Acu_woman_smiling_dreamstime_4554584_2See that lady right there? Just naked and smiling as Thing inserts a tiny acupuncture needle into her back? Just so you know, in case you ever actually go have an acupuncture treatment, my experience was NOTHING like this. I’d post a picture of what I looked like this morning, except that I have dignity. But suffice it to say that I didn’t remove my sweats or my sweatshirt or anything beyond my shoes and socks. And the dude didn’t touch my back at all. Also, I am pretty sure that he had a staple gun and that was how he inserted the needles. But more on that in a minute.

First of all, one thing I’ve heard about acupuncture is this: The needles are so small, you can’t even feel them! Um, yeah. You can. That’s kind of the point. You’re stimulating different parts of your body to open up channels for energy and whatnot, and I don’t totally understand it and maybe it sounds like hooey, but I do not want someone to slice into my vertebral column just yet so I’m going to try some treatment that has been used for thousands of years before we get to that, mmkay?

Basically, the acupuncture practitioner told me what to expect, and how it works (on an elementary level, because I’m dumb and whatnot), and then these three supplements he’d recommend that I take while I’m pursuing this course of treatment.

He sent me home with Boswellia Complex for inflammation, Gotu Kola Complex for soft tissue healing, and Circulation (SJ) for “the sharp pain.” When he said those words and explained that I’d be taking 4-6 pills three times a day, I didn’t flinch. I was ready to down a whole vial of those puppies, if they’d alleviate the “sharp” pain. That’s the *worst.* However, he said, “That might sound like a lot of pills,” (which it didn’t, since I’ve been taking 6 Aleve and 6 ibuprofen per day, as well as the occasional allergy med) “but it’s herbs, so if you think of rosemary… how much of that would you have to eat before your body responded?”

Next, he invited me to take off my shoes and socks and lie down on my back. I was able to do with easily, mentally noting that I need to buy a hard chiropractic/acupuncture table to sleep on at night. There was a firm wedge pillow under my lower legs, too. I laid there for nearly an hour before my body started begging me to move.

The practitioner pushed up my sleeves and the bottoms of my sweats a bit (would have shaved if I’d thought of that… whoopsie) and said that he was trying to open up the energy in the complementary meridians to my back, where the pain is. By stimulating this channel to “open,” the body starts healing itself. Or something like that.

He warned me that it would be like a “dull ache,” and I assured him that I’d just had a tattoo touched up on Saturday, on top of my finger, just so he’d know I am pretty bad-ass.

Well, I still have to say “ow.” The needle insertion didn’t hurt as much as the tattoo, but they were certainly more than slightly uncomfortable. He put needles into my right hand, my left arm at the elbow crease and in that area, my right foot, my left ankle, and he put three on top of my head! What does it say that I felt the skull needles least?

After he’d put those in, he talked to me a bit before leaving the room. He mentioned that I should feel the “dull ache” and not a sharpness or itching. But the one needle inside of my left elbow was pretty itchy. He said he might have pierced a vessel through which some blood escaped, creating a “histamine” reaction. He took out the original needle and put another one in, and then left me to relax.

Twenty minutes later, he came back and asked me if I could still feel the needles. I could really only feel the one in my left elbow crease, so he “stimulated” them all again. My body had stopped paying attention, but it took notice again quickly! Yikes! I said, “I didn’t but I do feel them when you do that!”

He said, “You’re supposed to feel it. That’s how we get these passages to open up.”

By the time that my hour was up, I was starting to get fidgety and my tail was getting exhausted. It wasn’t pain exactly, but I needed to move. Also, at one point, my left leg felt weirdly empty.

When he came back and took out the needles, he massaged my arms quickly, and both of my wrists popped, which I don’t know that they’ve ever done before.

I felt no different when I left, but I scheduled 10 sessions because I want to attack this thing aggressively. I need to be FINISHED with my pain before my Haiti trip. I need to be finished with this *now*. I’ll keep you updated.

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