On Japanese Meridian Therapy and Pulse Diagnosis

By Julia MacGlashan, L.Ac

Acupuncture in Japan was originally a profession for the blind, which is why Japanese Meridian Therapy (JMT) relies primarily on the sense of touch.  Subtle differences in your pulses and acupuncture meridians provide a wealth of information about what’s going on in your body. Whether you come to the clinic for prematurely graying hair or toe pain, all symptoms arise from substances in the body (qi, blood, fluids) being either weak or stuck.  Ideally everything is supposed to flow like a river. But if you have cold hands and feet, it could mean that the blood in your body is too weak to provide that strong current necessary to fill all the branches, i.e. your fingers and toes. Or, there could be something in the way, blocking the river’s free flow.

In order to determine where substances are weak or stuck, JMT uses a unique pulse diagnostic system. When I feel your pulses, you’ll notice me moving my fingers around a lot, like I’m using your wrists as a piano. I begin by feeling for overall qualities: depth (floating or sunken), strength (deficient or excess), speed (rapid or slow), and quality (slippery, rough, wiry, or tight). Then to get more specific, there’s an individual position in your pulses for each of your 12 main acupuncture meridians and their corresponding organs. Using this pulse information, I can then select acupuncture points to correct the imbalances in your body.

JMT emphasizes treating the root of a problem first, with the understanding that once you correct the root, the rest of the body can work better to regulate itself.  This means that a lot of the “superficial gunk” is cleared out of your system, so I can focus on what’s important, and not on fixing what your body can fix on its own.  So I start by treating your body’s weakest points, and then voila, things aren’t as stuck anymore. We filled up that river and now it can flow around the boulder, or even wear it down or move it out of the way.

Remembering that Japanese acupuncturists were historically blind, I use palpation to find each acupuncture point, treating points that feel weak or stuck, based on what I felt in the pulses.  I often look for divots along the meridians, spots where your finger seems to sink in a little bit. Those spots need to be “filled up”. Areas that are hard or sensitive when I push on them are often a bit “stuck” and need to be redistributed.  Acupuncture points are a part of your living body, so they can move and change all the time. The point location might shift slightly from one week to the next, and with treatment they’ll start to improve and feel less weak or stuck.

What I love about using a touch-based system is that because the selected points are so specific to your individual body, JMT can utilize more gentle needling techniques.  I don’t need a lot of strong stimulation, because I’ve identified that perfect spot to break open the dam and get things moving. This allows JMT treatments to feel simultaneously simple and powerful.   It’s how I prefer to receive acupuncture, so that’s how I prefer to treat others.

You’ll notice that I always feel the pulses at the beginning AND end of a treatment.  That’s because the pulses give me instant feedback on how your body responded to a treatment.  At the end of your session, your pulses should feel overall more moderate (stronger if they felt weak, softer if they felt wiry, etc).  I’m very stubborn and like your pulses to feel nice, so that might mean you receive just one more acupuncture point to finish balancing everything before you walk out the door.  Happy pulses, happy human!

I’m available for community and private acupuncture appointments on Mondays and Thursdays. I hope to see you all in the new year!

What's New in 2019

As the current year winds down, we want to take a moment to let you know of some of the changes happening at our clinic in 2019. First, know that we are endlessly grateful to you, our loyal and supportive customer base. You enable our thriving clinic and its talented practitioners, and support a positive, nurturing presence in the community. The culmination of these foci is embodied in our mission and values, which we continuously strive to improve upon. Thankfully, each year we make steps toward meeting our mission and putting cooperative principles into action.  

Two of those big changes in 2019 will be switching all of our contractors to employees and adding an economic hardship program. In order to sustain these changes, there will be a slight increase in our prices, as previously announced in May.  

Sustainable Employment

Our single biggest shift is that all of our contractors will become employees in 2019.  This change in our structure has enabled us to offer our acupuncturists and bodyworkers health insurance benefits and paid time off as well as mitigate their tax burden. Sustainability and accessibility are both a big part of our mission, so we are beyond happy to provide the opportunity for our practitioners and staff to have a stable job with access to healthcare in what can be a volatile job market.

