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East Meets West at Chris Cannon Wellness

South Maui center offers Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.

June 7, 2012
Sherry Remez , The Maui Weekly

Chris Cannon's first love is Chinese herbal medicine (CHM). She was always interested in natural health in general, but when her severe allergies were cured through CHM years ago, she said she was "won over, completely sold, captivated; can't get enough of it."

Following her heart 22 years ago, she earned a diploma in both acupuncture and CHM and completed an internship in China. Before moving to Maui with her husband in 2009, she practiced in Denver for 18 years, with a strong focus on women's health. Her Colorado practice also included bringing comfort to end-of-care patients with painful terminal disease.

The New Zealand-born practitioner actively continues to expand her already extensive knowledge and skills, currently traveling between Maui and San Francisco as part of a doctoral program that will eventually enable her to teach college-level courses.

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Chris Cannon specializes in women’s health, relief of rheumatoid arthritis and other painful conditions.

Chris, now at Chris Cannon Wellness in Wailea, is an advocate of integrating traditional Chinese medicine with the Western medical model, "bringing it into our consciousness in a balanced way." She's observed that education and practice have become watered down in the West, but that stricter accreditation standards are starting to be established nationally.

Cannon treats all forms of dis-ease and discomfort, but she specializes in across-the-board women's' gynecological issues, such as painful periods, missed periods, endometriosis, etc. She notes that those patients who are committed to a prescribed combined treatment of acupuncture and herbs find relief.

Rheumatoid arthritis is another area Cannon often addresses. Consulting on their condition, she educates patients on dietary issues that can affect the joints.

Her approach to treatment follows long-held guidelines that are intuitionally supplemented on the spot to accommodate the needs of a particular patient.

"I was trained very traditionally," she explained. "The theory behind what I do was written over thousands of years. Basically, you are working with a set of parameters and applying them to different bodies all the time."

This is the challenge and art of her craft. The body is diagnosed through the conventional approach--checking the tongue and pulses. Then, treatment follows that may include CHM and/or acupuncture, which Cannon said "is a hugely beneficial supplemental treatment to the herbs, because of the stress reduction that they bring about."

Acupuncture is an age-old healing practice of traditional Chinese medicine in which thin needles are placed at specific points in the body. It's primarily used to relieve pain but also has been used to treat other conditions.

Cannon described her needling technique as "very rapid," and although she was trained to be deep, her method is blended with that of another school of acupuncture she has studied called "Japanese Toyohari style" in which a needle is sometimes merely held over the skin at an acupuncture point.

"I am very quick when I needle and people don't feel it," she said. "I usually let the body do the work. I believe the body has its own wisdom."

Impressed with Chris's background and knowledge, and not new to acupuncture or Chinese herbal healing, I requested a "tune-up." Lying comfortably on her treatment table for 20 minutes, I relaxed as warm sensations of chi (the life force energy) moved through the meridians (energy pathways). I thoroughly appreciated the mature skill of this dedicated practitioner.

I left the office feeling energized; low backache relieved. Chris prescribed an herbal preparation to balance my spleen system, because I bruise too easily. The herbs are powdered and processed in such a way that they can be added to boiling water and easily taken as a tea. I have continued taking the herbal remedy she prescribed and plan to see her again.

"The most rewarding thing is seeing people being happy in their body, taking away back pain or headache, or getting rid of menstrual cramping, helping with anxiety--it can be anything," said Chris. "Seeing someone comfortable in their own body so they can go out and be able to do things they hadn't been doing--that's pretty much what makes my world go around."

Chris Cannon, M.S., L.Ac., Dipl. O.M., is located in the Wailea Health and Wellness Center in Wailea Town Center.

For a personalized consultation, contact her at or call (808) 463-5884. For more information, visit and



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