Elise Blundell is bucking the trend of shops closing in Oamaru’s main street.
On Monday, she opened Acupuncture Oamaru at 149 Thames St.
Miss Blundell said it was a good time to rent her own premises, because there were so many to choose from. She has transformed the previously empty site between Flowerz 4 You and Noel Leeming into a welcoming, soothing atmosphere through using colour and decor.
Miss Blundell has installed three treatment rooms behind the front counter and waiting room, and said she would look into sub-letting some of the space to other practitioners.
Miss Blundell, who grew up in Papakaio before moving with her family to Waimate, returned to the district about two and a-half years ago.
She has a bachelor of health sciences degree from the New Zealand School of Acupuncture, plus a diploma in tuina massage, and practised acupuncture in Whanganui.
Miss Blundell has been running acupuncture clinics at Community House in Oamaru for the past two years. She would no longer do so, but would take private clients and those referred through ACC.
Client numbers have increased to the point where she could now run a stand-alone business, she said. Most of that was due to word-of-mouth referrals.
Some also came from local medical practitioners.
Miss Blundell said she had always been interested in alternative medicine.
“Acupuncture’s awesome because it uses the body’s own healing systems to heal itself.”
It was free of chemicals, using fine needles to stimulate specific points in the body, she explained.
“There’s a pattern to every condition,” Miss Blundell said. “It varies for everyone.”
Four years of training allowed her to treat complaints including lower back pain, sore necks and shoulders, and headaches.
Success depended on being able to communicate effectively with the patient, and the latter “being on board with the treatment and doing what I tell them”.
“It’s not a one-off; it’s usually around 10 treatments. It depends how chronic the condition is.”
There was no pain caused by inserting the needles, Miss Blundell said.
She recommended young people consider acupuncture as a career option, because there was a shortage of practitioners in smaller towns throughout New Zealand.