Needs-Based Discount Program

Having an affordable and accessible space is of great importance to us, and our modest price increase will help us to enact an economic hardship program with our services. Our needs-based program will officially be in effect as of January 1, and we will be giving a discount to people who are having hardship or external difficulties in their lives.  There is no barrier to entry or official application; interested parties only need to inquire via email, with their practitioner, or with reception in the front.

We also plan on launching monthly discount community acupuncture nights, the first being Monday, January 14th. From 4-7pm, community acupuncture will be available for $25. Anyone can book!

Price Changes

As of January 1st, our prices will be changing across all services in order to support these new initiatives. Below are the new prices:

  • Community Acupuncture and Herbal Consults: $40

  • Private Acupuncture: $85

  • Cupping: $55

  • Bodywork and massage:

    • $55 (30 minutes)

    • $80 (45 minutes)  

    • $105 (60 minutes) 

    • $155 (90 minutes)

As always, purchasing at least 5 sessions of any service gets you 10% off. Also, we want to remind you to buy your gift certificates and packages before the close of this year, as we are donating 10% of our profits from Nov 23- Dec 22 to Christopher House.

What Else Can You Look Forward to in 2019?

  • Expanded hours and hiring more acupuncturists

  • Discontinuing our psychotherapy program to make room for more private acupuncture and bodywork. Contact us for some excellent referrals!

  • Raw herbal dispensary offering a limited number of common formulas

  • Insurance billing for private acupuncture through BCBS (not available right now, but we’re working on it!)

Thank you all again for your support. You're the reason we do what we do. Happy holidays and new year!

Yoga for Core Stability, Hips, and Pelvic Floor

On Monday evenings in July, Nathan Paulus will be teaching a 4-week yoga workshop at Five Point. Learn simple, yoga-based sequences to help with your hips and lower back. This class series will emphasize exercises for gentle stretching of tight external muscles and activation of deep core muscles. Students will learn effective techniques to encourage deeper breathing and simple pelvic floor exercises that can be employed in everyday life. A study guide with the different exercises will be provided to help with home practice.

These classes will benefit anyone who has lower back sensitivity or tightness in the hips.  The exercises we work on are especially good for managing anxiety, high stress, and sleep difficulties.

Weeks 1 and 2: Floor postures, isolating deep core muscles, diaphragmatic breathing, and pelvic floor awareness. 

Weeks 3 and 4: Standing alignment with gravity, learning how to move towards “pelvic neutral,” and deep body awareness. Review, refine, and answer questions.

The series begins Monday, July 16th from 6:30-7:30pm. The cost of the series is $80. Some mats will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. Space is limited, so book online to reserve a spot!

Introduction to Mindfulness

One definition of Mindfulness is “ the way we use our attention”. The way we use our attention can impact how we relate to others, our selves, our problems our emotions and thoughts. This 4-week course lead by Daniel Binaei, LCSW will examine how to incorporate mindfulness practices into your everyday life. Dan has been leading Mindfulness groups for 10 years and offers an introduction to basic practices that can enhance relaxation, help manage stress, and help us gain insight into our thoughts and emotions. The series will be broken down into the following topics: 

I. Beginner's mind

II. Training the body to relax/progressive muscle relaxation 

III. Understanding and relating to anger and anxiety in a healthy way/breathwork

IV. Mindfulness and perspective on our lives 

The course runs Fridays from 6:30-7:30pm from July 20th-August 10th. The cost is $80. Space is limited, so book online, and contact Dan with any questions. 

Nathan's Experience with Root's Family Chiropractic

Our clinic was introduced to Dr. Tom Williams and Roots Family Chiropractic through another partner of ours, Third Coast Birth. I went to meet Dr. Tom to discuss a possible partnership, and I found a like minded individual with strong community values and a desire to move people into a greater sphere of personal health and well being.

Roots Family Chiropractic is not what most of us are familiar with when we think of a Chiropractic Adjustment.  They use a more gentle approach aimed at balancing the nervous system, so the body can smoothly regulate between the "rest and repair" versus the "fight/flight" cycles of the nervous system. The adjustments received are relatively gentle, done using what is called a "Torque Release Technique," which is a brief but strong pressure around the muscles that run along your entire spine, including the hips and sacrum. You can read more about these techniques here.

