WASHBURN — Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat pain and disease, and to promote and maintain general health and wellbeing. But to most people it’s still as mysterious as old Chinese paintings with jagged mountains enshrouded in mist. Julie Casper, L. Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist) from Bayfield, has brought acupuncture out of the clouds and into town.
As of two weeks ago, Casper has moved her business, Health Elite, out of her home in Bayfield, where she’s practiced since 2008, to Shine Massage and Bodywork on Bayfield Street in Washburn. A more convenient location for her clients, she’s doing exactly what she’s done the last six years: private as well as community acupuncture, and exercise and nutrition therapy.
Casper is a classically trained Oriental medicine physician. She earned her acupuncture degree from the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences located in Nelson, British Columbia. She also has additional qualifications and clinical practice in applied meridian theory, traditional qigong, health qigong, and musculoskeletal assessment and pathology correction.
Since she was a child Casper has always wanted to be a doctor. When she was six, she planned to be a veterinarian; in high school, a medical doctor. She was headed that way, awarded a gymnastics scholarship senior year and accepted into a college for pre-med studies, but fate lifted the lid on her dream and let it get away.
”I had a terrible injury which ended my gymnastics career as well as my scholarship,” she said.
She couldn’t afford pre-med school without it, so she ended up attending a vocational school for horticulture instead.
“Horticulture is sort of medicine,” she chuckled, “because if you know how to grow your own food, that’s your best medicine.”
Casper really knows how to grow her own food. Ever since she and her husband, Bruce Martinson, moved to Bayfield from White Bear Lake in their early 20s, they’ve been growing exceptional gardens. At first they raised turkeys, chickens, lambs and goats on their homestead, where for one year they lived in a house made out of straw bales. Now they live in a palatial home with a huge vegetable garden and tons of raised beds. This is no ordinary garden, however.
“I do all kinds of things to grow extremely nutrient-dense food,” Casper said, “from mineral balancing the soil to raising worms for worm-composting. I also make my own compost teas and brew probiotics which I spray on my garden.”
She believes that nutrient-dense food is the best medicine there is. But for those who don’t have time to cultivate such garden-cocktails or simply get caught up in the tangle of modern living to the point they become imbalanced, Casper has some tricks up her sleeve.
Though exercise and nutrition are essential components to her protocol, acupuncture’s at the core of her practice.
“Acupuncture is a safe, non-toxic alternative to conventional treatment with drugs and surgery,” she said. “It’s clinically proven and recommended by many organizations including the World Health Organization. Increasingly it’s used in hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic. It’s very effective for treating numerous conditions: acute and chronic pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, depression, emotional disorders, addictions and cravings, smoking cessation, and insomnia. It’s also an effective form of preventive medicine because it helps strengthen the immune system.”
“Effective” results usually require a series of three to ten treatments. A private session costs $75. But for those on a tight budget she offers a community clinic for $20 a session. After the initial evaluation, which costs $75, Casper sets aside one day a week (Sundays) for her clinic. She lines people up in lounge chairs in the lobby of Shine and treats her patients simultaneously. The way it works with acupuncture is after the needles are inserted, the patient lies around for as much as an hour. So who cares if there are other people in the room? However, private sessions do allow for more options, like being treated both on the back side as well as the front. Private sessions will be available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 1-6 p.m.
Casper has found that exercise and nutrition play a huge part in healing. For that reason she cross-trained, so to speak. While in Canada for three and a-half years earning her acupuncture credentials, she also studied muscular skeletal therapy with a man named Ed Fuez.
“I worked with him for two and a-half years, watching how he got people up and out of wheelchairs and walking again, even though they’d been told they’d never walk again,” she said.
When she came back to the states she was certified as an exercise coach with C.H.E.K. Institute based in California. In addition she became an hTMA nutritional therapist, teacher and mentor.
“Nutritional balancing addresses cellular health,” Casper explains on her website. “When your cells have the correct nutrient minerals needed for optimum functioning, overall health is improved, and toxins are safely removed. This is accomplished using a non-invasive, comprehensive health screen (hTMA). Lab results are used to direct an individualized nutritional protocol.”
Casper comes to acupuncture and the healing profession via personal experience. Having suffered from asthma for years, she finally listened to her sister who told her about an acupuncturist in Spooner.
“Acupuncture and Chinese medicine resolved it for me in short order. But I couldn’t understand how it worked,” she said.
Curiosity led her to temporarily moving to Canada for her acupuncture training while Martinson held down the fort in Bayfield. By this point Casper had raised two sons and been a support person for her husband’s graphic design business as a bookkeeper and agent for several decades. She’d grown numerous gardens and put up barrels of food every season. So it was time for Casper to revisit her old dream.
Life rarely travels in a straight line, however, especially when it comes to fulfilling dreams. Yes, Casper’s a doctor, just not the one she thought she’d be. She’s come full circle, and now offers a holistic approach to healing with her business, Health Elite, open four days a week at Shine Massage and Bodywork.
To make an appointment or find out more about Julie Casper go to: http://healthelite.org/about.php or call 715-779-3966.
Hope McLeod can be reached at email@example.com