Sharp operator ... Elise Blundell outside Community House, where she will open a community acupuncture clinic next week. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

While being prodded by needles may not sound like much fun, its benefits far outweigh the negatives, according to Elise Blundell who plans to make a career out the practice of acupuncture.

She opens a community acupuncture clinic at Community House in Oamaru next Thursday and hopes that if it is successful, a private clinic will follow.

The 23-year-old grew up at Papakaio before she moved with her family to Waimate where she worked on a dairy farm.

She has been back in the Waitaki district for about seven months, based at Ngapara.

Before she returned to her home patch, she completed a bachelor of health sciences (acupuncture) degree at the New Zealand School of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in Wellington and also holds a diploma in tui na massage.

Miss Blundell said she wanted to set up the clinic to offer people a more cost-effective form of treatment.

“It’s an affordable walk-in clinic and I treat people in a group setting. People just come in and have a seat and I have a quick conversation with them and then treat them. They pay between $15 and $40 compared to the usual $60.”

She said there were similar clinics in Wellington and Auckland, and that the format was quite common in the United States.

Miss Blundell believed the community would embrace the idea.

“I think it’s quite open to different things, like the community gardens and the steampunk things, and the summer school .. those kinds of things made me think this community would be open and accepting of this.

“I’d like to open a private clinic as well to run alongside it at Community House.”

Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body and is a key component of traditional Chinese medicine.

It is commonly used for pain relief, although it is also used to treat a wide range of conditions.

The majority of people who seek out acupuncture do so for musculoskeletal problems, including low back pain, shoulder stiffness and knee pain.

Miss Blundell said most patients would undergo 10 to 12 sessions, and that the practice did not have the side effects drugs can.

The clinic will be open from 12pm to 7pm each Thursday.Running sport mediaBoots