Healthy Living

Dunning Acupuncture and Massage

Treat Your Body to Healthy Living

By Marge Shoemaker

You might not guess it from their name, but Dunning Acupuncture and Massage offers more than acupuncture treatments and therapeutic massages. They also have an herbal pharmacy and provide consultations in herbalism. Herbal pharmaceuticals are powdered herbs that are specially mixed in accordance with your individual diagnosis.


Joel Dunning is a Classic Chinese Medicine practitioner. Classic Chinese Medicine (CCM) differs from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). CCM is concerned with the use of herbs as prescribed by a trained herbalist. In ancient times, knowledge of this art was passed from Master to Apprentice. This linear transfer of knowledge was generally maintained within a family and was specialized according to the family’s needs. Joel follows the Tian Family Style of Herbal Medicine (also known as the Sichuan from SZ Province) and has received national licensure as a Diplomate of Herbalism.


Herbal pharmaceuticals differ from the herbal supplements you might purchase over the counter, though both are plant-based. Herbal supplements come in various forms (dried, powdered, capsule, or liquid) and can be used in various ways. Herbal pharmaceuticals are powdered, dried herbs that are mixed or individually prepared and packaged according to the diagnosed needs of an individual client. Generally, they are mixed with boiling water and drunk in prescribed doses designed to maintain health.


We’re all familiar with herbs used for cooking, and we know that they must be used according to the desired taste of the dish we are preparing. Garlic, for example, normally wouldn’t be used in a sugar-sweetened pastry. On the other hand, garlic is often combined with sugar to counteract the tartness in something like a tomato-based pasta sauce. In cooking, each herb has special usages.


Similarly, pharmaceutical herbs have specialized uses. For example, a local health food vendor tells me that garlic is often thought of as beneficial for cardiovascular conditions, while ginkgo biloba may be used to boost memory. “My studies in CCM have prepared me to recognize symptoms in my clients that relate to certain diseases or imbalances,” Joel explains. “Each organ in the body governs a specific process in our metabolic system. I prescribe herbs according to the pattern of symptoms presented.”


When making preparations from his herbal pharmacy, Joel devises an herbal formula specialized for the individual needs of each client as per his diagnosis of their symptoms. A formula may contain several herbs, each chosen for their specific use and how they react or relate to the other herbs used. The prepared formula is given to the client in powdered form, complete with a scoop and directions for how many scoops to mix with very hot water before drinking.


After a specified amount of time, the client comes in for a follow-up appointment so Joel can evaluate the evolution of the patient’s vitality and specific symptom progress. “That evaluation is the easiest way to determine if I need to increase or decrease the dosage or make changes within the formula,” Joel says. “I get to see what works, taking into consideration the whole health system and all the organ systems of the body.” These re-evaluations are part of the Classic Chinese Medicine system of trial and error. Some herbal combinations help each other more than others. Herbs make an imprint on the system. They help by giving the body guidance, supporting natural function, on how it can best carry out physiological and metabolic processes.


Herbal pharmaceuticals generally don’t have side effects on their own, though it is best not to self-prescribe with a complex medical condition. Health care is a complex field, and all practitioners need years of training before they can practice safely. Joel advises his clients to discuss changes and differences in their health care plans with their medical doctors as well as their herbalists. “Be sure to see a qualified practitioner,” he says. “Don’t play games with your health care or take it lightly.”


If you are interested in an herbal consultation, give Joel a call at 402-650-7715. Joel also provides acupuncture treatments on-site. His wife, Teresa Dunning, is a licensed massage therapist and provides the massage treatments.


Dunning Acupuncture and Massage is located at 1020 South 78th Street (the northwest corner of 78th and Pacific), in Omaha. For additional information, visit them online at

July '21 Healthy Living - Joel Dunning M.Ac., Dipl.Herb. Master Degreee of Acupuncture.jpg

Joel Dunning, L.Ac., Dipl. Herb, Master Degree of Acupuncture