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On My Mind: Chinese medicine -- Getting needled

Acupuncture is one of the main forms of treatment in traditional Chinese medicine. Today, in most western cultures it is considered a "new alternative" medicine.

In reality, it has been practiced in China for more than 2,000 years (some think it has been around for 4,000 years) and has proven to be effective over thousands of years.

Acupuncture involves the use of thin, painless needles that are inserted in the body at very specific points to influence physiological functioning of the body.

It is based on the principal that the world is full of energy or life force called "Chi" or "Qi."

Chi is the essential energies of life, including its spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects. Chi flows through everything in life, including the human body.

A person's health is influenced by the flow of Chi in the body. When the opposing forces of yin and yang are in harmongy, Chi flows freely within the body and a person is healthy. If the flow of Chi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, illness may occur. The purpose of acupuncture is to facilitate the even circulation of Chi.

Whether or not the traditional explanation of Acupuncture is relevant today, one thing is indisputable: acupuncture works.

I don't have any personal experience with acupuncture, but I had a family member who did. For many years, my late grandmother had trigeminal neuralgia, which caused her excruciating pain. Then my mother took her to a traditional Chinese medicine hospital.

After her acupuncture treatment, her pain was gone forever. So, I believe the power and benefits of acupuncture as an alternative medicine.

I am glad a new acupuncture clinic, Acupuncture Woodbury, opened recently in this community by Ms. Weili Shen, a licensed acupuncturist.

Shen studied Western and Chinese Medicine in the Health School of Tongji Medical University, Wuhan, China. She has worked in a Chinese hospital for over ten years.

She came to the United States in 1991 and became an American citizen in 2001. She moved to Minnesota from Colorado in 1995, when her husband was hired by 3M. She further studied acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for three years and obtained a Master's degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Now, she holds Diplomat in Acupuncture by National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, USA and License for acupuncture by the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice.

"Acupuncture Woodbury is one of the premier Twin Cities acupunctural clinics, a center of excellence in acupuncture and Chinese traditional medicine," Shen said. "The clinic offers a wide variety of acupunctural health care services for all ages, for ailments ranging from back pain to nicotine addiction."

Shen had treated many patients before she opened her own clinic. The patients with various problems like facial paralysis, migraines, depression, joint pains, high blood pressure and diabetes have been treated with satisfied results.

"The beauty of the treatment lies in its inherent ability to allow the body to heal itself. Since acupuncture is a natural way of promoting one's body to self-adjust, it does not carry the side effects and risks of many modern remedies," Shen said.

Acupuncture has been used to treat many medical problems, including:

• Musculo-Skeletal disorders: Arthritis, automobile injuries, sports injuries, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, back pain, bursitis, shoulder pain, sprains, still neck and tendonitis

• Psychiatric disorders: Anxiety, depression, insomnia, stress, poor memory, schizophrenia, psychoneurosis, hysteria and eating disorders

• Gastrointestinal disorders: Hiccups, inflammation of the stomach, large intestine, small intestine, gall bladder and pancreas, dysentery and constipation

• Endocrine disorders: Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, obesity and adrenal problems

• Immune disorders: Chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome

• Neurological disorders: Migraines, trigeminal neuralgia, facial paralysis, peripheral neuropathy, tinnitus, sciatica, epilepsy, erythromelalgia, neuralgia, cerebral palsy, Bell's palsy and multiple sclerosis

• Connective tissue disorders: Lupus erythematosus, scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis

• Gynecological conditions: Dysmenorrhea, irregular menstruation, PMS, breast problems, endometriosis, ovarian/cervical/vaginal problems, uterine prolapse, postpartum disorders, menopause and infertility

• Dermatological conditions: Acne, eczema, herpes and psoriasis

• Addictions: Sugar, nicotine, cigarette, coffee, recreational drugs and medication alcohol

• Supportive therapy: Cancer support treatment and post-surgical recovery

At Acupuncture Woodbury, other Chinese Medicine treatments may also be used if needed.

The examples are Tuina, a Chinese therapeutic massage; Cupping, suctioning using a medicinal jar to enhance energy flow; Electric Stimulation, stimulating vital points on the body using a specially-made instrument; Auricular Therapy, stimulating points on the ear that have unique relationships with the body to treat diseases; and Moxiustion, burning moxa wool on vita points on the body to warm energy pathway.

Shen offers six tracks of treatments at Acupuncture Woodbury. They are anti-aging, pain alleviation, stress balancing, weight regulation, skin rejuvenation and stroke and surgery rehabilitation.

The clinic is located at 7582 Currell Boulevard, Suite 215, Woodbury, across the street from Woodbury Post Office.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit or call (651) 789-0402.