Acupuncture Blog

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Lots of folks have been kindly asking how they may help MAS with the upcoming move in Manchester. 

We do appreciate this.

Here are three ways:

1) Continue to get acupuncture treatments in Manchester & Nashua, and to refer your friends, family & co-workers to do the same.

2) Show up out back at 813 Canal Street in Manchester at 9am on Saturday, June 22nd with a pickup truck or car, ready to make a trip or two over to the new space.

3) Offer a tax-deductible donation to MAS to help offset costs of relocation. All amounts are appreciated.

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Our front desk workers and acu-punks in Manchester and Nashua field their share of acupuncture-related questions on any given day, as you might imagine. Many questions about acupuncture school have been posed to us throughout the years. We thought we'd give an attempt at a semi-comprehensive answer in writing for those who are curious. Just like we have attempted to do in the little Q & A book, 'Why Did You Put That Needle There?', we promise to be casual and direct with our answers here.

Let's offer up general information about acupuncture training programs and acupuncture licensing, in order to set the table. Specific questions follow, down below.

Requirements for accredited school of acupuncture training programs are set forth by a regulatory body who oversees secondary education for acupuncture and Chinese medicine in the United States. This body is called ACAOM (Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine)

All acupuncture training programs take place within accredited schools of learning, or schools that are in the process of gaining accreditation.

Programs are 3 to 4 years in length.

Prerequisites for most acupuncture training programs include, anatomy and physiology, general and abnormal psychology and biology, among others.

Most acupuncture training programs require completion of at least two years of baccalaureate level classes. The state of NH, it may be worth mentioning, requires a full bachelor's degree, in addition to the Master's in Acupuncture and passing of the Boards (more on that below).

All acupuncture training programs consist of two main parts: classroom learning and clinical observation/practice.

Upon graduation from an accredited program, students earn a 'Masters' in acupuncture and Oriental medicine.

Like the Bar exam for lawyers or the Boards for doctors, acupuncturists must pass a comprehensive multi-day examination upon graduation. This exam is proctored by the NCCAOM. Once the exam is passed, the graduate is free to apply for licensure in whichever state one hopes to practice within.

Licensing for acupuncture is legislated state to state. Requirements can differ widely between states. The title given to licensed acupuncturists can also differ state to state. For example, those licensed to practice acupuncture in Florida or Rhode Island are given the designation of 'Dr. of Acupuncture'. Most states who licensed acupuncturists offer the designation of 'Licensed acupuncturist' (L.Ac.). This is the case in New Hampshire.

Licenses will normally expire in two years and require multiple hours of continuing education in order to keep up to date. Some states, including New Hampshire, also require continued affiliation with NCCAOM.

Okay, now on to specific questions.

Where are the acupuncture training programs located?

Answer: Schools of acupuncture and Oriental medicine exist around the country. The closest to New Hampshire at this point is the New England School of Acupuncture which is now part of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Studiesprogram located in Worcester, Massachusetts. Others in the Northeast are located in New York State. Many more still operate in various states outside of New England.

How much do the programs cost?

Answer: A whole lot of money at this point. Costs for these programs have risen dramatically over the last 20 years mirroring the increase in cost for higher education in general. One can expect to spend at least $80-$100,000 for a complete 3-4 year program.

Take note, prospects for work after graduation remaining limited for licensed acupuncturists. We will say more on this topic below.

Are there any programs you would recommend?

Answer: MAS has a close affiliation with an accredited school of acupuncture training called POCA Tech, which is located in Portland, Oregon. POCA Tech ( is the training program for POCA, The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture – a cooperate we helped found. A strong piece of the program is dedicated to teaching the socio-economic factors that inform the philosophical bedrock for clinics like MAS. The POCA Tech program also maintains a fundamental promise to its students to provide comprehensive training at a fraction of the cost that other acupuncture training programs do. The cost for the POCA Tech 3-4 year training is currently $25,000.

All in all, we do recommend training at POCATech.

So what happens after graduation and licensing is complete? Where would one find jobs as a licensed acupuncturist?

