EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – One veteran’s chronic pain and one woman’s endometriosis led both to the practice of acupuncture, eventually starting their own practice, Laughing Tao. 

Glenn Werry loved martial arts growing up. He had been in it since he was 10 years old. 

He said he got involved with “pressure-point fighting.”

“That introduced me to the idea that there were pressure points,” he said, “these sensitive areas on the body. As I went through the training, used a lot of the same theories and principles that acupuncture uses.”

According to Werry, acupuncture has been a fascination of his since the late 90s.

Werry spent more than a decade in the army, he said, 

“I had some injuries, not wounds, injuries, in the army,” he said. “They did surgeries on them, but they didn’t help. They’re joints; they’re really hard to fix. Acupuncture is what has kept me out of the wheelchair.”

Werry uses a cane most days, but said acupuncture has been his greatest source of healing from his army injuries and chronic pain. He claimed Veteran’s Affairs (VA) recommended painkillers like Percocet, but said, “you just can’t function if you’re taking that all the time.” 

When Werry got out of the army, he went to school at the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine to pursue a master’s degree. That is where he met his wife, Genevieve Salazar. 

“My specialty in acupuncture is reproductive health and fertility, endometriosis, PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome),” Salazar said. 

In her late teens, Salazar found out she had endometriosis, a reproductive disorder that causes pain and can impact fertility.

“A lot of pain. I was sleeping all day, very fatigued. I was very sick,” she said.

Endocrinologists told her she was perfectly healthy, but she knew that was not the case.

While she always had a fascination with women’s health, her ex-mother-in-law was the woman who introduced her to acupuncture.

“She just brought me back to health,” Salazar said. “She made me alive again.”

Salazar and Werry met each other in an anatomy class while in school.

Their shared interest led the couple to found an acupuncture business out of their home, Laughing Tao, located at 209 Keayes Ave. in East Peoria.

The nonprofit opened two months ago, and so far, Salazar said they have used community fairs and farmer’s markets to get the word out.

Salazar and Werry shared how passionate they are about the practice.

“You really start to see the body begin to heal itself with acupuncture,” Salazar said. “I always say, ‘I just know where to put the needles. I just stick them in the body. The medicine really speaks for itself.’ We’ve seen some really amazing things with acupuncture.”

“It’s a great system of medicine that doesn’t interfere with the functions like a lot of pharmaceuticals do,” Werry said. “The ability of the body to fix itself is pretty amazing, and acupuncture kind of taps into that to help it along.”