GREEN BAY – A Green Bay native treats ailments with a combination of needles and ancient Eastern medicine at her new acupuncture clinic.
Eric Vandenhouten moved to China in 2002 and spent the next 20 years studying acupuncture before returning home. This Friday, he opens his own clinic, WaoMirc, at 521 S. Military Ave.
Acupuncturists focus not on making money but on helping others. After all, he said, he hadn’t spent 20 years learning to throw it away.
“For me, it’s more about making it comfortable for my patients,” he said.
The clinic has three assessment rooms and a large treatment area. An assessment should be done first and the treatment takes between 30 and 45 minutes. A follow-up assessment will be required after several sessions to assess changes and renew treatment if necessary.
Vandenhouten said costs vary depending on the severity of the disease, whether the person has insurance and whether it covers acupuncture treatment. Those who do not have insurance and prefer to pay in cash will receive a 20% discount on all services
“More complex treatments require more medical decision-making,” he said.
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Vandenhouten became interested in acupuncture after reading a book on the subject from the Brown County Library. He was so fascinated that, at the age of 20, he moved to China to study it.
“I was a carpenter for my father,” he said. “But I could see the end of my life – lonely in the making – and decided to change my future.”
Vandenhouten said he decided to go to China after his taekwondo teacher suggested he study acupuncture in Asia. He did some research, and decided to travel there in 2002, where he stayed until returning to Green Bay this year.
After a year of learning the language, he said he spent another 12 studying acupuncture. During that time, he graduated and completed two masters in massage such as acupuncture and twina, shiatsu at Zhejiang Chinese Medicine University. He spent the rest of his time working on acupuncture and earning a doctorate while earning certification to practice in the United States and the United Kingdom.
“It’s a very useful therapy for many different categories of disease,” he said. But, he added, not viruses, bacteria or permanently damaged muscle structure.
But that’s not all he did there. Vandenhouten also saw a business opportunity to export ginseng, a plant commonly used in Asian cuisine and medicine.
Vandenhouten said that after he graduated in 2008, he started a company in the United States called Global Wisconsin Ginseng Trading Ltd. to export ginseng from Wisconsin to China, which produces 98% of ginseng in the United States, according to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.
“I started small, but now I’m a lot bigger,” he said. “That’s what paid for all these (clinics).”
The export business, which he still does, gave him the financial freedom to focus more on the needs of his patients.
For now, Vandenhouten said he will work alone but plans to hire more staff in the future.
WaoMirc is open on weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, visit drericvandenhouten.nccaomdiplomates.com/clinical-practice or call 920-785-0398.