Answer: This is a great question that has been shrouded in mystery for far too long within the acupuncture profession and world of Chinese medical education. It is a poorly kept secret within the acupuncture profession that many recently-graduated students of acupuncture are completely out of the business within as little as five years of graduation. The reasons for this are multi-faceted, but big pieces involve the following, from our point of view:

1) The majority of available work for acupuncturists involves becoming self-employed and running one's own practice. As you may imagine, managing the birth of a small business while navigating the obligations of considerable student loans can be a difficult road. We can tell you from personal experiences that finding financial stabilization as small business owners is a challenge.

2) Positions that are available to licensed acupuncturists that make us legitimate W-2 employees (vs. independant contractors) are limited in number. Thankfully, a large percentage of these positions are currently being offered through community acupuncture clinics like MAS. Scant others are available in a few, but a slowly growing number of health care institutions around the country. The Veterans Administration and select hospital programs, among them.

The reality of the newly graduated licensed acupuncturist is a field of limited opportunities. One does not simply open the want ads to look for work as a licensed acupuncturist!

Now, having offered this information and our honest opinions on the state of education and potential employment for licensed acupuncturists, we would also like to encourage anyone interested in pursuing education for acupuncture and Chinese medicine to do so. We would only like for you to have your eyes wide open while you do.

The world of work using acupuncture and Chinese medicine is humbling, quite deep and wide, endlessly fascinating and satisfying.

Anyone who has gotten the call to study should seriously consider the vocation. And, three cheers for more people getting access to acupuncture!

Please feel free to speak with any of our acupuncturists as part of your initial investigation, if you are inclined. We'd be happy to continue this honest exchange of information.

 - Andy Wegman and the MAS Staff

For a bit more information on the greater topic of acupuncture education, please consider the following websites:

If you are still interested in practicing acupuncture, but not quite sure you are ready to devote 4 years of your life, there is another option to consider. In the state of New Hampshire qualified individuals including peer counselors, recovery coaches, and other health professionals can be trained as "Acupuncture Detoxification Specialists" under RSA 328 Section G9a.

An Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist is trained in Acupuncture Detox, a standardized 5 point ear acupuncture protocol known as the NADA protocol. NADA is used for the purposes of treating all stages of recovery from substance use disorder, stress, anxiety, trauma, anything related to behavioral health. Training is roughly 70 hours. For more information about training you can contact The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA).

In addition, POCA has initiated a training program for the NADA protocol as well. For more information, please visit this page on the POCA site.

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Coming Soon for blog
MAS - Manchester is relocating in a few weeks.  If you are wondering why, head back a few posts on this very blog to read more.

: MAS - Manchester is moving to a great new home with plenty of free parking.
When:  Last Day of operations on Canal St = Friday, June 21 -  closing at 3pm.
            First Day of operations on Hanover St = Monday, June 24 - opening at 9am for normal clinic hours thereafter.
Where: Our new address will be 895 Hanover St in the East Side Plaza.
Our neighbors to our left (when facing the building) is Aloha restaurant.

3 miles separate the Canal Street location from MAS future-home at East Side Plaza, on Hanover St.
Here are a few driving routes on a map to show ways to travel from Canal Street to Hanover St.

directions MAS to Aloha

The following is offered as if one were at our current location on Canal Street in Manchester...



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Similar to how CBD has very recently captured the collective imagination, Dry Needling (DN) has made a dent in the collective cultural awareness over the past few years, mostly via adoption into physical therapy and chiropractic practices.

Nowadays, the staff at MAS is asked fairly frequently about dry needling, so we've put together a small amount of information about it from our collective perspective. We offer this as experienced licensed acupuncturists, who've both employed and received dry needling, and from our experience from speaking to dozens of people who've also received DN, mainly outside of MAS.

Our definition: Dry needling involves repeated needling directly into knotted muscle fibers, each time causing a twitch in said knot, for the purpose of ultimately coaxing it to become exhausted and release.

A few things we'd like to get out of the way, up front.

First things, first: dry needling is an acupuncture technique, called 'trigger point' needling in different circles. The term 'dry' was apparently attached to the technique when adopted by medical professionals to distinguish it from a prevailing needling technique performed with a hollow hypodermic that would be used to inject various substances into the flesh.

