Acupuncture Blog

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For those of us who aren't able to come to clinic, we are also invested in creating ways to facilitate acupuncture being made available to you. This is why we offer expanded services at MAS to include housecalls.

The general parameters are as such:
 - Participating MAS licensed acupuncturists are available on a per-request basis.
 - In order to facilitate group savings, as is our calling card, home visits are set on the following fee schedule:

A flat rate of $75 for the first person, $100 for 2-5 people

 - Treatments are capped at one hour

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information, to ask questions or to request a treatment at home.


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conceived and written by MAS acu-punk Elizabeth Ropp, LAc

First I want to say that it’s good to be back to work at MAS. I hope everyone can tell that we are smiling at you under our masks. We appreciate how understanding everyone has been with our new social distancing systems.

Since we are living in the world of physical distancing, I am sharing a movie recommendation. Jewel’s Catch One is a biographical documentary about a legendary nightclub owner. Why am I telling you about this on the MAS blog? It’s l because later in life, she becomes an acupuncturist and founder of a non-profit clinic. What!?!?! Yes. My mind was blown. I didn’t see that coming.

I enjoy movies about nightclubs. Which is odd because I am a morning person. My husband can tell you that I easily nod off before ten o’clock at night. And yes, I like to my kitchen. Since MAS reopened this month, you can find me dancing at the clinic after hours when I give the clinic a thorough cleaning and disinfecting after my shift. I also like a good story about someone with sheer determination and perseverance. I found that in Jewel’s Catch One.

Jewel Thais-Williams opened the Los Angeles nightclub and kept it going for four decades, The Catch One. Identifying a need for an inclusive safe space, especially for the Black LQBTQ community. She bought a bar in 1973 for $1000. In 1975, when she purchased the old ballroom connected to her bar for $17,000. The Catch One was open to everyone, especially marginalized people who were often unwelcomed in other clubs and bars. Eventually, everyone partied at The Catch One, including celebrities like Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross, Madonna, and Sharon Stone.

In the 1970’s, Jewel’s inclusive dance club was targeted by the police. She faced discrimination on many levels as a Black Gay Woman. In 1985, an intentional arson destroyed The Catch. It took Jewel two years to re-open, facing pressure from local government agencies to sell the property.

The AIDS epidemic was particularly devastating. Jewel lost many club patrons to AIDS, many of whom were like family. She did everything she could to take care of her community. Jewel cited the need for services for the Black community in Los Angeles, affected by HIV and AIDS. She stepped up to fill the void in many ways including founding the Minority AIDS project (We have a chapter in Manchester that serves the Merrimack Valley). Jewel’s partner, Rue, founded Rue’s House to provide housing for Black women and Children with HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1990’s, Jewel found herself feeling complacent and needed a new project. Her therapist, Dr. Donald Kilhefner, suggested that she go to acupuncture school.

Due to COVID, all of my travel plans are indefinitely on hold. But, I am making my list of places I want to go and people that I want to meet in a post-pandemic world. I added LA to my list, just so I can make an appointment at The Village Health Foundation, like the club goers from around the world who planned their LA vacations just so they could dance at Catch One. Apparently, tourists even showed up at Jewel’s club straight from the airport with their suitcases in tow.

I watched Jewel’s Catch One twice this weekend and I listened to Jewel tell her story on a new podcast. I wish I could sit down with Jewel, Tariqa, Chung Hee, and Sun from The Village Health Foundation and ask questions. I want to know more about Jewel’s life as an acupuncturist at a non-profit clinic.

Below are the questions that I would ask in my fantasy interview:

Hi, Jewel, it’s such an honor to meet you and to be here in LA, at The Village Health Foundation. Where should I put my suitcase?

First of all, how are you and how is your community holding up during the pandemic?

When you first opened the Catch in the early 1970’s, there were laws that prohibited same sex dancing to make it harder for gay communities to create safe spaces to feel free. Do you think that there are acupuncture laws or regulations that make it harder for marginalized people to get acupuncture treatment or enter the profession?

3) What was your first experience with getting acupuncture?

4) How did you like acupuncture school? If you could add or change anything about your acupuncture program, what would it be?

