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EVERYDAY PEOPLE: From martial arts to acupuncture

Licensed acupuncturist Everett Churchill prepared to work on a patient at his cl

Everett Churchill has a hard time talking about his job. 

He’s admittedly not a big marketing guy and definitely not a salesman, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in what he does. Among other things, Churchill is a licensed acupuncturist. And for those who brave a visit to his Baxter office, belief is often the beginning of relief.

Churchill, a 1984 graduate of Pine River High School who has worked as an acupuncturist for 10 years said his career choice follows his interest in other aspects of Asian culture.

“Originally it was because of my involvement in martial arts,” he said. “In a short amount of time everything just kind of funneled in one direction.”

Churchill got his start in martial arts at the age of 13, when he took his first karate class. “I got really into it when I was 17 or 18,” he said. “I guess it’s just the movement and plus I was skinny and picked on as a kid.

“Who doesn’t want to have kung fu power?”

Churchill said by the time he was good enough to use his martial arts skill for protection, that part of his motivation was no longer an issue. 

Churchill attended college at Bemidji State University and later decided to pursue a path in alternative medicine.

Prior to completing his acupuncturist licensing, Churchill worked in therapeutic 

massage and continues to practice Bodywork, a type of massage, at his clinic in Baxter. 

Remembering back to his early days of studying acupuncture, Churchill said he can recall the first time he treated a patient. Churchill was still a student and the patient was suffering from sciatica. “I looked at this two-and-a-half or three-inch needle in my hand and at the guy,” he said. “There was a moment’s pause. Then I went right into it.” 

Churchill is aware of the apprehension many people feel about alternative medicine, particularly acupuncture. After all, the thought of being stuck with dozens of needles is hard to grasp as a healing concept for most. 

“When you’re out of the conventional mode it’s hard for people to A: know about you and B: know if you’re credible,” he said. “It takes time.”

Churchill said the acupuncture benefits patients because it is far less invasive than traditional medical treatments and far less toxic than pharmaceuticals. 

“You can avert surgery,” he said. 

The majority of Churchill’s patients come to him with chronic headaches or migraines, joint pain and gynecological issues. “I see a few other things that pop-up here and there,” Churchill said. “But those are the main things.”

As far as building a base of patients, Churchill said acupuncture is not something he often brings up in casual conversation. “I usually don’t go out of my way to suggest it to people,” Churchill said. “People are coming to me these days.”

In comparing Chinese medicine to the traditional method, Churchill said it’s not necessarily a matter of one being better; they’re just different. 

“They’re different paradigms — they have a different way of looking at the body,” he said. “They’re both still evolving.”

In addition to practicing alternative medicine, Churchill still maintains a passion for the martial arts. He practices Qigong, a type a moving meditation similar to tai chi, and he also teaches karate two nights a week. “It’s not a money maker,” he said. “It’s just because I’ve been doing it for 30 years.

“It keeps me in shape.”

Churchill teaches adult classes and said his students teach beginners and classes for children. “I tried teaching kids over the years,” Churchill said, with a laugh. “I’m just not that guy.”

SARAH NELSON may be reached at or 855-5879.