WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published November 06, 2011, 11:30 PM

Holistic health care: Fargo conference to discuss alternative medicine

FARGO – Lindsey Trotter bruised her tailbone when an opposing hockey player knocked her down on the ice – a painful injury that made it difficult for her to walk normally.

By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

FARGO – Lindsey Trotter bruised her tailbone when an opposing hockey player knocked her down on the ice – a painful injury that made it difficult for her to walk normally.

The same injury a year earlier had her hobbling for 10 days. She wasn’t looking forward to another slow recovery. A neighbor, a chiropractor, recommended that she see an acupuncturist.

“I was, like, scared because I didn’t like needles,” 12-year-old Lindsey said, recalling her initial reaction. “But it didn’t hurt at all.”

Her first acupuncture treatment was on a Saturday, the day after her Friday night injury.

“I was able to skate on Sunday,” she said. “I actually scored a goal at the scrimmage.”

Her acupuncturist, Tasha Boehland, manipulated needles in her lower back, hands and ankles, healing points along a pathway called a meridian.

Acupuncture strives to restore balance between two opposing forces in the body, yin and yang, by working with patterns of energy flow within the body called qi, pronounced chee.

“Pain is the qi backing up, now flowing properly,” says Boehland, a certified acupuncturist who runs 7 Star Acupuncture in Fargo.

The energy pathways, identified long before sophisticated medical imaging studies were possible, roughly coincide with the body’s nervous system.

Acupuncture, part of traditional Chinese medicine that dates back at least 2,500 years ago, employs needles which are manipulated manually or through electrical stimulation.

The needles – Boehland uses only disposable needles – are so thin that, as Lindsey Trotter found, most patients feel little or no pain.

Boehland was drawn to the practice after attending the Accupressure Institute in Berkeley, Calif., where she was introduced to traditional Chinese medicine.

She will be one of the presenters at a conference Nov. 16 on holistic health and wellness sponsored by the North Dakota State University Office of Distance and Continuing Education.

The seminar offers a chance for health consumers to explore a variety of alternative healing practices, says Linda McNamara, NDSU’s associate director of distance and continuing education.

“We just thought it would be a good idea to pull everything together,” she said. “The reason for the event is to introduce the public to these different means of health and wellness.”

Clinical studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is effective in treating a host of diseases and disorders, including depression, facial pain, headache, hypertension, nausea, knee pain, lower back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, allergic rhinitis, and stroke, according to the World Health Organization.

Some therapeutic effect has been shown, but further proof is needed, for another set of diseases and conditions, including alcohol dependence, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia, osteoarthritis and acute spin pain, according to WHO.

In Boehland’s experience, acupuncture has been effective for treating conditions including anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, menstrual disorders, stroke recovery, Bell’s palsy, and shingles.

On the other hand, acupuncture isn’t recommended for many emergency medical problems, such as heart attacks, advanced heart disease, severe high blood pressure or cancer.

“Stuff that’s real, real serious or advanced, you’re better off going to a hospital or clinic,” Boehland says.

For instance, she adds, “We wouldn’t treat cancer, but we would help make someone more comfortable. Basically what we do is we balance the body,” she says. “We help it balance itself into equilibrium. Some things it’s better at, sometimes it can take a long time to treat.”

Acupuncture, which first became known to many Americans in the 1970s, following Richard Nixon’s visit to China, has been widely practiced in the United States since at least the 1990s.

The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is supporting studies to determine whether acupuncture works for specific health conditions, such as chronic low-back pain, headache and osteoarthritis.

It also is supporting studies to try to better grasp the neurological properties of meridians, the energy pathways, and acupuncture points.

“Definitely it’s being studied more and more now,” says Boehland, who was a pre-medicine student before she was drawn to eastern medicine, which also uses herbal mixes in many of its treatments.

She is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and has a master’s degree in oriental medicine from the American Academy of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Roseville, Minn.

Boehland decided to open a practice in Fargo after being invited by her sister, who is a chiropractor. “She said come to Fargo,” Boehland says. “We have so many people asking for it.”

After opening her clinic last year, she has found many are receptive to the idea of acupuncture. “So many people have told me they wanted to try it but they didn’t know anyone who did it,” she says.

Holistic wellness conference

Consumers interested in exploring alternative health and wellness options will have an opportunity to learn more at a conference Nov. 16 in Fargo.

North Dakota State University’s Office of Distance and Continuing Education will conduct a holistic and natural health conference at Ramada Plaza & Suites.

Presentations include:

  • Introduction to Chinese traditional medicine, including acupuncture

  • Pet massage

  • Natural solutions to headaches

  • Benefits of ionized water

  • Equine therapy

  • Five secrets to looking and feeling better

For more information, call (701) 231-7015 or toll free at (800) 726-1724. Register online at http://ndsu.me/dcehna. Registration costs $49 and includes a keynote speaker lunch.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522