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Enterprising Ideas

Dunning Acupuncture and Massage

Bringing Eastern Medicine to Omaha

By Deborah Daley

Dunning Acupuncture and Massage has been in business for two decades, but the services the clinic offers have been around for millennia. Owner Joel Dunning specializes in traditional Chinese medicine, including acupuncture. He and his wife, Teresa, who is a licensed massage therapist, are committed to bringing the benefits of Eastern medicine to the Omaha community. Unlike Western medicine, which focuses on mitigating health issues after they appear, Eastern medicine focuses on balancing a person’s energy state.


How did this passion for Eastern medicine evolve? Joel earned his undergraduate degree in biology from St. John’s University in Minnesota. During that time, he studied abroad in China and developed a keen interest in an Eastern approach to health. “I felt the Eastern approach to health made more sense,” Joel says. “It believes we are born healthy in body and spirit and that when the energy goes out of sync, we need to focus it.” 


Following his graduation, he went back to China to teach English to Chinese students. He decided he wanted to pursue acupuncture professionally. He spent two years in China and then he completed a four-year master’s degree in acupuncture at Yo San University in Los Angeles. Joe is nationally and state licensed in acupuncture and Chinese herbalism.


“The traditional Chinese approach to health and disease is to be in perfect harmony,” Joel explains. “Everything works together. If something is out of kilter, that is where you focus to eradicate the problem. We go to the source of the problem to fix it.”


According to Joel, the first challenge he faced in starting his practice was educating the public. Many people in the Omaha area were unaware of the benefits of Eastern medicine. He began to offer classes at massage schools, yoga classes, and other holistic endeavors…anywhere where he could get the word out. He was building relationships and connecting with holistic practitioners to start his business. In 2006, he and Teresa got married, and Teresa joined the practice. 


The primary service at Dunning Acupuncture and Massage is acupuncture. There are 14 major energy channels, called meridians, coursing through the human body. A subtle energy called Chi circulates via the meridians to all parts of the body. Its balanced, unimpeded flow is critical to sound health. If there is any misdirection, blockage, or other derangement of the amount, flow, or balance of Chi, there is a resulting pain, dysfunction, or ill health. 


Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles at specific points on the body. With these needles, the acupuncturist stimulates certain points along the course of the meridians. Such stimulation helps restore the normal balance and flow of Chi so organs and bodily systems can work together in harmony. This sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own health.


In addition to acupuncture and massage, the clinic offers herbal medicine and the therapeutic movements of Qigong and Eastern yoga. Qigong is a system of coordinated body-posture, movement, breathing, and meditation. It is used for the purposes of health, spirituality, and martial-arts training.


Joel’s biggest reward is helping people get in touch with their bodies and, ultimately, feel better. One of those people is Amy Schmidt, a grateful believer in Joel’s services. “I have been going to Joel for several years for pain and to balance out a thyroid issue,” Amy says. She used to take a medication to treat her thyroid, but she never felt balanced. “Between the acupuncture and herbs, I no longer take the thyroid medication. I am almost 60 and take no medications! I feel much better using this natural approach.” 


John and Deb Ecklund have been coming to Joel for nearly 14 years and especially appreciate the patient-specific herbal formulas that he develops in his on-site herbal pharmacy. “Joel has helped me control and virtually eliminate my severe headaches, muscle inflammation, and sinus and allergy issues,” Deb shares. “He is an excellent herbalist and is able to mix the correct tea for what my current symptoms are. He has helped me detox when my allergies flare up. His immunity formula has kept us healthy through many cold and flu seasons.” 


Joel’s commitment to educating the public on the many benefits of Eastern medicine has not changed in the past 20 years, but his approach has adjusted to meet the public’s needs. He is currently developing an online module to educate customers and expects it to launch in about six months. 


Dunning Acupuncture and Massage is located at 1020 South 78th Street, in Omaha. To learn more about the services they offer, visit them online at To make an appointment, please call 402-650-7715. 

Dunning July20.png

Teresa Dunning and 
Joel Dunning,
M.Ac., L.Ac., Dipl.Herb.

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