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ORLANDO -- While attending massage therapy school, 25-year-old Cara Lister got to listen to a Chinese herbalist in class one day.
Because Lister had severe asthma and had been in and out of the hospital several times while in school, her classmates urged her to try Chinese herbs herself.
"They wanted me to be the guinea pig," she says. "He made me a bitter-tasting tea out of Chinese herbs, and I got amazing results."
She's one of an increasing number of people in Florida, as well as nationwide, turning to ancient forms of alternative medicine for a more natural form of healing and pain relief.
In fact, after her near-miraculous health improvement thanks to Chinese herbal medicine, Lister decided to study ancient Eastern medicine herself.
She now attends the National College of Oriental Medicine in southwest Orlando -- a place that appears to be ground zero in Florida's burgeoning interest in alternative therapies.
Despite the fact that such foreign and hard-to-understand treatments are regarded by many …