The other aspect of Dr. Toms approach that I really enjoyed was the use of Thermal Scanning, Heart Rate Variability Diagnostics, and Surface EMG (which looks at how the muscles along the spine are functioning).  These three tests are done with your initial visit and after 12 treatments. After the tests are processed, Dr. Tom gives you a clear picture of how your nervous system is functioning as a whole picture. I really enjoyed having this objecting measure that I could understand, and beyond feeling improvements externally, I could see the big changes in my body scans after 24 visits. You can read more about these scans here.

What I noticed during the course of my initial set of visits was improved more restful sleep. I was feeling more motivated (less procrastination) during the day, and I felt like my overall energy increased. With each set of 12 visits, Dr. Tom goes over your new set of scans and compares them to the initial assessment. He also provides a lot of information to help you recognize what are the major stress components in your life that are affecting your sense of well being. 

Dr. Tom and his wife Lauren both run the clinic together. It is a friendly, warm and welcoming space. Scheduling is easy, efficient and typical appointments don't take much more than 15 or 20 minutes. 

Roots Family Practice is our newest Community Partner Businesses. Five Point patients can receive an initial evaluation and consultation for just $40 (a $150 value!). This consult includes a Thermal Scan, Heart Rate Variability Test, and Postural Energy Assessment (how active muscles are along spine, where strain is happening). Please take a moment to check out their web page where they have a lot of information about what they treat and how they treat it. We hope you consider adding chiropractic adjustments to your healthcare routine.

Raising Our Prices to Meet Our Mission

This year, as our business turns four, we have been reflecting on how to meet our mission, values, and goals for the foreseeable future so that we may continue to serve and grow with our wonderful community. In addition to continuing to offer high-quality, accessible holistic healthcare, it is our goal to prioritize living wages and benefits for our workers as well as making Five Point a model of how small cooperative businesses can be run successfully.

As of June 1st, Five Point will be raising the price of community acupuncture and herbal consultations to $35 for repeat visits, and in January 2019 this price will go up to $40. The prices of our other services will not be affected in 2018.

These changes will help us achieve a new level of stability and sanctuary, as Five Point becomes a better home for its workers. Later this spring, Five Point will be able to offer health insurance coverage to its employees and owners, which is a big landmark for us.

Beyond improving our internal structure, this price increase will allow us to create a low-income program for community acupuncture, something that will help us continue to meet our mission of accessibility. We expect to launch this program in 2019.

As a thank you and to help with the transition to our new pricing, for the entire month of June our packages for community acupuncture will remain at their current pricing. We highly suggest taking advantage of these prices, and getting a package if you are a regular consumer of community acupuncture.

As always, we can’t thank you all enough for supporting our business and making our clinic such a lovely, healing environment. We are very excited about this coming year as we enter into our fifth year of service, and we couldn’t have done it without you!

With gratitude,

The Five Point Team

Spring Schedule Changes

This spring we're expanding our hours to add more bodywork, acupuncture and psychotherapy. Kate has expanded her hours on Friday from 9am to 6pm for those of you looking to destress after a long work week. She is also available on Wednesday evenings and Sundays.

Dan, our psychotherapist, is now available Tuesday mornings and Friday evenings in addition to Monday and Tuesday evenings. Tuesday morning and afternoon are now open for community and private acupuncture with Christian and Dinah. Ryan will be moving to Thursday mornings as Genna joins Thursday evenings and Sundays.

