By Ron VandenBoom
Tammy Ellison is a registered nurse that felt she wanted do more than just treat symptoms she wanted to have a real impact on her patients by treating the root causes of their suffering.
The answer for Ellison was a 2,000 year old alternative to western medical techniques known as acupuncture.
Acupuncture was developed by the Chinese and over time it has proven to be effective in the treatment of many common, and not so common, ailments ranging from simple pain relief to improving the health of people with chronic and even terminal illnesses.
Ellison spent four years studying acupuncture at the Southwest Acupuncture College in Bolder, Colorado, where she received a master's level degree and national certification.
She is now bringing her knowledge and abilities to the Havre/Chinook area.
"I just want to help people I really do," Ellison said.
Ellison, whose maiden name is Moxley, now lives in Manhattan, Montana, near Bozeman, but she was raised in Chinook and returns to Chinook every other month to treat patients and visit family.
This is the first time acupuncture care has been available locally and so far Ellison said her schedule has been full and interest has been great.
"Acupuncture is energy medicine," she said, explaining that the body has energy meridians that are all connected. When a blockage occurs it can lead to other physical complications. The procedure involves inserting extremely thing needles into the meridian points in the body redirecting or rejuvenating the energy flowing through them.
Ellison will also sometimes add electrical stimulation to the needles to enhance the effect.
Blockage can occur, Ellison said, as a result of physical injury, stress, disease, and even as a result of the food we eat, pollution, and our environment.
Acupuncture works to balance out and remove what Ellison called "stagnations" from our meridians so they don't lead to disease.
Ellison cautions however that acupuncture will not cure diseases such as cancer, but she does claim it can help ease the nausea and hair loss associated with therapy, give the patient more energy and help build up white blood cell counts.
"Any kind of pain it can usually do wonders for," she said. "And it might even take the pain away completely."
Acupuncture is also known to have been used as an anesthetic during operations to kill pain allowing the patient to remain awake and yet comfortable during the procedure. Ellison said she has seen it used successfully on a friend while dental work was being performed without novocaine.
Ellison said she's also had success treating people going through drug and alcohol detox and smokers who want their cravings eliminated.
Specialties for which she has received special training include treating expectant mothers for morning sickness and other related OBGYN related symptoms and trauma injuries, including sports injuries.
Perhaps the thing she most enjoys is working with children.
"I love to do kids," she said.
Normally Ellison will not use the thin wire acupuncture needles on kids at least not until they are used to her. She prefers instead to use acupressure.
Ellison sells packages of three treatments for $100, she said, explaining that it usually takes that many to receive the full benefit from the experience. She will treat children for $50 a package.
Because she is just getting started in her practice, she currently works strictly on a cash basis. But some insurance companies will cover the cost of acupuncture and she recommends that patients check with their insurance company prior to making an appointment.
Ellison will pay her next visit to the Havre area May 12-20.
For more information, or to make an appointment call Dorothy Moxley at 357-3129.