6) Rep. Maxine Waters praised you for starting a clinic that makes healthcare affordable. She even mentions that it has been said you could be in Beverly Hills charging a lot of money for acupuncture. Why do you think it’s rare for acupuncturists to make treatments affordable and what do you think needs to change in order for affordable acupuncture to become more common?

8) The Village Health Foundation makes a point of practicing cultural competency. What advice can you give to white acupuncturists to become more culturally competent and able to connect with and serve patients with all different backgrounds.

9) How often do you get acupuncture? What else do you do to stay healthy? Basically, how can I be as energetic as you?

10) How often do you go out dancing?

11) What are some of your favorite songs that you think would be good for me to listen to while I am cleaning the clinic at the end of a shift?

Thank you so much for your time. It’s truly been an honor to speak with you. This clinic is beautiful and my acupuncture treatment was wonderful. I even brought you some maple candy, all the way from New Hampshire.

If I manage to connect with the Jewell and the staff of The Village Health Foundation, I will write more here at the MAS blog.

In the meantime, please check out Jewel’s Catch One on Netflix and listen to her interview on The QueerCore podcast.

See you at the clinic. I am smiling under my mask.

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 A quick post here directing you, dear readers, to a couple of videos that walk us through what the shops in Manchester & Nashua feature, and are looking like as we prepare to open again tomorrow.

close up TW5

A quick post here directing you, dear readers, to a couple of videos that walk us through what the shops in Manchester & Nashua feature, and are looking like as we prepare to open again tomorrow.

If any questions come up for you after either viewing the videos - or after an in-person visit to a clinic - we always welcome you to pose them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

On that note, the Manchester walk-through and Nashua walk-through await you.


Ahead of a visit to MAS clinics in person, please do give this web page a read, as it will prepare you with up-to-date how-tos and whys. Thank you.

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Like many of you, this pandemic has given me plenty of time at home to try new recipes.  And since I limit how often I go grocery shopping to once a week or less, I’ve been stocking up on squash and sweet potatoes.  They don’t need to take up space in the fridge, and they can sit around for awhile if I don’t use them right away.  A sweet potato can sit on a shelf for 3-5 weeks, and a butternut squash is good for a month or more, as long as they are stored in a cool dry place. 

Last week, I stumbled across this recipe for Sweet Potato Tahini soup.  I made it over the weekend, and let’s just say, it’s a keeper. 

Cooking soup is like practicing acupuncture or playing jazz.  There is plenty of room for improvisation.  I had almost all of the ingredients listed in the recipe, but I had to make some substitutions.  I replaced the onion with a few scallions, a small carrot, a celery stick, and turnip.  I still ended up with a really good batch of soup.  I served it up with some steamed greens and flat bread on the side and a glass of white wine.  As Andy would say, DAH-licious.  

I plan to make this soup again later this week. This time, I will replace the sweet potatoes with a butternut squash.  

This is Lukas Volger’s Recipe from The Splendid Table:


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds or half-rounds (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Frizzled Shallots 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds or half-rounds (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Frizzled Shallots (recipe follows; optional)


Warm the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven, then add the onion, garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the onion is soft and beginning to caramelize, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, raise the heat slightly, and stir until they’re glistening all over, another 3 to 4 minutes. Cover with 5 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the soup to a blender with the tahini, in batches if necessary, and puree. (You can also use an immersion blender, but be thorough to achieve a properly smooth consistency.) Return to the pot to rewarm, add lemon juice and additional salt to taste, and serve hot, with frizzled shallots, if you like.  

As a food therapy nerd, I want to dive into some of the benefits of this recipe:

Sweet potatoes (and squash) are high in vitamin A, they are food that benefit the spleen/pancrease and stomach which, like acupuncture, helps to move blood and body fluids.  

The onions, garlic, coriander, cumin, and ginger, are all pungent spices that enhance digestion and resolve phlegm or mucus in the lungs.

Tahini contains healthy fats and other trace minerals.  

Lemons are cleansing. They help to digest fat and proteins.  That is why lemon and tahini go so well together. 

Try this soup.  Let us know how you like it and what adaptation you made to make this recipe your own.

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Here's the story and how you can lend a hand.