See our Full schedule below:


  • Acupuncture (Christian) 12-6pm
  • Bodywork (Nathan) 12-6pm
  • Psychotherapy (Dan) 2-8pm


  • Acupuncture morning (Christian and Dinah) 9am-2pm
  • Acupuncture evening (Ryan and Joslynn) 2-8pm
  • Psychotherapy (Dan) 7-11am; 2-8pm


  • Acupuncture (Celeste and Christian) 2-8pm
  • Bodywork (Kate) 2-8pm


  • Acupuncture morning (Joslynn and Ryan*) 9am-2pm
  • Acupuncture evening (Genna* and Celeste) 2-8pm
  • Bodywork (Nathan) 2-8pm


  • Acupuncture (Dinah and Christian*) 9am-3pm
  • Bodywork (Kate) 9am-6pm
  • Psychotherapy (Dan) 4-7pm


  • Acupuncture (Celeste and Dinah) 9am-4pm
  • Bodywork (Nathan) 10am-4pm


  • Acupuncture (Genna* and Joslynn) 12-6pm
  • Bodywork (Kate) 12-6pm

*Beginning the week of 4/2/18

Community Partnership: Logan Square Pilates

Five Point is thrilled to announce its newest community partnership with
Logan Square Pilates + Core. LSQP is an independent studio located at 2771 N Milwaukee Ave, offering private and group instruction in Pilates equipment, Pilates mat, barre and yoga. The studio was launched in mid-January by three Logan Square residents, including two of our very own clients! 

What is Pilates? 

Pilate s h ractic pecifi ontrolle ovemen n reath. Wit ocu or n pinal suppor, the exercises uilds trength, lexibilit n ea uscl one. h mphasi engthenin h od nd alignin h pine, athe ha ulkin n hortenin h uscles.

Why Logan Square Pilates + Core?

LSQP is ommitte akin ilate ccessibl l odie u oga quar ommunit n upbeat, on-intimidating, ffordabl tudi nvironment, her ndividual eceiv h tmos espect an upport. Their mission is to ignite confidence and vitality in our community through the core principles of Pilates: concentration, control, center, position, breath and fluidity.

What's the Deal?

LSQP is excited to offer the Five Point community the choice of two special new client deals:

  • 2 for 1 Private Pilates Equipment Sessions (use code FIVEPOINTPRIVATES when booking online) or
  • Free First Pilates Mat Class (code FIVEPOINTFLOOR). 

They will also be hosting an open house just for Five Point clients on Sunday, February 18th from 4:30-6pm. Contact Kristi at info@logansquarepilates.com to learn more and sign up!

Hatha Yoga with Hannah Keene


Beginning Friday, January 19, Five Point is excited to offer a weekly Gentle Hatha Yoga Class led by Hannah Keene. This class focuses on slower, dynamic movement, synchronized with pranayama (breath) to allow for alignment of body and mind.  All levels welcome! Class will be held from 4:30 - 5:45 pm each Friday. The drop in rate will be $15.

Hannah graduated from Tula Yoga's teacher training program earlier in 2017, she has a great depth of knowledge from her committed study with some prominent local teachers, as well as her commitment to her own practice and continual evolution of learning. Hannah currently subs at Tula Yoga and holds weekly classes at Alternative Health Group on Mondays from 6-7 pm and Tuesday mornings from 8:15-9:15 am.

New Psychotherapist

We are thrilled to announce that Daniel Banei has joined our team as a psychotherapist. Dan has a holistic perspective in his approach to Psychotherapy, rooted in his background and interest in spirituality, social justice, meditation, Chi Gong and Yoga. He has focused on working with clients with Anxiety, Depression, Life transitions, and Grief and Loss.
Before entering the field of Psychotherapy, Dan worked in Non-Profit Management and Consulting for 10 years. In addition to his Psychotherapy practice he has provided Clinical Supervision to masters-level therapists working in community counseling. 


Dan utilizes a mindfulness based integrative approach influenced by the work and perspectives of Carl Jung and drawing on 10 years of experience utilizing CBT/DBT approaches to provide immediate relief to people experiencing high levels of distress. Dan’s approach is humanistic, person-centered, and he feels compassion and understanding are at the heart of the healing process.

Dan is available on Mondays and Tuesdays from 2-8 pm. Sessions are $150, and he is in network with BCBS. Packages are available, and financial need can be considered on an individual basis. Dan can be reached at Daniel@fivepointholistic.com.

Hiring a Psychotherapist

On August 17th we will be saying goodbye to Kim Vachon, our psychotherapist since August of 2014. Kim is relocating to California to pursue a PhD in Educational Psychology at UC Santa Barbara. We are sad to see her go but excited to see where her education takes her.

