I strongly dislike needles.
So one might find it odd that I spent a couple of hours today chock-full of them, voluntarily. I had my first acupuncture appointment.
I mentioned this week that I’ve been having some health issues. (Dear Body, NICE TIMING. Love, Me.) I’ve visited the local clinic and big hospital many times, and been through a battery of tests. Some involved taking multiple vials of blood for various tests- gag. One involved an I.V. Do you know what that stands for? INTRAVENOUS. Like, IN YOUR VEIN. Blech. I couldn’t even look at it. I know I’m a big baby, but those were the worst parts of the tests.
One by one, the tests came back mostly clear, which is awesome– except my pain and symptoms remain. It’s frustrating not to know what is wrong. So when it was suggested that I try acupuncture, I was into it!
I totally believe in alternative medicine. I believe the body can heal itself. I believe in the power of positive thinking. I believe prayers get answered. And I believe that sometimes, the elderly Chinese man in the shop that smells like 10,000 herbs can heal an ailment better than Dr. Western Medicine.
John’s been going to an acupuncturist for years. She is the opposite of the stereotype I used above- she’s a tall, strong, blonde, 40-something Austrian woman with an accent. She’s warm and genuine and I trusted her immediately. After chatting with me about how I was feeling, she did a brief massage of the area- not a feel-good massage, but one intended to zero in on where my issues might be and offer proper treatment. She pinpointed immediately where I felt bad. Her experience and skill is obvious.
The treatment itself was painless. I asked her half-way through how many needles she had used on me so far, and she laughed and said, “Lots.” Hmmm. She put one in the top of my head. She put one in my forehead that she called the “Noodle Needle.” They were everywhere, and not only where my pain has been. She estimated over 20 on one side of my body and even more on the other. I envisioned myself looking something like Needle Face Guy from Hellraiser:
Here’s the actual size of the needle.
Once the needles were in place, I basically just relaxed, dozing in and out of snooze-land, listening to a fountain’s soothing sounds and focusing on feeling good. A forced “time-out” from… well, everything… can’t hurt.
Something I found interesting was the acupuncturist’s process of getting to the bottom of my issues (versus the doctors I’ve seen all week). Test after test at the hospital showed what was NOT wrong with me- a process of elimination that allowed items to be crossed off a list of possible causes for my issues. The acupuncturist seemed to be really listening to my description of how I felt, listening to my body, and proactively beginning treatment there. Both methods can be effective, but I found the differences in perspective intriguing.
Overall, it was a pleasant, relaxing, and effective appointment. Are my symptoms gone? No. Do I feel better? Yes. I have tender spots where she worked on tricky muscles. I’ve got relaxation patches all over me, which make me smell like I work with the old guy in the herb shop (Cholula likes it). She mentioned things to address that the doctors didn’t. I’ve got more appointments lined up to continue where we left off today, which will hopefully augment what the doctors come up with when I see more of them this week.
I can’t believe I’m saying this…but my date with 50 needles was a good thing. Another lesson in being open to positive things in life!
I’m curious- What are your experiences with alternative medicine?
*Needley guy from Hellraiser image from Google images. I literally searched “Scary Needle Face Guy.”