SHIRLEY -- If it's aches and pains or just everyday tension and tightness, Isaac Muffoletto gets your point.
But if you get his point, you will feel better. He is the area's newest acupuncturist with the credentials to prove it.
Specializing in traditional Chinese and Japanese art of acupuncture, Muffoletto is Massachusetts board certified in four areas of holistic wellness, and he is bringing his vast education and experience to a private practice on Shaker Road in Shirley.
Muffoletto, who did three years of post-graduate studies following his BS in Wellness and Alternative Medicine, has returned to his hometown to serve the community and will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at his new clinic June 22.
In the past, acupuncturists found it challenging to compete with their popular cousins, the physical therapists, mostly because insurance companies and HMOs didn't cover the costs. But the paradigm is shifting as the ancient art gains legitimacy. Many insurance policies now cover the cost of acupuncture and other holistic treatments.
Staked by personal investments and familial loans, Muffoletto opened his clinic in late May and its popularity is growing. He talks about his specialty with the calm acumen of an astronaut.
"There is a train of connective tissue running through the body," he said, referring to the myofascial network.
A lot of the points within the network relate to other parts of the body, sometimes one single point may affect several areas.
"For example, the ankle could be used for lower back pain or kidney problems."
He uses the tiny needles on both the front and back of his patients, and often along the extremities, depending on the ailment.
"I feel along the bony landmarks in the body then palpatate down along the vertebrae," he said. He knows the precise spots behind the knees or on the feet, where the needles, which are often left in place for about 20 minutes, are stuck.
Using a Chinese measurement unit called cun, he adjusts in small increments until he locates the spot of tissue. Then he places the sharp end of the needle against the skin and with a gentle tap, protrudes into the flesh about a half inch deep.
The practice has gained some recent legitimacy thanks in large part to intensive medical research. Using a technique called functional MRI, scientists can monitor brain activity in real time as various treatments are applied. By watching for changes in brain activity, they can measure the level of relief -- or not. Alternative medicine practitioners use the findings from this and other studies to fine-tune and master their craft. The paradigm is slowly shifting to accept some less conventional approaches to healthcare and wellness.
Muffoletto, who is also a teaching assistant, will officially launch his business under the name Mended Roots.
It is located at #2 Shaker Road, B007 -- a place that is as difficult to find as the connective tissue at the bottom of the needle.