With Kim's departure on the horizon, Five Point is seeking another amazing psychotherapist to join our collaborative team. We are looking for a practitioner with a minimum of five years of clinical experience and a desire to work in a integrative holistic healthcare environment to provide individual, couples, family, and/or group therapy for a minimum of 20 hours/week over 3-4 days.

For a full list of qualifications, responsibilities, and benefits, please see our full job posting below. Applications are due no later than August 14th.


Yoga for Core Stability, Hips, and Pelvic Floor

On Monday evenings in August, Nathan Paulus will be teaching a 4-week yoga workshop at Five Point. Learn simple, yoga-based sequences to help with your hips and lower back.  This class series will emphasize exercises for gentle stretching of tight external muscles and activation of deep core muscles. Students will learn effective techniques to encourage deeper breathing and simple pelvic floor exercises that can be employed in everyday life. A study guide with the different exercises will be provided to help with home practice.

These classes will benefit anyone who has lower back sensitivity or tightness in the hips.  The exercises we work on are especially good for managing anxiety, high stress and sleep difficulties.

Weeks 1 and 2: Floor postures, isolating deep core muscles, diaphragmatic breathing and pelvic floor awareness. 

Weeks 3 and 4: Standing alignment with gravity, learning how to move towards “pelvic neutral” and deep body awareness. Review, refine and answer questions.

The series begins Monday, August 7th from 6:45-8pm. The cost of the series is $80. Some mats will be provided, but you are encouraged to bring your own. Space is limited, so book online to reserve a spot!

Upcoming Changes in July

At Five Point, one of our core mission goals is to provide high quality, effective and affordable healthcare services. With this in mind, we recently have conducted an internal audit of our services to make improvements and refinements for your experience at our clinic. We are excited to share some small changes we have made to maximize personal time spent with patients.

Changes in Current Services

We will be reconfiguring all of our current services so that they run on 15 minute intervals instead of 20. With these changes there will be a modest increase in some of our prices. Below is a list of our current services with their price and/or time changes.

  • Private Acupuncture: First visit $95, Follow up $75, 1-hour session, 45 min with practitioner

  • Community Acupuncture: First visit $45, follow up $30, 1-hour session, 15 min with practitioner

  • Herbal Consultations: First visit $45, follow up $30, 15 min with practitioner

  • Cupping and Moxibustion only: 30 min, $50

  • Bodywork: 30 min $50, 45 min $70, 60 min $95, 90 min $145

New Service

We are adding a new 30-minute service that combines acupuncture and herbal consultations in order to allow for more time when an in-depth consultation is necessary. This service will be called Reassessment: Community Acupuncture+Herbal Consultation. It costs $45, and it is designed for the following situations:

  • It is your first time receiving herbal medicine in addition to community acupuncture

  • Your practitioner has requested this extra time due to the complicated nature of your case

  • There is any need for a reassessment such as a change in your case

  • We haven’t seen you for several months

If you currently do both acupuncture and herbal medicine, your practitioner will be discussing with you in the next few weeks whether or not it is necessary to book this new service or if an herbal consult can be conducted in the timeframe of a community acupuncture treatment. Please contact your practitioner with any questions.


Over the July 1st weekend, you will see changes to the online booking which reflect our new service times; however, new pricing will not go into effect until Tuesday, August 1st. We will honor old packages until they run out, so we encourage you to buy one in the next couple weeks!

As a community-focused clinic that values affordable, accessible care, we do not take price increases lightly. We appreciate your trust and support and are making these changes in order to provide our best care. Thank you for your business, and please contact us with any questions.


Birthday Promotion

On May 24th, Five Point turned 3-years-old! We wouldn't be here today without the support of our community including friends, patients, and neighbors. To recognize this achievement, we want to celebrate with YOU for the entire month of June.

In order to say thanks and show our appreciation for supporting us over the last 3 years, we are offering 30% off any one individual treatment during the month of June for returning patients. Just mention our birthday when checking out, and we will apply the discount. We are looking forward to celebrating together.

New Schedule

With the departure of owner and acupuncturist Alex Watkins, there will be some schedule rearranging beginning the week of May 22nd. Tuesday and Wednesday mornings will consolidate to Thursday mornings, and Dinah will be moving from Thursday evenings to Fridays. The full schedule can be read below.

