The first time we were treated by Dr. Ginger, we had to resign ourselves to the ambiance, or lack of one. In the back rooms of Oriental Ginseng and Gifts, we sat on a folding chair amid cardboard boxes bursting with herbs wrapped in plastic bags. We listened to other patients report their symptoms, their bowel movements, their menses and knew they were listening to us as we were reporting our own. Although acupuncture, especially in the conservative Midwest, still is considered to be on a par with crystals and guardian angels, there was nothing New Agey about Dr. Ginger's. We figured this was the way people got treated in Beijing, and after some lousy experiences with acupuncturist/chiropractors (i.e., Logan College grads) in the region, we gave it a chance. Dr. Ginger learned the ancient-healing art in her homeland, the People's Republic of China. She has a deep respect for the practice, and her treatments border on the miraculous. We've seen people with chronic back pain emerge, after a number of treatments and a prescription of herbs, pain-free. Allergy sufferers go without itchy eyes and rivers of mucus, even in the worst of seasons. Cigarette smokers lose their addictions. Dr. Ginger moved into more patient-friendly digs a couple of years ago. There's more privacy and body-length tables to relax on (many people fall asleep with the needles in), and Dr. Ginger, when she remembers, plays some Chinese healing music over a battered boom box. Of course, when something is gained, something is lost, too. There was the time the man with the beautiful broad back sat directly in front of us, his shoulder a porcupine of needles. The treatment over, he rose, and seemed to keep on rising from his chair, to put on a tailored long-sleeved white shirt. It was none other than Blues star Geoff Courtnall, who, in his next game against San Jose, scored a hat trick. Hey, McGwire, there are other ways to deal with that tendinitis.