As many of you may have heard, last week the Governor gave the okay for acupuncture clinics to resume business in the Granite State starting on June 1st. On its face this is great news. However a significant, bewildering detail lay in the State re-opening guidelines.

It seems a last minute provision was included - essentially a restriction -  that limits acupuncture practitioners to treating no more than one patient at a time. As you may imagine, this is problematic for MAS on a number of levels.

Most notably this restriction would not allow MAS to meet its expenses. Nor would we be able to accommodate all of the folks who we know are looking forward to coming back for regular treatments. It also introduces the absurd scenario where only two people would be allowed inside of facilities that are 2000-3000 square feet in size!

MAS is built to provide lots of acupuncture for not a lot of money charged for each treatment. In fact, it's part of this organization's by-laws. So the notion of increasing fees to meet financial needs for a 1:1 practitioner/patient ratio is out of the question. So we remain closed until this provision is either changed or removed. And we're working really hard to make this happen sooner than later.

Incidentally, we know of no other state in the US who has included a similar provision in re-opening guidelines for acupuncture practices, nor are we aware of any other heath professionals in NH who have been restricted in this way.

Let it be known that we are immensely grateful for the time and effort that Governor Sununu, the Re-opening Task Force and the Health and Human Services Commissioner are putting in under extraordinary circumstances. Based on our years of experience, we feel that the decision to limit acupuncture practitioners to treating one patient at a time is based on a lack of information as to how greater-access, affordable acupuncture clinics and practices have (and can continue to) safely functioned for over a decade in New Hampshire and beyond. Perhaps if so, that restriction would not have been added.

At this point, are you wondering how you may be able to help?

That's great - thank you! Here are two ways:

1) If any of you dear readers happen to have a contact at NH Dept. of Health & Human Services or within the Governor's office, please consider putting me in touch. We'd love an opportunity to teach how the 1:1 provision has the unintended consequence of keeping thousands of people from relief of chronic pain, stress, anxiety, insomnia, etc. in acupuncture clinics across the state.

2) Have your say by signing this petition that we will make certain to send along to NH Heath & Human Services, the Re-Opening Task Force and the Governor's Office by June 5th .

Thanks for sticking with us and we look forward to an update on the re-opening of MAS clinics soon.

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Via Andy at the MAS YouTube Channel.

Hello, folks. We hope this message finds you doing well and are safe. It has been an interesting couple of months since we closed our doors to help slow the spread of Covid-19. Over the past couple of weeks, we have received more than a few inquiries as to when and if MAS clinics will reopen.

The short answer is, yes, MAS will absolutely re-open.

What follows is the longer answer.

As a healthcare facility, MAS is subject to state and national guidelines in our profession that have instructed both our initial closure, as well as when we are allowed to re-open and what standards and practices need to be in place in order for that to happen. These guidelines are in accordance with the best practices set forth by local, state and national governing bodies.

There are many aspects of operations related to facilities in Manchester & Nashua that need to be updated in order for MAS to abide by the guidelines set by these oversight and regulatory agencies for the foreseeable future. They include: a reworking of the physical setup in our entire facility in order to maintain social/physical distancing guidelines; the use of personal protective equipment for both staff and patients; hygiene protocols for both staff and patients; implementation of illness screening for both staff and patients; implementing and maintaining infection controls, reworking the way we schedule appointments and establishing how many people we can have in the clinic at any given time and maintain appropriate standards.  

While all of this is a lot to manage, we aim to do so while maintaining the simple soulfulness we all have come to expect. 

We have always been a small operation, working within a modest budget, and are now charged with putting into place multiple new systems in order to best protect the health of our clinic community as well as our staff members and their families. We are eager to resume operations and reconnect with you all. It is just going to take us a bit more time to get there.

We are aiming - roughly speaking - for mid-late June for re-opening.  As we get closer, we will let you know when scheduling will resume. 

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you and getting back to acupuncture. 

The Staff @ MAS

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**Elizabeth's Video Tutorial is Here**

Over the years, many patients ask us how we got into practicing acupuncture. Here's my story. I studied massage in my early 20’s when my puppetry career was bust (that’s a story for another day). I was introduced to acupressure in massage school and I practiced massage at an acupuncture clinic after I jumped through all of the licensing hoops . Long story short, I was headed to acupuncture school a year later.

