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Alex Tan

Based in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

  • Chinese Medicine Expert & Founder of Straight Bamboo
  • Oriental Medicine Practitioner & Educator whose strength lies in translating ancient health wisdom and delivering it in a structured modern context
  • Facilitating a greater appreciation of Eastern perspectives, Tan motivates audiences towards a higher view of life, health and relationships
  • Chinese Medicine Expert & Founder of Straight Bamboo
  • Oriental Medicine Practitioner & Educator whose strength lies in translating ancient health wisdom and delivering it in a structured modern context
  • Facilitating a greater appreciation of Eastern perspectives, Tan motivates audiences towards a higher view of life, health and relationships

Alex TAN is a Chinese medicine expert who provides consultancy, lectures, workshops and trainings as well as running a busy Chinese medicine clinic. Tan has a degree in TCM and has been studying and practicing Chinese medicine since 2002. He has also been practicing Qi Gong since 1996.

With a keen interest in Chinese medicine and preventative health practices, Tan traveled to China in 2005 where he lived and worked for 10-years. Many years prior to formal study, Tan’s engineering background (Tan also has a degree in Construction Management) and fascination with Western Science at the highest level led him to relational ideas in ancient Eastern philosophy. This connection and realization inspired him to eventually see life and health through the lens of Chinese medicine.

Tan believes the true power of Chinese medicine lies in the prevention… its theory and methodology.  Tan’s talent lies in understanding and translating ancient health wisdom, then delivering it in a structured way. He strongly believes that this process, experience and deeper connection with the content, is a key to initiate authentic personal change. Alex skillfully facilitates the first steps from conceptual understanding into real action.

‘Effective wellness programs are about creating the ‘right mix’ of quality content, process and follow-up providing the greatest chance for genuine personal change and growth’

Tan is a unique combination of ancient wisdom and modern science. He is a native English speaker with a Chinese heritage who understands Chinese language and culture and both Asian and ‘non-Asian’ perspectives. Tan is originally from Sydney, and after 10-years in China has relocated the family to Flagstaff, Arizona (his wife’s hometown).

Tan’s aim is to help you discover the power of Chinese medicine for restoring, maintaining and promoting balance, health, productivity and fulfilment.

Tan specializes in:

  • Understanding, practicing and teaching cultural perspectives through the lens of health
  • Chinese Medicine grounded education workshops and trainings
  • Inspirational speaking engagements to encourage reflection on our own perspectives on life and gain greater appreciation for Eastern ideas


We have recently seen cupping marks, or what appears to be tennis ball size circular reddish/bluish marks on Michael Phelps and other Olympic athletes. There are a number of names and explanations for what these marks are. Let’s take a closer look at this and the history related to this ancient health remedy.

Along with the high-tech training, equipment and treatment methods, we are seeing evidence of the rise of complementary medicine within the developed world. The wellness movement, the rise of East Asian Medicine, an interest in relational, subjective, holistic perspectives returning to give counter-weight to our recent era of analytical, objective, reductionist view of the world and the human body. For many of us, this is a natural addition to the established healthcare system and takes nothing away from biomedicine and its effectiveness. This is about providing a comprehensive approach to health and human life.

In Chinese medicine cupping can be used as a general preventative method of promoting health, as well as for the simple treatment of tight, sore or stiff muscles. It is also used from a more clinical perspective to treat general health conditions including arthritic pain, digestive disorders, headache, hypertension, common cold, cough, lower back pain, painful menstruation and painful eye conditions.

Cupping generally leaves marks, that look like perfect round bruises. The benefits are believed to be associated with drawing up fluids from deeper tissue stagnation to the surface, allowing those deeper areas to be flushed with fresh oxygenated blood, while stagnation is moved to the surface where the body has a better ability to resolve it.

The theory of Acupuncture & Oriental medicine notes that many diseases are due to stagnation, or ‘blocked Qi’ and cupping is one of the methods that can restore normal circulation in areas of congestion, and therefore improve health and restore balance.

Cupping is considered to be one of the oldest natural healing therapies, which some archeologists believe to date back as far as 3000BCE. Hippocrates (460-370BCE) was known for using cupping for internal diseases and structural problems. It has been used as a folk remedy in and around the Mediterranean until quite recently, including countries such as France, Lebanon, Greece, Italy and Germany as you will find many grandparents in these areas with knowledge of these methods prior to the rise of modern biomedicine.

