Acupuncture Blog

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(Somewhere in Vermont, last week)

Most of us associate Fall with changing leaf colors and apple-picking, for obvious reasons.

In the world of Chinese Medicine this season is mostly associated internally with the functions of the Lungs and Large Intestine, moving on from the old and protecting what's left behind.

This article does a decent job of laying out more. 

We hope it turns out to be useful for you.

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If you've been in touch with us one way or another over the past several months, you've no doubt picked up on the fact the Manchester shop had moved earlier in the summer.
Well, we figured the time was right to open the doors wide and celebrate our new home in the East Side Plaza.
Won't you join us and bring a friend or foe along too?

What: An Excellent Open House at Manchester Acupuncture Studio in Manchester
Where: 895 Hanover Street in Manchester - in the East Side Plaza
When: This Saturday, October 5th from 9am-4pm
What Again: Free Acupuncture Treatments, very delicious snacks, raffle for locally-created goodies and natural heath products, to benefit MAS outreach programs

See you soon!

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People commonly ask us if acupuncture can help them better manage the pain of osteoarthritis.
The answer is, it's normally very helpful - not always prone to showing immediate relief - but steady improvement over time.

Acupuncture treats all kinds of pain, including pain from different types of arthritis.

Taking a cue from our friends at Central Oklahoma Acupuncturewe'd like to share this article from the Cleveland Clinic. The article's focus is on osteoarthritis of the knee, specifically. But it gives a nice overview of how acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and can be used alongside other modalities, treatments and medications.

Next week, we'll write a bit about why different acupuncturists treatments (even among the group at MAS) can look and feel different from one another's.

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Behold, the latest MAS clinic schedule.
This one will begin this coming Sunday, September 8th.

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Schedule highlights  

- Lori Tusa joins the MAS team. Hooray!

- Friday mornings in Nashua are back!
  April opens the shop from 9a-1p - by your requests.

- MAS-Nashua is now open 6 days/week.
  This feels really good to us.

- Jodie joins the fun in Nashua on Wednesdays and Thursdays

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A quick update with regards to clinic schedules in Manchester & Nashua.

In Manchester: With Amy now moved on, Jodie on the shelf for a little bit longer with an injury, and incoming acu-punk Lori Tusa on her way across the country en route to NH, we've had to reset the schedule temporarily. Elizabeth, Andy and April remain here for you.

In Nashua: Once the reinforcements are back in the form of Jodie and Lori, look for an additional shift on Friday mornings and for Tuesday's clinic to shade earlier in the day. Announcements ahead.

Find the current clinic schedule below.

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The following article was published by our friends at Guelph Community Acupuncture in Ontario, Canada on their website.

We're taking the opportunity to re-post Stef & Lisa's writing here in order to open this common clinical topic up.  No one can tell you about the pain or illness you experience.  Likewise, no one can tell you if you are feeling better.  However, this post offers examples of changes that typically show through that are good signs of a shift in the right direction, even if you're not where you'd ultimately like to be, quite yet.

We hope it's useful to you.

 - MAS Staff

How to Tell That Acupuncture Is Working Even Though You’re Still in Pain

We see many people in intense, long-term chronic pain. Some of these people get immediate and dramatic relief, but it's much more common for regular treatment to slowly chip away at an issues that are chronic. (That's why we do our best to make acupuncture as accessible as possible; it may not work if you can't get enough treatment.) And sometimes progress is less straightforward. How do you tell if acupuncture is working even though you're still in pain? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Am I taking less pain meds?

It is surprisingly common for someone to arrive for their second visit, say there's no improvement, that the pain is just as bad ... and then, when we ask about medication it turns out they forgot or didn't need to take it. We get that it may feel the same in your body, but that's still progress!

Has the pain changed?

Sometimes acupuncture shrinks the area of the pain before it changes the intensity of the pain. Was the original pain covering a postcard-sized area? Did it shrink to the size of an egg after you started treatment? That's progress, even if that egg-sized area is still very painful. Likewise, if the pain was very intense all day every day and now you are getting small windows of only milder pain, that's progress as well.

Am I able to walk further/do more physical activity?

Chronic pain can make our lives a lot smaller, can make going out to the car a struggle or doing the dishes a seemingly impossible task. We frequently see people doing more in their lives, sometimes before we even see the pain itself decrease.

On a related note: did you feel so good after your treatment that you overdid it and re-injured yourself?

We get it, you were in pain for so long and now there's so many errands and things to do around the house, nevermind the other things you've been waiting to do for so long. It's common for people to get really excited when they feel better, overdo it, and then have the pain set in again. If that happened, and you're feeling worse now, we wouldn't necessarily call that "progress" ... but it is a sign that the acupuncture helped. Try to take it easy after the next treatment!

Are you sleeping better or longer?

Chronic pain often interferes with sleep. If you're still in just as much pain during the day, but your sleep is better, then the acupuncture is most likely helping. Keep at it, and hopefully you'll experience daytime relief too.

Is your mood and focus better?

Chronic pain demands a lot of our brains' "bandwidth". Another great thing about acupuncture is that it can help clear up mental fog, forgetfulness, anxiety, or a low mood. It may be, especially at the beginning of treatment, that your mood or focus improves before your pain does.

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It's truly hard to believe the move from Canal to Hanover Streets in Manchester took place about one month ago.

But here we are.

We'd be remiss if we didn't offer a BIG Thank You! to all the folks who lent trucks and cars and hands and the weekend itself to get MAS over to Hanover and set up, right quickly.

Carol, Brian, Roger, Eric, Paul, Eddie, Adam, Chuck, Gail, Diane, Karen, Kathy, Jennifer, Sandy, Terry, Dennis, Cris, Sally, Nancy, Charlotte, Dave, Elizabeth, Bill, Tricia, Sylvia and the other folks whom I know I'm now forgetting.

Thanks a million!

And to the folks who gave in other ways in order to support the Move:

Nancy, Russell, Frank, Tara, Brian, Ann, Melissa, Brenda, Kaitlyn, Mary Ann and Pauline.

Thank you! It's no exaggeration to say MAS could not have done it without you all.

Response to the new clinic has been overwhelmingly positive, and for this we are grateful.
There are certainly PLENTY of parking spaces near the shop, and the A/C works really well in the treatment room!
We hope to see you soon at 895 Hanover Street in Manchester at the East Side Plaza, if we haven't already.

A few preliminary pictures for your pleasure, dear readers.  More 'official' pictures to follow in the coming weeks.


Sitting area in Front Office

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Towards Front Office in Treatment Room

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Treatment room looking into Back Office

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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 Studies program 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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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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