First things, second: At MAS, we want lots of people to get acupuncture. In light of this, we support people getting acupuncture in all forms - including dry needling - as readily and affordably as is possible for them. We understand this is not a popular opinion in our profession, but we stand by it.

...and third: We have not and likely will not offer dry needle/trigger point needling at MAS. There are several reasons for this, one of which is we normally don't find the technique any more effective than the distal-needling we primarily employ. Also, more than any particular technique, receiving treatment as often as is appropriate clinically, is the factor most closely related to feeling better in our experience.

You may have heard Maslow's Law of the Instrument: if the only tool you have is a hammer, you'll see the world like a nail.  DN reminds us of this notion. Repeatedly and directly needling into a muscle knot is one way of approaching helping to resolve the knot via acupuncture needle, but it certainly isn't the only one. 

Alternately, one could choose to stimulate strategically connected acupuncture points further away from the muscle knot. These can be effectively employed like the light switch on the wall controls the lights on the ceiling. In addition, this approach will eliminate the likelihood of the great soreness after a treatment as compared to the DN approach. It's also our preference to do so as a tremendously more gentle means to an end.

Just like the piano is a tool that can played in many ways, the acupuncture needle can be employed in distinctive ways as well. You wouldn't expect all pianists to tickle keys in the style of Fats Domino, right? In the same way, MAS acupuncturists aren't limited to a heavy-handed direct-needling techniques either.  While these can be effective, no doubt, they simply aren't always going to be the best choice across a broad array of clinic situations, from our perspective.

A few other thoughts to share...

Dry needling is normally felt much more intensely than most other acupuncture techniques. So if you've had DN done in past and are thinking, "that's what acupuncture feels like", hold that thought. You may surprised at how softer different approaches can feel, while providing good results.

To the folks who have been left to wonder if they can receive acupuncture at MAS when they've had DN alongside at their PTs office, Yes, please come on in and grab acupuncture treatments. As we normally aren't directly needling locally (ie. where the target pain is located), treatments at MAS will not further test the area needled with DN. Just the opposite, in fact, where a reduction in inflammation via movement of blood and body fluids aims to ease local soreness and pain.

Not all approaches will hit the spot for every person. If distal acupuncture techniques haven't done the trick after a course of treatment, DN may be a good choice. Some folks do well with a more passive approach, others more direct. For our part, we never want to see you stuck on a hamster wheel, just spinning in place. Any referral that we feel would be of benefit for you in your goals, we are most happy to make. This happens regularly at MAS, where we are grateful for many outstanding providers of many stripes, in and around southern NH.


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One of the most satisfying things about Manchester Acupuncture Studio is our connection to a bigger network of affordable acupuncture providers and patients. We want acupuncture to become more affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. That's why we are among the founding members of

The People's Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA).

POCA is a cooperative created to include anyone who has a stake in seeing more affordable acupuncture options; patients, acupuncturists, acupuncture clinics themselves, needle manufacturers, etc. etc.  The point is to join together in order to more effectively move broad affordable acupuncture opportunities forward.

For example, among other initiatives, POCA provides micro-loans to help support new or expanding affordable clinics all over the country. POCA has also helped to create the first affordable acupuncture technical school, POCA Tech.

POCA Tech - a fully accredited school of Acupuncture - affords its students a complete acupuncture-centered education at ~ 25% the cost of a traditional acupuncture program. Upon successful completion, POCA Tech graduates are job-ready to provide their communities with affordable, high-quality acupuncture treatments.

Again, POCA's membership is made up of patients, organizations, clinics, and acupuncturists. Many of us have been members of POCA for many years. 

Benefits for POCA membership are pretty impressive - while the cost is modest. 

For as little $25/year, each member receives:

 - 3 free new patient treatment coupons to give to friends and family, accepted at any POCA member clinic. (These alone are valued at over $75 dollars) 

 - A membership card that gets you a free treatment the week of your birthday at your POCA clinic of choice.

 - A POCA "passport" to take with you when you travel and visit Community Acupuncture clinics around the world.