During my last year of acupuncture school, I was experimenting with ways to combine acupressure into massage. This came in handy for a particular client who lived in a nursing home. We had a regular standing monthly appointment. One particular day, when I showed up to her room, she was surrounded by nurses aids who were getting her cleaned up. She told me how bad she felt that she didn’t cancel her appointment sooner. She had a bad reaction to a new medication that caused an upset stomach and vomiting.

Instead of leaving, I offered to give her an hour long acupressure treatment to help calm her stomach. I am glad she took me up on the offer. I will always remember how well this treatment worked and how much better she felt as a result. I am going to teach you the two major points that I used during that treatment.

The two points are Pericardium 6 (PC6) and Spleen 4 (SP4). These two points are often used together as a point combination specifically for an upset stomach. You can use this for mild digestive discomfort like feeling bloated or nauseous, or hiccups. You can also press and massage these points for vomiting, diarrhea, and any pain located in the abdomen below the rib cage.

Yes, you can also use these points for morning sickness.

Pericardium 6 is located on the inside of the wrist, two finger widths up from wrist crease, in the center, between the two tendons. Many people might be familiar with this point if they have taken a cruise and worn sea-bands to prevent sea sickness.

P6 is also a common point for anxiety and insomnia, palpitations and chest pains. (If you are experiencing chest pains you should head over to the ER.)

Spleen 4 is located on the inside of the foot above the instep. The easiest way to find it is to locate Spleen 3, on the inside of your foot above the knuckle of the big toe. Follow the bone (metatarsal) until you reach the other head of the same bone, then you are on Spleen 4.

Both of these points are good to press when you are feeling worried, anxious, or restless; emotions which can go straight to our stomachs.

If you like video that I posted above and find it helpful, you can combine it with the points demonstrated in two more videos:

Naomi Frank at Toronto Community Acupuncture shows us more points on the Spleen and Stomach channels.


And Justine Meyers of Acupuncture Together’s video on Anxiety, Stress, and Insomnia is making another appearance here.

I hope this is helpful. Please send us requests for topics that we haven’t covered yet at, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We miss all of you and we hope to see you again soon and in good health.


If you are able, we welcome donations of any amount to help us cover the rents for Manchester & Nashua facilities while we are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic via a current GoFundMe campaign. You may also This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as another way to support the clinics, and/or simply share this blog post with friends and family. 

Thank you very much for your support and solidarity.

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**Video tutorial with Elizabeth is here.

Here I am following up on a patient request for points that can ease constipation. This is a great request and we are happy to oblige.

We are going to start with the most commonly used acupuncture points for constipation. Then we are going to focus on two groups of points located near and just below the elbow and points just below the knee. These areas are almost mirror images of each other. Both clusters of points are good for regulating the activity of the intestines.

The first point we are going to use is Sanjaio 6. To find this point, look at the back of your wrist and measure three fingers widths up on your forearm. Sanjiao 6 is located in between the two bones on your forearm.

The area around and including Sanjiao 6 is the most important for constipation. You can also massage the point next to Sanjaio 6, which is Sanjiao 5, located 2 finger widths from the back of the wrist. Both of them are good for treating stagnation in the large intestine which keeps things from moving.

Next, find your elbow and place your thumb in the fleshy area just above the crease when you bend your arm. This is Large Intestine 11. Continue to massage your forearm along the bone covering an area measuring about the width of your four fingers put together. Here you are covering Large Intestine points 11, 10, 9, and 8. All of these points are good for treating fullness in the stomach and abdominal pain.

And finally, you are going to massage points on the Stomach Channel on the lower leg, Stomach 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40. To find these points, first located the bottom of your kneecap and measure and hand-width down on your lower leg between the two bones. This is Stomach 36. Press and massage Stomach 36 and and continue to press and massage the space in between the two lower leg bones until you reach the center of the front of your lower leg. Now that you have covered 4 major points on the Stomach channel for regulating the intestines, you can drag your thumb outward over the fibula bone on the outside of your lower leg. This point is Stomach 40. It’s one of the most crucial points for transforming phlegm and mucus in the body. Acupuncture students usually refer to it as “Phlegm 40.”

