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What is Acupuncture?

Several thousand years ago, East Asian practitioners discovered that the body forms disharmonies as a result of the various physical and mental stresses of life. Oriental medical theory explains these disharmonies as an imbalance of opposing forces called yin and yang. This imbalance disrupts the movement of the body's vital energy (qi) along the meridian pathways, which are channels through which the body's energy is thought to flow. Acupuncture restores the smooth flow of qi. By inserting and manipulating needles at specific points on the body, practitioners are able to return the body to its natural balance and promote the body's ability to heal itself.

What is Japanese-style Acupuncture

Japanese-style acupuncture is different than Chinese-style acupuncture in that it emphasizes the use of palpatory diagnostic methods which provide the acupuncturist and patient an immediate measure as to the effectiveness of their treatment. Japanese-style acupuncture uses thinner needles and shallower insertion than Chinese-style acupuncture.  As well, non-needling techniques can be used for children or for patients in which needling is contraindicated.

Kiiko Matsumoto Acupuncture is a specific form of Japanese acupuncture practiced at Three Rivers Wellness. Ms Matsumoto is a world-reknowned master teacher who has published several fundamental texts on acupuncture and Chinese medical theory. Lynn has been fortunate to have spent several hundred hours as clinical assistant to Ms. Matsumoto.

What Does Acupuncture Feel Like?

Many first-time patients are concerned that acupuncture needles will feel like hypodermic injections at the doctor’s office. They won't. Acupuncture uses hair-thin, flexible needles that you will hardly feel when inserted. Gently stimulated needles may produce a unique sensation that Oriental medicine calls de qi. Patients often describe de qi as a heavy, achy pressure, or spreading, traveling feeling. You may also feel an "electrical" sensation moving down the meridian pathways, though this is less common. Most patients find these acupuncture sensations deeply satisfying and leave the treatment feeling relaxed both mentally and physically.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

The benefits of acupuncture are cumulative, so more then one treatment is necessary. For acute conditions you can expect to have 10 to 15 treatments, but you will usually begin to feel relief after just the first few. Chronic conditions may take longer to respond, depending on the type, severity, and duration of the condition. Preventative treatments and treatments for general well-being may also be scheduled on an as-needed basis.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Yes. Acupuncture is used by millions of Americans every year. Acupuncturists are required to undergo extensive education, including detailed study of human anatomy and training in Clean Needle Technique. I have passed comprehensive national board examinations administered by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) and am licensed by the state of Maryland. As required by law, I use pre-sterilized, disposable, single-use needles to ensure your complete safety.

Your First Visit

When you arrive for your first acupuncture appointment you will need to complete a comprehensive intake form. The acupuncture intake form asks questions about your current state of health, past illnesses, and family history. These questions are important because the holistic approach of Oriental medicine takes everything into account. Your current symptoms may not seem related to past health issues, but our bodies are complex landscapes and everything that happens to them leaves its mark.

After reviewing your intake form, we will discuss your condition, and I will examine your pulse and tongue. I will also be palpating diagnositic points on the abdomen and other parts of the body. These are basic diagnostic methods of Oriental medicine. The acupuncture points I choose will depend on your condition, but you can expect approximately 20 needles. Once the needles are inserted, I will leave you to lie comfortably on your back for 15-20 minutes with the needles in place. Many people find acupuncture treatment deeply relaxing, and it is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during this time. Patients are treated on the front, back and sometimes sides.  I often incorporate Shiatsu, also known as acupressure, into treatments as well.

What Can Acupuncture Treat?

Acupuncture works by activating the body's own healing powers, so it can be beneficial for many health conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) has documented many symptoms, diseases, and conditions that have been shown in controlled clinical trials to be effectively treated with acupuncture. Below are some common conditions I can treat, but please feel free to contact me about your specific health condition.

Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine


  • Sports injuries
  • Muscle pain
  • Back, neck and shoulder pain
  • Leg, ankle and foot pain
  • Arm, wrist and hand pain
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Dental pain
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Postoperative pain

Digestive Issues & Nausea

  • Heartburn, Acid Reflux
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Chronic indigestion
  • Chronic loose stools or constipation
  • Peptic ulcer
  • Acute and chronic gastritis
  • Morning sickness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Mental and Emotional Wellbeing

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression

Respiratory Complaints

  • Sinusitis
  • Allergies

Reproductive Issues

  • Infertility
  • Increased efficacy of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Pediatric Acupuncture and Non-Needling Techniques

For those in which needling is contra-indicated or do not feel comfortable with needles, non-needling techniques can be implemented including the use of magnets, pressballs, and the use of a teishin, a metal instrument that can be held against appropriate acupoints. In particular, shakuju is a non-needling form of acupuncture originating from Japan that can be utilized. In this form of acupuncture, it is believed that all disease is a result of fundamental cold, which in the context of Oriental medicine means a decline in the body's vital force or qi. Treatments consists of moving qi in the body to rid the body of cold by treating the abdomen and back.

Shonishin is a form a pediatric acupuncture from Japan. It is a gentle non-insertive techniques involving stroking, rubbing, tapping and pressing acupuncture meridians. Rounded tools metal or stone are typically used. Sometimes a tiny press balls are taped to certain acupoints for a few hours to continue the effect of the treatment. Shonishin treatments harmonize and boost a child's vital energy.

Before working with Lynn, I struggled with back pain on a daily basis. I had a physical therapy routine, but my weekly treatments with Lynn have minimized the pain so I can go about my day-to-day routine as a teacher without as much lower back pain. Lynn's combination of acupuncture and shiatsu gives me the boost I need to get through the week. I leave her treatments feeling relaxed, energized, and with almost no pain. It is as if I am 10 years younger. Lynn is a careful listener. She takes time to know her clients and treats them holistically. Lynn brings extensive training and experience, which results in a more diverse combination of treatment options. Depending on what issues have come up during the week, she can shift the treatment and focus on the most pressing problems. -

- KS, middle school teacher


Lynn Teo LAc, MSc, MAOM

Three Rivers Wellness

By Appointment Only
(301) 456-5467

Three Rivers Wellness has relocated to Portland, ME!
See you in 2021!