoy life and gain some balance. I have so many clients who work so hard they don’t have time to enjoy life. They are simply stressed out. Stress releases cortisol and that in turn can make us feel depressed and sick. Try going for a walk, reading a book or calling a friend you haven’t seen for a while. These small things bring us happiness and can lift our spirits. Doing something positive for oneself is an easy way to gain health and wellness.
Thanks so much to JoAnn L. Alafriz for taking time out of her busy schedule for this interview. If you’re interested in seeing JoAnn for a treatment you can call or book an appointment online. See contact information below. I highly recommend you visit her! Follow JoAnn on Twitter and Facebook!