She believes in needles
Published 1:15 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014
What one Albert Lea business owner saw at 13 years old led her down a career path in acupuncture.
Cierra Anderson, 27, saw her horse get acupuncture to help with a short striding issue.
“I never heard of it before, but I was amazed with the results she got with one treatment,” Anderson said.
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Her horse had the problem for about six years, and with one treatment, the horse moved almost normal for a period of time. The dream of becoming an acupuncturist didn’t begin quite then, though.
“It’s been a long journey,” Anderson said.
First she wanted to go into pharmacy and then she switched to chiropractic. While she was in her first trimester of chiropractic school in Bloomington, she discovered acupuncture again.
“It was in the same building,” Anderson said. “I always had an interest so I tried it for a week, and I loved it. I loved the medicine so I stayed.”
Anderson went through a three-year program, worked for two chiropractors and in April of last year opened her business, Healing Focus Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine LLC in Albert Lea. She sees about 10 patients a week and hopes to see more. She estimated a quarter of the people she sees have experienced acupuncture.
“The other three-quarters have heard what it’s good for, but there’s still a lot of curiosity,” Anderson said.
On the first visit to Anderson, a client is required to fill out an intake form that tells about his or her health history. Then Anderson reviews it and discusses with them their main concerns.
Then Anderson checks the person’s pulse.
“There are 20 subtle differences in a pulse that we look for,” Anderson said.
The pulse can tell Anderson what other questions she should be asking about how her client is feeling. She said she also will look at their tongue.
“That kind of gives me an idea of what’s going on internally,” Anderson said.
After that, the client gets comfortable on the treatment table, and Anderson begins inserting needles. She inserts between 15 and 30 one-time use needles that are the size of a human hair or a cat’s whisker.
“They’re really tiny and virtually painless,” Anderson said. “It’s nothing like getting an injection.”
The needles stay in place for about 20 minutes — the length of time it takes the blood to circulate through the body once.
“A lot of people feel very relaxed and about half of them fall asleep in that time,” Anderson said.
After the needles are removed Anderson discusses with the client whether they want to do any self care at home with herbs.
Herbs are something that can also be done during acupuncture. One herb, for example, that Anderson has used is moxa. The herb is placed on the top of the needle and lit on fire.
To help with people’s curiosity or ease the worry about acupuncture, Anderson runs a special.
“The idea of having needles put into you in kind of scary,” Anderson said. “I offer them a taste of what acupuncture is like. Not a big time commitment, not a big price commitment. I chat with them about what it does, what it feels like and let them see the needles and just show them that it doesn’t hurt at all.”
“I hate needles myself,” Anderson said. “But I can handle acupuncture.”
In her classes at Northwestern Health Sciences University, Anderson and her classmates had to do acupuncture on each other.
“And I actually sought care myself for menstrual issues, which made me more of a believer in acupuncture,” Anderson said.
To become certified in acupuncture and herbs, Anderson had to see more than 1,000 patients and put in more than 3,000 clinic hours. She also had to pass three board exams after graduation and apply for a license with the Minnesota Medical Board.
And, even now that she has her own business, the education hasn’t stopped. She is required to take continuing education classes and she still does a lot of research.
Even though it’s been less than a year since she opened, Anderson has a 20-year goal in mind.
“For Albert Lea, my dream would be to open a complementary alternative medicine clinic,” Anderson said.
That clinic would include chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, life coaching and a nurse practitioner.
“I worked in an integrated clinic in the Cities, and I just liked how it worked,” Anderson said. “I liked the modality of everyone working together with a common goal of helping people.”
Healing Focus Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine LLC is in suite No. 7 in the Professional Building, 216 E. Main St., Albert Lea.
Anderson is potentially relocating the business to a larger space in the former American Red Cross building in April.
“It’s exciting,” Anderson said. “This has always been a temporary start, like a cozy, startup place. This new location seems to be more permanent.”
Healing Focus Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday. It can be reached at 369-4654.
Other services offered
• Facial rejuvenation
• Food therapy
• Herbal consult
• Auricular acupuncture