Kimberly Yong-Yow is a Registered Acupuncturist whose goal is to help others find healing and knowledge of their bodies.
After 14 years in her profession, she still enjoys accompanying her clients on their journey’s to healing through her thriving private practice.
What lead you to the world of wellness and Chinese medicine?
I remember being very stressed in high school flipping through a book the guidance counsellor gave me of all the courses I could take in university. I had no idea what I wanted to do but I knew none of the careers in that little book were meant for me.
I went to bed in tears and thought to myself, “what am I going to do?” When I woke up in the morning it just came to me: acupuncture. I have never even tried it myself and I had only seen it done once as a child on my father. I knew nothing about acupuncture. I told my dad and he told me about the Shiatsu School of Canada, now known as Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine (AIM) Academy Toronto. I sat in for a shiatsu class and I fell in love with the material. I ended up learning about shiatsu therapy (which is based off of Traditional Chinese Medicine) and a few years later I started to learn acupuncture.
How would you explain TCM to someone who has no knowledge about it?
Traditional Chinese Medicine has existed and evolved over thousands of years. It is based on the balance of Qi (pronounced “Chi”) energy that circulates through the body in channels called meridians. When the energy in the body is balanced and harmonized you feel healthy and well. An imbalance disrupts the flow of qi and manifest as pain, dysfunction, injury, disease and/or disorders. Traditional Chinese Medicine aims to create a balance of the body, mind and spirit.
As an acupuncturist what concerns do you most often address?
The top complaints of my clients are anxiety, digestion problems and neck and shoulder pain.
Every day stresses can be reflected in many different ways. Everyone copes with stress differently and those who are more sensitive to their environment can experience anxiety.
Many people are confined to a desk and are forced to sit or stand for hours at a time or doing a job that requires repetitive motion which creates a stagnation in our bodies and results in “dis-ease, pain or discomfort.
Foods now are more convenient than ever and are not always the most nutritious. Consuming these types of foods can cause all sorts of digestive problems such as bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea and upset stomach. This, in addition to stress and anxiety, can create a perfect storm. Making adjustments to diet and balancing meridians can help the body rediscover its natural functions.
How do you personally define wellness and beauty?
For me, mental wellness is the foundation of everything. If I’m well-rested and calm I can be more present and can cope much better. But as a mom it can be difficult to keep up. To make sure I don’t forget about myself in all the chaos, I try to do what I call a “Happy Hour” (no martinis though!) which consists of me reserving one hour a day to do something for me! As a mom, partner and caregiver, it’s so easy to get lost in taking care of others, so at the top of every “Happy Hour”, I ask myself, “what would make me happy right now?” This can be something simple as stretching or exfoliating my entire body. For the longest time it was just a nap! The essential part of this practice is sending the message to my mind and spirit that I not only give my love to others, but also myself. Meditation also helps me to connect spiritually and shiatsu therapy and acupuncture helps to ground me.
What's your beauty ritual?
I like to keep it simple and natural: Cleanse, Province Apothecary Invigorating + Balancing Toner, Rejuvenating + Hydrating Face Serum, facial Cupping, gua sha and sunscreen.
What's your self care ritual?
To take care of my body I do stretching and strengthening exercises. Followed by Silent or guided Meditation. I also like to incorporate shiatsu massage, acupuncture, cupping and gua sha to make sure my energy is flowing and circulating as it should.
Water is very cleansing for me, so when I take a shower I do an imagery exercise where I imagine all my stresses and clients energies pouring off of me and going down the drain. That way I don’t carry any negative vibrations with me.
How do you ground yourself during the day?
I inhale deeply and exhale completely while focusing on relaxing my tongue.
The tongue has a connection with the heart in TCM. When I put my focus in to relaxing my tongue it makes me feel less overwhelmed and more in control. Softening the tongue also relaxes the jaw, the throat and the base of my head which allows the energy to flow to my head easier and therefore allows me to concentrate and be more present.
What women do you admire?
I admire MOMS - single moms, moms with more than one kid, moms who are teachers or caregivers and then go home to take care of their own kids, moms who work from home and takes care of kids at the same time, stay-at-home moms, moms who run businesses. Being a parent or caregiver is so incredibly hard and I admire all the moms who care for children while up keeping the home and coming up with new and exciting meals. Bathing, grooming, labelling lunch boxes and tiny shoes. Making sure the kids get to school or managing outside time and screen time. Being a present mom is the biggest challenge I have faced thus far. I am especially grateful for those moms who are open about their challenges and successes. When I see other mom, they seem to have it all together, so being able to share our ups and downs with each other makes it feel like more of a sisterhood.
What's the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Just keep going!”
Shiatsu and acupuncture was not as mainstream in Toronto when I started 14 years ago as it is now. These days you see it in magazines, blogs and even cartoons and, chances are you know someone who has tried it at least once. When I first started, I found myself frequently having to explain what it was and what the benefits were.
Not only did I have to convince people of its effectiveness but, being so young, I felt I also had to prove that I was good at it. Most of my classmates branched off into different modalities or decided to change their careers. My teacher told me, “You just have to keep on going! Keep doing acupuncture. Keep working hard. Keep educating clients. Keep showing up for work even if you don’t have clients that day. Keep striving for better.”
It has applied to so many aspects of my life. Just keep going.