The earliest record of cupping is from approximately 1550BCE by the Egyptians, recorded in the Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical textbooks in the world.

Archeologists also found evidence in China of cupping dating as far back as 1000BCE. The earliest documentation of cupping we have from China was by Ge Hong (282-341ACE) in his ‘Handbook of Prescriptions For Emergencies’. Ge Hong was a well known Taoist alchemist and medicinal herbalist that held close ties with the Imperial Court.

Cupping as a therapeutic practice spread through the medicine world, throughout Asian and European civilizations. Each culture having their own name for cupping therapy and their own methods of cupping. Here are some of the names that cupping is known as by the various cultures that embraced it: Hijamah; Baguanfa; Jiaofa; Bentusa; Vendouse; Gac Hoi; Bahnkes; Kyukaku; Ventosaterapia; Schröpfen; Kupa Cekme; Bankovani; Ventouzzes; Vacuume Terapi.

There are a number of contra-indications as well as potential problems using cupping, so I recommend you find an experienced and trained professional. As we have seen, there are many traditions as well as many competent modern therapists that utilize cupping and it is not exclusively Chinese medicine. However, if you are looking for a professional with extensive training and experience in cupping you can rely on your local Acupuncturist or Oriental medicine practitioner, as it is still an established part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) training and practice.


Courtesy of: Alex Tan

Depicts the journey of Chinese medicine using the ancient Ming dynasty altar in Beijing as the setting. The series of clips explore the role in the Emperors played in the ancient ceremonies, how these traditions relate to Daoism and form the heart of Chinese culture and Chinese medicine philosophy.

Daoist philosophers were the physicists of the ancient world researching the operations powering the universe, Yin and Yang (the female and male principles) and Dao (the way of nature) and Qi (life force) to name a few as the building blocks of this cosmic view.

Alex’s walk through the philosophical underpinnings of ancient Chinese thought, not only relates to medicine but also your health, life purpose, self-responsibility and destiny.

Lesson 1: The Imperial Altars & Chinese Medicine
Lesson 1: The Imperial Altars & Chinese Medicine
Lesson 2: What was the Emperor's role at the altar.
Lesson 2: What was the Emperor’s role at the altar.
Lesson 3: The Dao & Chinese Culture.
Lesson 3: The Dao & Chinese Culture


Lesson 4: Yin-Yang & Five Phrases
Lesson 4: Yin-Yang & Five Phrases


Lesson 5: Regular Life Rhythm
Lesson 5: Regular Life Rhythm


Lesson 6: Five Noble Activities & Conclusions
Lesson 6: Five Noble Activities & Conclusions


Originally by: Alex Tan, Source:

See All News 
  • TCM Preventative Health Presentations
    • Unpacking 5000-years of Chinese Medicine Health Philosophy
    • How to use Chinese medicine to better understand ourselves and reach higher levels of wellbeing
    • Chinese Dietary Therapy
      • Theory -­ Food Energetics
      • Practical -­ Eat Well and Stay Healthy the Traditional Chinese Way
    • Qi Gong Class – theory and practical
    • Eat Sleep Breath Workshop
    • Introduction to Chinese Herbs
    • The Benefits of Breathwork
  • Corporate Wellness Trainings
    • Respond vs React – To help participants become more productive and effective under pressure and to achieve it without compromising their personal health and happiness
  • TCM Academic Programs
    • TCM Prevention, Wellness & Longevity for TCM Clinicians
    • Introduction to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
    • Introduction to TCM methodology
      • Part 1 – Acupuncture, Moxibustion
      • Part 2 – Chinese Herbal Medicine


The Beijing Cold & Flu Book -- The Easy to Use Guide of Prepared Chinese Herbal Medicine to Treat Cold & Flu  
The Beijing Cold & Flu Book — The Easy to Use Guide of Prepared Chinese Herbal Medicine to Treat Cold & Flu













“High-level workshop, professional communications and customization with excellent implementation and participant feedback”

Coaching & Leadership Training, Volkswagen China

    “Thank you so much – you are an excellent teacher!  These Qi Gong classes, both the exercises and the information on Daoist thought, plus all the incidental knowledge you gave me while my acupuncture needles were brewing – it was life changing.”

Canadian School Principal

    “Thank you for an amazing course, I really found everything so interesting and it is clear you love the subject and have studied so much and in so much depth.”

International Department,

China National Convention Center – Beijing