 - Free e-books available on POCA's website.  This, just in case you want to geek-out on Chinese medical theory.

 - Access for POCA's monthy e-newsletters.

In addition, MAS runs specials for current POCA members throughout the year.

To wit: for the remainder of April, all acupuncture treatments in Manchester & Nashua are $10. Just bring in your POCA membership card.

In addition, treatments will be completely free of charge on May Day - Wednesday, May 1st.  Yay!!

We offer specials like these in order to help bring more members into the POCA fold and say a big Thank You to our fellow members. 

Please join, or renew, your POCA membership today.

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Clinic-goers in Manchester,

Thank you very much for your patience with the extended parking crunch at Dow Street Plaza, our home in Manchester for the past four years.

We know it's been frustrating for you and has even limited your access to acupuncture treatments here at times.

We know you've had to park in places that have required extra effort for you to enter the clinic.

For what it's worth, it's been a taxing eighteen months for all of us in different ways, once the parking lot became available to a large number of off-site vehicles.

Because of this situation, we've made the decision to move MAS Manchester operations in order to ensure plenty of free parking available to you, period.

When we say we will always work to provide you with access to affordable, acupuncture treatments, we aren't kidding.

This will always come first here.

As it turns out, not only will the next MAS Manchester home clinic offer lots of free, convenient parking – it also sits right on a bus route.

Look for announcements for the date of the grand opening at the East Side Plaza on Hanover Street over the next weeks.

Until then, thanks again for sticking with us.

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It's a long-held truism in the realm of Chinese medicine, that Springtime is a favorable time of year to include natural sour-flavored foods to one's plate in small amounts at each meal.

The thinking here is it's an advantage to do so for the parts of our system that are involved in clearing the heavier residues of the winter diet and assisting getting things moving anew upward and outward. 

Read more about recommendations the Chinese medical classics make for us down below.   

Aside from citrus juices like lemons and grapefruit, a number of natural sour-flavored foods can be found among those that are fermented.  Fermented foods are produced or preserved by the action of microorganisms.

Think pickles or sauerkraut or kimchi as common examples. 

Adding to the case for fermented foods in the Springtime, or any time of year for that matter, is information like this that comes out of modern research. This research from the National Institute of Health suggests fermented foods have the measurable effect of aiding the beneficial bacteria in the lower digestive system, but also improves our ability to perform various mental processes such as memory recall, orientation to the outside world, learning and furthering language skills.

spring rag MAS page 001

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The transition from operating as a for-profit for 10 years, to non-profit for the past 2 has been interesting in many ways. In fact, we're planning to write a about this in more length over the next few weeks, here on the blog.
In the meantime, we'll offer up a quick-format review of the year that was 2018 at MAS in the form of an executive summary.
Full-color printed copies are currently available at MAS Manchester & Nashua clinics, in case your heart desires a copy to hold in your hands.

As always, comments, questions and compliments are welcomed via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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At MAS, we know that acupuncture only works when people have access to it. As part of the People's Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) our mission is to make acupuncture affordable and accessible to as many people as possible.

That is why we are happy to know New Hampshire now offers tiered-licensing for providers of acupuncture. Lay practitioners such as recovery coaches, peer counselors, and other health professionals can now be certified as Acupuncture Detoxification Specialists, providing a very helpful and specific ear acupuncture point combination.

Last week, the Governor's Recovery Task Force voted unanimously to support this expansion of access to ear acupuncture. You can read more about it here.

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This fascinating new research courtesy of the journal Nature
It seems to have been determined by gene-engineering zebrafish (naturally), the cellular mechanisms responsible for DNA repair are moving twice as much during sleep as when awake.
Sleep, this suggests, is the time when animals prioritize putting ourselves back together.

(edit: good timing, as this is National Sleep Week, according to those who know things like this!)



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Manchester, NH Clinic ~ 895 Hanover Street @ East Side Plaza ~ Manchester, NH 03104 ~ 603-669-0808
Nashua, NH Clinic ~ 4 Bud Way # 9 Nashua, NH 03063 ~ 603-579-0320

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