Sarah Roell's journey to Eastern medicine started with a pain in her wrist.
At the time, her physician recommended a brace for her agonizing repetitive stress syndrome.
She sought an alternative route: acupuncture. It produced impressive results and even cleared up her headaches.
That's when she decided to go from patient to practitioner. Roell recently opened Acupuncture & Wellness at 1269 S. High St. in Merion Village. She rents space inside Central City Chiropractic.
She studied at the American Institute of Alternative Medicine in the Northland area, and later completed some advanced training in China, and is both nationally certified and licensed in the state of Ohio.
Roell said she understands people's apprehension to acupuncture, but steadfastly defends the method.
"It's been around for 5,000 years so there's got to be something to it," she said. "Some people don't realize it's an option."
Those who practice traditional Chinese medicine believe in a life force called qi (pronounced chee), which flows through the body in pathways called meridians. When there is blockage, it creates an imbalance and therefore pain or illness.
To unblock it, flexible needles are inserted in the skin, stimulating specific points in the body and re-establishing flow through the meridians.
Acupuncturists maintain that the treatments helps with chronic pain, sleep disorders, stress, depression, anxiety and a number of other issues, Roell said. She also performs other traditional Chinese medicine, such as tui na, sometimes referred to as Chinese massage, and gua sha, a gentle scraping of the skin.
Roell, 29, received her undergraduate degree from Northern Kentucky University in mathematics and planned to become a high school teacher.
After deciding teaching wasn't for her, she went on to work as an administrator and accountant for a local planning firm.
Roell, who's married to Tony Roell, a member of the Merion Village Association, said her new career is rewarding.
"Helping people with problems that they have all but accepted makes me realize that I have found my place in the world," she said. "I'm excited to be part of the Merion Village community and to be able to bring acupuncture to the South Side of Columbus."