My Adventures In Becoming A Stick Pin Cushion
What the hell was I thinking. Acupuncture? It wasn’t scary at first. I made the appointment, talked to the partitioner, Lisa, about what I was there for, and was given a tour of the facilities it wasn’t bad at all, but as I sat in the reclining chair and saw her pull out the needles I freaked. Needles, my arch nemesis we meet again. Seriously, why do I do this to myself? Why would someone who blacks out just thinking about needles actually volunteer to turn myself into a life-sized Voodoo doll. Idiot.
Lisa could sense the tension and reassured me that if any hurt that we would take them out; comfort was more important than that needle. She applied them to my legs with no pain, moved onto my hands with a few pricks, but no pain and then moved up a little further to my head. Crap. She stopped and asked if I was okay to put a few in my head. At this point I realized that I was already covered in needles, why not go for broke and have some Pinhead action going on. It didn’t hurt.
I sat in the chair barely able to move my arms or legs (Lisa said this would happen) and drifted off into a meditative state. My mind, which is usually tripping over itself with thoughts stopped and I could focus, clearly on one train of thought at a time. Than I passed out. It was hands down the best sleep I have ever had, needles and all.
When Lisa came back to take out the needles my hands felt a bit numb. Sort of like when your arm falls asleep and the blood starts to flow again. It was amazing. Originally I talked to her about a couple of car accidents I had years ago and some of the stiffness I had from it. The pain was now gone. She recommended that I come back weekly for a while until I only needed to come as needed in when I felt sore or in pain. Since my first appointment I have gone back twice and the pain is significantly less. I also talked to her about stress, low energy levels, trouble sleeping, and depression. After the acupuncture I never had so much energy and felt great. The last time I went she put in ear seeds that I could gently press when I felt high levels of anxiety. What surprised me about them was how well they helped me to sleep. My tossing and turning was apparently a manifestation of my anxiety and when I was press on the ear seeds I could go back to sleep.
Even though I really did enjoy my experiences there are some suggestions that I would give if you were looking to try out acupuncture.
How to choose an Acupuncturist:
1. Expense: It can be expensive. I’ve seen prices in the $75-$100 an hour range and considering my session go 1-2 hours that was out of my price range. I went the route of community acupuncture (Grassroots Acupuncture in Seattle, WA) which works on a sliding scale of $15-30 flat rate. The differences between the two are great. In a private setting you get your own room where as in a community setting there are several chairs set up in a room where multiple people are getting treated. It is really about what you are comfortable with.
2. Get to know the acupuncturist: The laws vary on what credentials a person needs to be an acupuncturist and just like any doctor you need to trust them. Talk to them. Get to know how long they have been in practice. Here is a brief article about what credentials to look for.
3. Remember everyone is different: In the three session that I had I saw two different people. One who I loved and another who wasn’t for me. This person hurt a bit more when the needles were put in and didn’t walk through the room to see if anyone needed needles to be taken out. It wasn’t the this person wasn’t good it was that he was different.
4. Ask around: Talk to people who have gone and got treatments. Who do they recommend? Which places to go? Why did they like or dislike a place?
Have you ever gotten acupuncture? What was your experience like? Or have you ever faced a big fear?