Thursday, March 19, 2009

2,000 year old Chinese medicine can't be completely wrong

I mentioned in my post about my back that I was considered acupuncture treatments as an alternative option to seeing a chiropractor. What I didn't mention was that I had made an acupuncture appointment for Tuesday before learning on Monday that the chiropractor would see me as a new patient same day - unheard of! To cancel was to charge me the fee of the service so I said, "why not? I'm not going on vacation after all" and I kept the appointment.

Like chiropracting, acupuncture is another treatment I was skeptical of because they also don't believe in "Western medicine." How can turning me into a human pin cushion possibly cure me of all my ailments though? On the other hand, I have two coworkers that swear by it, one says it helped her quit smoking, another said it cured him of migraines. So to the Still Point I went to see Robin the acupuncturist.

Since this was my first visit to an acupuncturist ever, most of the appointment time was spent drinking rose hip tea and discussing my work life, personal life, diet, exercise routine, my mood, my stress level and other various tales of my body's inner workings. "I want to know the things your doctor would brush aside," Robin told me. I suppose we had to open up the mind and soul before we could cleanse the toxins from my body.

After discussing me for about an hour or so, Robin had me lay down on a table on my back where she felt my pulse not just on one area on my wrist, but six, telling me she could tap into six different organ systems just by moving her fingers around on my wrist. She informed me that going by how the "pulse" of my kidney system felt, she understood why I had a stone. Surprise, I have stress. She felt my feet and legs, looking for more "negative pulses and heat energy."

Then came the needles. This was the most interesting. Since the pain was in my back, Robin had me flip over on my stomach and she felt and counted each of my vertebrates. Instead of placing the two inch long, hair-thin needles all over my upper back where the pain was concentrated - as I thought she would do - she instead stuck the needles on both sides of my spine all the way down. Or at least I think that's what she did...

The weird thing about them is you don't feel them going in unless you have a spot of "negative chi" and so sometimes I would feel a slight pinch, and other times I would think she wasn't doing anything at all. Mostly, I was carrying a lot of negative chi.

She left me to rest for 15 minutes and when she came back, she commented that I was "clearing up very nicely." When I inquired, she explained that when the needle strikes a spot of negative chi, a small read circle will form around the puncture and as the negative chi is dispersed, the circle will fade. Yeah okay, like having my skin cells react to a foreign object piercing it is out of the question.

Just as I was starting to wonder if this was really worth it, Robin announced I was done and took the needles out. Much to my astonishment, I did feel better. The soreness left over from the day before that the chiropractor wasn't able to fix was gone. Only my neck was stiff from having my head in the face holder for so long. Robin was pleased to hear that I was feeling better but concerned with my high stress levels. She asked me to come back every week for four months for treatment. Thank you, but nice try.

Not to worry dear friends, this is not the beginning of a trend when I start growing my hair down to my waist, wearing long skirts, giving up meat and decorating everything with daisies. It's just my curiosity for finding relief from back pain, and besides, 2,000 year old Chinese medicine can't be completely wrong.


Jess said...

You're brave. The thought of having needles stuck all over me would have made me pass out

Lauren Effron said...

Hahah that's what Tad said too... but you really don't feel them at all unless you have "negative chi" in a certain spot then it just feel like the world's fastest, smallest mosquito bite - you're aware of it, but it doesn't really hurt. My dad was so intrigued he wants me to find out if acupuncture can cure high cholesterol haha.