Spend some time on all of these points while you are taking a break to listen to music or watch a movie. Give each area a good thorough massage before moving on to the next. You can even go back over the points several times. You can even spend some time gently rubbing your belly in a clockwise direction (clockwise when looking looking down at your belly from above) to encourage more movement.

In addition to regulating the intestines, the Large Intestine points near the elbow and the Stomach points on the lower leg are good for calming the mind. In these uncertain times where we are forced to stay isolated and are under a lot of pressure, it’s easy to get agitated. Try using these points to keep yourself relaxed and in the present moment.

Thank you for the request. Please keep them coming. We miss all of you and we hope to see you again, in person.


If you are able, we welcome donations of any amount to help us cover the rents for Manchester & Nashua facilities while we are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic via a current GoFundMe campaign. You may also This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as another way to support the clinics, and/or simply share this blog post with friends and family. 

Thank you very much for your support and solidarity.

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Umeboshi plum vinegar is a staple in my kitchen. I usually buy two bottles at a time, and I get a little nervous when my supply starts to run low. I have turned many of my friends onto umeboshi vinegar whenever I serve up a salad at a potluck or a dinner party.

What is umeboshi vinegar? I am glad you asked. Umeboshi, ume, is a Japanese fruit that is kind of like a cross between a plum and an apricot. They are pickled and then dried in the sun. The dried plums can be eaten whole or turned into paste to be used as a condiment. Umeboshi vinegar is the brine left over from the pickling process.

I got hooked on the salty and sour taste of ume plums during a dietary therapy class in acupuncture school. My teacher explained that they are referred to as the “Japanese alka seltzer.” Besides being served up on a plate of white rice or other dishes in Japan, ume plums are a good remedy for an upset stomach, sluggish digestion, and acid reflux. (stay tuned for the next blog post here for more help with an upset stomach)

You can find packages of whole ume plums, ume plum paste, or umeboshi vinegar at A-Market, on South Willow in Manchester, or any natural food store. 
I’ve been buying the vinegar since I was an acupuncture student because it’s the most economical way of enjoying the taste and health benefits of the ume plums.

Ume plums are high in salt and should be consumed sparingly, 1-2 plums per day. I use the vinegar mixed with olive oil as a dressing for salad or cooked vegetables. In my dietary therapy class, I was introduced to cooked millet topped with some soy sauce and umeboshi vinegar as a nutritious breakfast porridge.

For more information on umeboshi plum vinegar, I recommend Paul Pitchford’s book “Healing with Whole Foods.”

 - MAS acupuncturist Elizabeth Ropp

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Last week, a fellow Community Acupuncturist in Leominster, MA, reminded her friends not to mow our laws for a few more weeks because the bees need the dandelions. I happily obliged and took my bike out of the garage for a spin instead of the lawn mower.

It turns out that it’s not just bees that need the dandelions. Other pollinators like butterflies, beetles, and different birds are in need of dandelions right now, while we wait for other flowers to bloom later in the season. You can read more about that in this article from the Guardian.

Everything from the root to the flower of a dandelion can be used as medicine. They are a vitamin-packed food source, or helpful remedies when applied topically for skin conditions, such abscesses or nodules. Dandelions are a part of the Chinese Materia Medica, in the category of herbs that 'clear heat' and 'relieve toxicity'. Basically what that means is that they are good for treating inflammation, especially when red, swollen or painful. Dandelion tea can also be a good remedy for red, swollen, painful joints. According to Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing with Whole Foods, dandelions are a mild diuretic and a mild laxative that will not deplete your body of potassium.

Earlier this morning, I discovered patches of dandelions growing in a wooded area in my neighborhood. I am not picking dandelions in public parks, which are more likely to be sprayed with weed killer or fertilizer. But I did forage a bundle of greens, leaving plenty behind to share with our pollinator friends. After I rinsed the greens, I put them in a pot and poured a tea kettle’s worth of hot water over them to make tea. They are steeping as I write this.

You can also dry dandelions in bundles or put them in a food dehydrator. If you are feeling really ambitious you can make a blooming dandelion tea ball, like in this video.

For more information about the benefits of dandelions, you can read more here. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to enjoy a cup of dandelion tea.

 - MAS acupuncturist Elizabeth Ropp

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