Business profile

Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2000

Valerie DeLaune

Title and firm: Owner, Alaskan Acupuncture & Massage.

Evolution of the business: When Valerie DeLaune was offering just massage and neuromuscular therapy, she called the business Awakenings. She opened it in December 1989. Acupuncture was added as a service six months ago. DeLaune attended three years of graduate school classes at the Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in Seattle, flying back to Juneau for long weekends and summers to maintain the existing business.

Services: DeLaune generally works with patients who have specific ailments, but she provides Swedish massage for stress reduction, as well. With acupuncture, her specialty is treating pain, although she also treats depression, asthma and menopausal ailments, among others. Acupuncture patients typically ``have been through the Western route'' before turning to her, she said.

Acupuncture theory: An increasingly accepted form of alternative medicine, acupuncture, developed by the Chinese, is based on the idea that disease results from energy blockages in the body, which can be removed through the insertion of hair-breadth needles.

Biographical information: DeLaune, a native of Washington state who is now 40, was a naturalist on a West Tours cruise ship when it visited Juneau in 1982. She fell in love with the area, and soon returned to work for the U.S. Forest Service at the Centennial Hall information center and later the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. She managed a Baskin-Robbins store, worked for the ferry system, worked for the state museum and held other short-term jobs before launching her massage business.

Latest project: DeLaune was just elected legislative liaison for the newly formed Alaska Acupuncture Association, which is seeking a state law compelling insurance plans to recognize acupuncture as a covered procedure.

Quotable: ``I never promise no pain. But usually you either won't feel the needle go in or you'll have a sensation that isn't painful.''

Contact information: 211 Front Street, upstairs; 463-3026.

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