Monday: Psychotherapy with Kim and Bodywork with Nathan by appointment

Tuesday: 2-8pm - Celeste, Ryan, Joslynn, and Nathan

Wednesday: 2-8pm - Celeste, Christian, and Emmy*

Thursday: 9am-2pm - Dinah and Joslynn; 2:20-8pm - Celeste, Ryan, and Nathan

Friday: 9am-2pm - Dinah, Collin, and Kate

Saturday: 9am-3pm - Dinah, Celeste, and Nathan

Sunday: 12-6pm - Joslynn, Ryan, and Kate

*Emmy's last day is 5/31, Kim Vachon will resume these hours beginning 6/7

Good bye Windy City; Hello Blue Ridge Mountains!

I have some big news to share! This summer, I am moving out of Chicago to head back to the South; specifically, Roanoke, VA. My husband and I have been discussing this move for a long time, and this spring it all came together. It has been an exciting 12 years in Chicago, and the last 3 years at Five Point have been some of the most rewarding, challenging, and fulfilling to date. My husband is excited to get back to teaching, and I am excited about backyard chickens, being closer to nature, and a slower pace of life.  I will continue to practice Chinese Medicine, hopefully at one of the community acupuncture clinics in the area, and am hoping to work with one of the local hospice organizations for end of life care.

Before I leave, I am headed to France for a month-long meditation retreat under the guidance of a wonderful teacher. I am hoping this time will give me a chance to reflect and transition to a new phase of my life. My last day working at Five Point is May 20th, but you might see me around now and then for my own treatments while I recover from retreat and get ready for the big move to VA.

I will sincerely miss my partners, friends, and patients here. You have all shaped me as a person and clinician, and I look forward to coming back for visits as the years go on. Good bye Windy City; Hello Blue Ridge Mountains!

Intro to Mindfulness and Meditation Class

Five Point Holistic Health will be offering another 6-week Introduction to Mindfulness and Meditation course starting Monday, May 1st from 7-8pm. This course, lead by Kim Vachon LCPC, will introduce basic practices of mindfulness and meditation and examine how to incorporate these practices into your every day life. Basic tenets of mindfulness and meditation include sitting in stillness with your breath, practicing gratitude, bringing your awareness to the present moment and much more. Benefits of these practices range from feeling at peace and content with the state of your life, to improving concentration skills to sleeping more soundly at night.

Participation is limited, so we encourage you to reserve a spot online. The series is intended to be taken in full and costs $90 for the six weeks. Please reach out to Kim Vachon at kim@fivepointholistic.com  with any further questions. We look forward to your participation.

International Women’s Day

As a predominantly women-owned small business, we support the equity, justice, and human rights of women and all gender oppressed people. On March 8th, International Women’s Day, we have decided to stay open because we provide self care and healthcare to the entire community, including women, other marginalized people, and their allies.

We are showing our support by donating 25% of our proceeds that day to Chicago Women’s Health Center, a local non-profit that offers affordable and accessible health services and education to women and trans people.

However you choose to spend the day, we stand with you and are here if you need some self care!

March Forth! Support your friends, family, and community

Five Point Community,

With the current cultural and political climate in the world, we have noticed an overwhelming sense of turmoil and instability within our communities. In times like these, it’s easy to focus on this turmoil and lose sight of taking care of yourself and loved ones. As a response, we want to do our part to help support our community, remaining steadfast in our mission of democracy, equality, and inclusivity.

For the month of March we want to bring our community together by offering your “Friends and Family” free treatments.  If you are already a patient or community partner, we want to extend our support to your friends and family with first time free treatments. This includes one 30 minute treatment of either Community Acupuncture, Bodywork with Nathan, Massage with Kate or an Herbal Consultation.

Also, on Wednesday, March 8th, International Women’s Day, our clinic will be donating 25% of all services to the wonderful Chicago Women’s Health Center, who offer a variety of health services in an accessible and affordable way.

So please, join us this month. Take care of yourself, take care of your friends and family, and help us take care of our community!