Does acupuncture work? I'm not sure. In a way it too similar to the metaphysical 'medicine' that I believe is more psychosomatic than anything else. However it isn't just a simple laying of hands, there is something physically happening to you.
I had two people recently recommend acupuncture to me. First, my chiropractor really thought it would help, and second my gynecologist said that it had been successful in treating infertility. With a name in hand, I called and scheduled an appointment for Saturday. I was a little leery, but having tiny needles stuck in me couldn't hurt more than the pain I normally experienced when my back was flaring up, so I wasn't terribly nervous.
I was welcomed into a beautiful, spacious and new building. The entry is a store (capitalism is alive and well), filled with organic, all natural merchandise including the sheets that they use, which are actually made from recycled glass. They are insanely soft, just for the record.
I was taken upstairs and offered some tea, or water. The tea was okay, the water, which had orange slices floating in it, was superb. I was given a couple of sheets of paperwork and introduced to my acupuncturist. We'll call her Deena. Deena is tall and beautiful with long curly hair and an infectious smile. She is really open and made me feel comfortable immediately. She showed me into her room, which is small but beautifully decorated and comfortable. It immediately made me want to take a nap actually. I was looking forward to laying down on the table, forgetting for a moment that there would be needles stuck in me when that happened.
Something I either didn't expect, or had forgotten about was that they talk to you for 40 minutes before they even needle you. 40 minutes about...me. Oh well, she explained what acupuncture was, and what it did as well. She discussed my past, my present, my future, my bowel movements and periods. It was pretty...in depth.
After our conversation I was asked to take my pants off, cover my lower half with a sheet and lay on that comfy table. After a moment she came back in and the whole needling thing starts. She first explains where she going to put each needle, having me inhale and exhale slowly before doing so. The first goes in my breast bone, the second two near my hip bones, next my thighs and my ankles. Then, she leaves me for two minutes after giving me a blanket.
The first question people always ask is 'does it hurt?' The answer is yes, and no. I didn't feel the majority of the needles going in, or coming out. In fact, there were only two that hurt, and I use the word hurt because of the lack of a less 'painful' word in our language. My left thigh made me jump and my wrist. I wonder still if those hurt because of 'excess energy' as she said, or because the needle went a little deeper. After she came back after 20 minutes, she needed my wrists quickly (just in an out). I didn't feel the right one, but the left one hurt and left this little red pin prick where the needle was. This is why I wonder if the pain really is just the needle going a titsch deeper than it is supposed to, not 'energy.' I joked with my husband that the 'energy' that was being moved was my blood.
When she left me alone for 20 minutes I was left with the instructions to give names to all the nasty stuff that was theoretically leaving my body. My left foot did do some tingling during all this. I imagined all the hatred, bitterness, pain, medication, mental illness, fear and sadness leaving my body. All the toxins of regret and jealousy gone. Visualization can be good for you. So the visualization took about 5 minutes, followed by boredom followed by umm....snore. Yeah, I fell asleep. I generally do if given more than 15 minutes. When she came in I was feeling sad, and wary. Just tired and wary. I was woozy when I sat up, even after taking my time. Apparently two bites of a muffin 4 hours before wasn't enough food.
Deena and I spoke a bit during the entire procedure, her asking how I felt and explaining what was going on. I think she did an excellent job explaining the philosophy behind 5 point acupuncture and she put me at ease through the entire process.
So will it work? I don't know. The onslaught of depression has once again dimmed my doorstep as I swing from the manic, angry side of things to the sad depressed side. I had a week of normal in between, which I'm grateful for. Now...what to do. Do I try the drugs my doctor gave me, or do I keep trying acupuncture and find a therapist? That is a post for another day.
If you have any questions--feel free to ask below. If you've had acupuncture done, how did your experience differ from mine? Was similar?