J. Blake Boring found his calling as an acupuncturist and practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine in a roundabout way. Once his passion for natural health and healing were ignited, however, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life.

“It was almost like you’re royalty from another country but you never knew that,” he said in an analogy. “Then one day you realize it and you think, ‘Oh, this fits. This is where I belong.’”

Boring said he didn’t know anything about natural health as a kid growing up in the 1990s in Blount County. That changed in his early teens.

“Through an odd chain of events, I started to hear about natural health and healthy living,” he recalled.

First were enrichment activities he attended as a home-schooled student, such as learning how to grow and grind your own wheat. Then the true turning point came when his grandmother, a secretary at Pellissippi State Community College, encouraged Boring and his mother to sign up for a continuing education class on herbal medicine led by Blount County herbalist Susan Fidler.

“That’s where my natural health journey started,” Boring said. “The second I found out this whole new world exists, it was like, ‘This is me. This is where I’m supposed to be, where I belong.’ I was always meant to be here, I just didn’t know it was here to have.”

Asian medicine

Boring is now the owner of Smoky Mountain Natural Wellness, which opened in Septmeber at 2211 E. Broadway Ave., Maryville. He is a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in the states of Tennessee and Florida. He graduated from the Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine (ATOM) in 2018 with a master’s degree in TCM and a bachelor’s degree in natural health sciences.

He currently is working on a doctoral degree for TCM at ATOM. As a Diplomate of Oriental Medicine, Boring is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and has met the certification requirements for both acupuncture and Chinese herbology.

Boring primarily focuses on acupuncture — “the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into specific acupoints on the body,” he said. “It is one of the oldest, most commonly used forms of medicine in the world. Acupuncture is currently one of the most thoroughly researched, practiced and respected forms of complementary medicine available anywhere.”

TCM advocates that overall health is determined by the quality of the Qi, or energy, flow through the natural pathways of the body, called meridians, in order to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities, create balance and restore homeostasis.

Most people seek out an acupuncturist for pain reduction, but Boring said it is also useful for stress and tension relief, increased energy levels, stronger digestion, relief from bad habits and addictions, and a greater sense of overall health and well-being. Boring added that the World Health Organization has found acupuncture to be an effective treatment for 31 symptoms.

What to expect

The first visit includes a consultation in which Boring asks a series of questions to discern the client’s current state of health. This intake process usually takes about 30 minutes. Once he has this information, he looks at the tongue and feels the pulse of both wrists, gaining a greater understanding of the body and its state of health. When this intake process is completed, treatment begins.

This involves lying either face up or face down on the table, and Boring inserts needles into points that suit each individual’s particular case. The needles are usually left in for a period of 20-25 minutes.

The needles used in acupuncture are as thin as a strand of hair and are sterilized, single-use filiform needles. Used needles are disposed of in a sharps container and never reused.

Boring said one of the first questions people ask is, “Does it hurt?”

“During the needle insertion you may feel a slight sensation of discomfort, but this is very brief and subsides quickly,” he said. “Many patients don’t even feel the needles being inserted and actually fall asleep during treatments.”

More information

Based on what the client needs, services offered also include herbal therapies, electrical stimulation and cupping — a modality that uses cups on the body to create suction. Boring said this practice relieves aches and pains, improves circulation, and also helps with respiratory and digestive issues.

“I simply place a specialized ‘cup’ onto specific points on your body, and then use suction to draw your skin up into the cups,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt — it simply draws fresh blood to that area of your body, which facilitates the cleansing and strengthening of your Qi, or energy. The end result is a greater overall sense of health and well-being.”

Boring currently does not accept insurance, but he is in the process of getting that set up.

“Our job is not to fix you but to come alongside and help your body heal itself —physically, spiritually and emotionally,” Boring said.

For more information, visit https://smokymountainnaturalwellness.com. Services are available by appointment only.

Contact Linda Braden Albert with story ideas at LindasInkyfingers@comcast.net.

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