Five Shen Wellness & Acupuncture Clinic
by Barbara Bolduc
As people around the world wake up, they begin to realize the inherent power that they have to heal themselves. James Berry, licensed acupuncturist and founder of Five Shen Wellness & Acupuncture Clinic, understands this. “The body has the innate sense to heal itself, and if we get things flowing the way they should, the body can get back into balance,” he says.
Berry was educated in Five Element Acupuncture—a classical approach to this ancient medicine—rather than the Westernized version that is typically practiced today. “In school they were really adamant that we are part of the conduit between heaven and earth,” Berry reveals, “that energy is coming through us, and that in order to do our best work, we must have integrity in our own practices. The classics, which provide a basis for Eastern Medicine, state how important it is for the practitioner to sharpen themselves as a tool. At Five Shen, we believe that if we aren’t doing the work to cultivate growth within ourselves, we cannot truly make a heart-to-heart connection with patients.”
Berry began his journey into eastern medicine with qigong, a practice similar to tai chi. After a while, he began teaching it, and this led him to study The Five Element Tradition of Acupuncture and eventually to establish the clinic. Additional services offered include herbal remedies, cupping, tuina (eastern version of massage and bodywork), and meditation and/or Qigong teachings to patients who have an interest in learning.
With regards to acupuncture, Berry points out that the process is not just for treating pain. “We often see people with high stress and/or emotional trauma. The world moves so fast that people have come to see stress as normal. This style of acupuncture is helpful because the practitioner gets to tap into pain that’s related to emotional disturbances. Using practices unique to Five Element Acupuncture, the pain is relieved—but the person can also see an emotional improvement.” He feels rewarded when his clients notice a difference in how they feel. “It’s always interesting to see the shift in someone when their stress comes down a few notches and they realize, ‘This is what I can feel like on a regular basis.’ ”
The Clinic maintains a large dispensary of raw herbs, used to make herbal tea formulas. Berry remarks, “Anything I can do with needles, I can do with herbs, but together they are fantastic.” He prefers the raw herbs because they are more powerful than the capsules and powders most providers use. However, for acute cases such as colds and the flu, he may choose the powdered form because of the simplified delivery method. He emphasizes that it is important for an herbalist to be trained in the interactions of herbs—both with other herbs, a patient’s medications and each person’s unique constitution. For instance, he explains, turmeric can be great for treating pain or inflammation in the body but is not appropriate for treating someone with a hot constitution.
After the initial free consultation, a two-hour visit is scheduled, and most of it is spent getting to know the patient, determining symptoms and assessing constitution. Either approach, acupuncture or herbs, requires office visits and a full intake in order to obtain a proper diagnosis. “There are several things we do to keep costs down. We try to be budget-mindful with both the acupuncture and herbs because it is important to us that we reach as many people as we can.” Occasionally herbal follow-ups can be done via phone or email, in order to check progress. Formulas can be fine-tuned to find just the right customization at which point refills are available without frequent office visits.
Five Shen is not a retail herb store where someone can walk in and purchase bulk quantities. Licensing requirements dictate that the clinic only dispense to patients that have been seen by a licensed Chinese Medicine practitioner.
As part of its mission to give back, Five Shen is expanding its ‘Nourishing Kindness’ program. These special monthly clinics have been available to help veterans with PTSD by offering varying treatment options in a pay-as-you-can format. The program will soon expand to the public. Berry notes that all visits require an appointment. “We are trying to pay it forward,” he concludes.
Five Shen Wellness & Acupuncture Clinic is located at 1320 Haywood Rd., Greenville. For more information, call 864-619-1398 or go to FiveShen.com. See ad, page xx.
Barbara Bolduc is the Managing Editor and a writer for Upstate Natural Awakenings magazine.