Open Pathways to Health

Becoming Your Own Best Healer

A Message from MaryJo Johnson

Licensed Acupuncturist and Massage Therapist
Diplomate Traditional Oriental Medicine
Masters of Divinity

One of the most common questions that new students in a Traditional Oriental Medicine program ask is: “Is Acupuncture good for ______?” If the teacher’s focus is evidence based medicine, they will refer you to research on many of the areas that have been studied where acupuncture has been shown to be helpful: back pain, anaesthesia, knee arthritis, migraine, stroke, addiction, etc. These are the diagnoses that are most frequently covered by insurance.


If the focus is more on the classical practice of Traditional Oriental Medicine, there could be many different answers. “Yes, of course, acupuncture is good for everything,” is one possibility. This is because acupuncture in the classical sense is not narrowly focused on the direct treatment of a single disease. It is not like a heart medication or antibiotic that is approved for clinical use based on thousands of people with a specific set of symptoms and shown to have a specific outcome in most people. Acupuncture has already been used clinically for millennia. An acupuncturist uses their calm presence, the quiet atmosphere of their office, their ability to listen empathically and observe closely, their voice, touch, and the specific placement of hands and/or needles to encourage their patient’s ability to create their body’s own healing response. Tension is released and the body naturally seeks out a state of balance and calm that relieves pain, releases mental and emotional blockages, and allows blood and body fluid to flow freely to where they are needed.


Another possible answer to the question would be a qualified yes. Yes, acupuncture can help, but to cure this condition completely and permanently the patient needs stop the behavior or remove the conditions that result in the problem. The areas of study in Traditional Oriental Medicine that are related to longevity and prevention of disease emphasize a lifestyle that is moderate and close to nature, a diet that is simple and avoids excesses of alcohol, meat and sweets, regular exercise, sufficient rest and a tranquil and equanimous mindset. There is no supplement, no herbal formula, no treatment that can take the place of what someone who wants to pursue better health can do for themselves through daily practice.

I have revisioned my work in response to COVID-19. My office is not currently open. There are too many questions still unanswered about the short and long term impact of this virus on vulnerable populations to risk spending the extended periods of time in enclosed spaces with people that I used to spend. I am available to people individually and in groups on the phone and online instead weekdays between 11 and 5, or by appointment. My primary focus is helping people to implement their own daily health practice. I can't cure COVID-19 or prevent it from spreading. What I can do is inspire and encourage people to change their lives so that during this or any future pandemic it's more likely that they will be part of the majority of people who on average only experience mild, if any, symptoms of infection. So let's go! Who wants to be part of the 80% (that successfully resist severe illness from COVID-19 infection)?! The answers may be relatively simple, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it--that's why I want to help you to be well informed and to strengthen your ability to carry out your intentions.

Of course, COVID results not guaranteed, but to learn more click here.


Why Study and Practice With Me?

I will help you examine the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of your life and encourage you to make simple changes that will improve many aspects of your health, including:


Discover the foods and schedule that help you feel and function best.


Optimize your sleep so you can be active and fully present in life.


Develop your ability to respond in a balanced way to pathogenic influences.

Women's Health

Discomfort with menstruation, pregnancy, post-partum and menopause and can be reduced or eliminated by making simple targeted changes.

Weight Loss

Lasting weight loss is about so much more than calories and exercise.


Find a way to more effectively  unplug, let go, and manage life transitions.

Resources and Bibliography

For Tending Mind, Body and Spirit (work in progress--hover to read text, click button for more info)
"Everyone who practices contemplation finds that this loving work has a good influence on both body and soul. It helps them get themselves in hand...So seek this gift, and let grace help you."

— The Cloud of Unknowing

"Every physical thing is subject to and ruled by something spiritual, never the reverse...Your body imitates your soul and makes the work of the Spirit evident. That's how it always is."



Your Health Starts Here

Contact Info



Shutesbury MA

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