A Traditional Healing Practice
Inspired by Nature

When we live according to the different energies of the universe, we will find it easier to be in harmony with nature and find balance in our lives.

Five Element Acupuncture helps us find that balance.

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“My passion is to help patients feel their best, physically, spiritually and emotionally.”

Margaret headshot

Margaret Ryding M.Ac.

Margaret practices Five Element Acupuncture, an ancient Chinese medicine that understands and heals imbalances in the human body. She brings enthusiasm, compassion and 25 years of experience to her practice, creating a unique personalized treatment plan for each patient.

When not practicing at her office in Arlington MA, Margaret lives on a beautiful farm in Western MA where she raises chickens, grows flowers, fruit trees, berries and vegetables.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is an ancient system of healing practiced for over five thousand years in China. Acupuncture uses needles that are gently inserted to change and balance a person’s energy, or qi (气). When our energy is flowing well, we are healthy. When this flow is disrupted, illness can result.

Acupuncture “points” are locations on the body where the energy comes to the surface and can be affected by needles that are thinner than a human hair. The goal of acupuncture is to balance your energy, allowing you to heal with nature’s help and to feel your best.



Acupuncture was practiced in ancient China to prevent disease, which remains an important use of acupuncture today.  Keeping energy balanced helps keep people healthy. However, people often come to acupuncture when trying to treat an illness, sometimes as a last resort after trying many other therapies.


Acupuncture stimulates the immune system and healing process. The World Health Organization lists many conditions for which it considers acupuncture to be helpful. These include:

  • back pain
  • depression
  • dizziness
  • eating disorders
  • fatigue
  • fertility
  • fibromyalgia
  • headaches
  • hypertension
  • impotence
  • infertility
  • insomnia
  • menstrual disorders
  • migraines
  • neuralgia
  • sciatica
  • skin conditions
  • stress
  • tendonitis
  • ulcers

The Five Elements

In Chinese Medicine, health is more than the absence of symptoms.

True health has to do with the state of balance and harmony, internally and externally. In Chinese Medicine, the laws of the universe are based on observing nature. The seasons are seen as energetic movements in nature which affect all living things. In spring, plants sprout, in summer they grow and flower, in late summer they bear fruit, in autumn they produce seeds and release them, and in winter they die. That is the cycle of the seasons and nature.

It was observed in ancient China that humans also follow this flow of energy and are microcosms of the larger universe. When we are in balance we also change according to the laws of nature, following the cycle of the seasons. The different elements associated with the seasons are: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water.

When we live according to the different energies of the universe, we find it easier to be in harmony with nature and find balance in our life. The Chinese philosophy of the “Tao” means “the way”. Finding our “way” can come through watching nature - how it changes and living accordingly.


The Wood Element is connected to the spring season, a time of new birth and creativity as the earth comes alive.  This element is related to the liver and gall bladder. While creativity is connected to the Wood Element, without an outlet, anger or frustration can dominate. 


The Fire Element is related to summer, the most ‘yang’ and outward time of the year. The heart and circulation are under the domain of the Fire Element. When out of balance there may be circulatory problems, or depression or lack of joy.


The Earth Element is associated with late summer or the harvest season and is associated with the emotion of sympathy. The Earth Element controls the stomach and spleen - our organs of digestion. When out of balance, digestive problems can arise or an excess of worrying.


The Metal Element is connected with autumn. Metal controls the lungs and large intestines and when out of balance symptoms such as digestive issues or upper respiratory infections can result.  Grief is associated with the Metal Element.


The Water Element is the element of winter and is associated with the emotion of fear.  This is the storehouse of our vital essence. When the kidneys are depleted, we can feel fatigue, lethargy, and a lack of vitality. This is the most yin or inward energy of the year.

Client testimonials

“I always leave feeling more at ease and having learned something about my body and myself. She is very professional, and she has a heart as big as the world. My health is improving and I feel more at home in myself.”

Bonnie B.

“I find the acupuncture treatment itself to be a nurturing experience with Margaret. Acupuncture has helped me to feel calmer, energized, helped with headaches and a number of other issues.”

Patti G.

"Acupuncture has enhanced my health overall. I strongly recommend Margaret Ryding as a highly competent practitioner."

Howard S.

"After a session of acupuncture, I feel better results compared to any massage I’ve ever received. I sleep better. It’s helped me stay sane through some major life events"

Robyn K.

"Acupuncture with Margaret Ryding made a huge difference in reducing the chronic inflammation, pain, and fatigue I had been living with for years. She is wise, gentle, and a real healer."

Lori K.

“Although I don’t fully understand the mechanisms of acupuncture, I do know that after a treatment with Margaret, my body feels more aligned, more relaxed, and more at peace. She listens with her ears and hands. It’s very comforting being in her presence.”

Connie P.

“I started acupuncture with Margaret because I’d been diagnosed with endometriosis and wanted to try a more natural path than the surgery my doctor had recommended. With regular acupuncture and herbs, my endometrial cysts were either the same or smaller each time my doctor sent me for ultrasound. I have never had symptoms, and my doctor has reduced the frequency of the ultrasounds gradually based on the results so that I now go only every three years for a recheck. It’s wonderful to have avoided surgery, and I feel great.”

Gina S.

“Margaret works from a place of quiet and gentle understanding. Perceptive, she always understands what is going on with me; she listens carefully, to my words and pulses. She senses my energy. Inevitably I am relaxed, and often asleep."

Richard T.

“After a treatment, I always feel more grounded, and more energized. Margaret works with thoughtfulness and focus. I always feel cared for and supported by Margaret’s presence and her work.”

Bailey W.


Frequently asked questions

Does it hurt?

Acupuncture needles are extremely fine and flexible. When the needles are inserted, you may feel a dull ache, which lasts only 1 or 2 seconds. Patients do not typically describe their treatment as painful.

Is it safe?

Only sterilized disposable needles are used. All safety regulations are followed meticulously.

How much does it cost?

Each treatment is $120. Margaret offers a sliding scale for special cases based on extreme financial need.

How do I pay?

Fees are paid in person when you come in for a treatment.  Cash, card, Venmo or checks are accepted.

CAN I USE INSURance to pay for my treatment?

Many insurance companies will reimburse or discount acupuncture treatments. The best way to check if yours does is to call and ask them for details. I am a provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield MA and Harvard Pilgrim.

How long does a treatment take?

 Treatments last one hour. For newcomers, the first treatment might last a little longer to include initial on-boarding questions.

Do I need to prepare before my first treatment?

No need to prepare - just bring yourself! Please arrive on time, wait quietly in sitting area outside the treatment room, and wear comfortable clothing. Note that your first treatment will include some initial questions about medical and family history, lifestyle, sleep, and digestion.

Contact me

Margaret will be pleased to talk with you directly about your interest in acupuncture.
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Traditional Acupuncture is conveniently located on the first floor of 393 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Center, MA. Our pre-1750 building - The Wayside Inn - is convenient to multiple bus stops and ample on-street parking.

Tuesday - Thursday
11:00am - 7:30pm