Acupuncture Blog

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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 monthly 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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We're grateful for all folks who come and rest their bones in MAS clinic recliners; who surrender to the mysterious movements of acupuncture treatments.  

Thank you for your company and your contribution in making the treatment rooms a venerable space.  We all make it so, this we know.


Three more meditations on gratitude...


"If there is gratitude in your heart, then there will be tremendous sweetness in your eyes." - Sri Chinmoy

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul." – Henry Ward Beecher

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around." – Willie Nelson

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It has always been our goal to offer as many hours each week as we can, to whomever would like to use acupuncture at MAS clinics.

To that end, we are about ready to expand the hours we offer on Saturdays in Nashua, while adjusting Tuesday hours at the same time. The new schedule will start on Tuesday March, 5th.

There will be no changes to the Manchester schedule.

Handout of Punk schedule March 5 2019 single pic

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Black History Month is observed internationally in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. during the month of February each year. 

In the spirit of joining the celebration, we'd like to highlight the large role that a group of community-minded African-American men and women played in widening access to acupuncture in their communities.

Our friend Greg Jones from St. Pete Community Acupuncture has put together an excellent, brief informational flier about the use of acupuncture at a pivotal time in US history within an influential group of African-American providers in New York City during the 1970's, among others.  See below. 

(If you'd like to read a more in-depth version of Greg's 'zine, email us using the Contact Us form. We'd be happy to forward over a copy to you, with Greg's blessing. It's simply too large to post here.)

Radical History of CA 1

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