July 03, 2008

Needles and Pins

Just when I thought I'd already tried everything...

I've been wanting to try acupuncture for a few months now. Western medicine has done little to alleviate my chronic pain, and although my trips to a naturopathic doctor cost a lot of money for a whole lot of nothing, acupuncture is something that has helped my friends cure their insomnia and even fertility issues. So although my issues are very different, it seemed worth getting stuck with some pins to see what would happen.

I honestly expected very little. I figured I would feel the prick of needles, maybe unpleasant, maybe nothing.

Instead, I got a needle stuck in the middle of the top of my head, and suddenly a huge head rush. I got a needle stuck in each hand between my thumb and forefinger, and at first nothing - then, after a slight adjustment, a huge rush of heat throughout my entire hand and then throbbing.

As my acupuncturist worked her way down to my shoulders and upper back (which were really hurting after urban rebounding this week), I didn't feel much, but then she got to my legs. Wow-ee. Apparently somewhere near the back of the knee is the "female spot" that they activate to help PMS and that sort of thing, and I felt surprising waves of...movement down my legs. One more spot on each leg produced lots of movement up my legs.

The only way I can really describe it is like the feeling I had when I was put on an IV before getting my tonsils out. I could feel the cold liquid moving up my arm, out of my control, out of my normal experience, weird and unpleasant but not painful, somehow supposedly good for me. Only this time there was nothing in the needles - they were simply tapping into something that was already within my own body, and then released, like if you could feel your veins breaking and spilling to create a bloody bruise under your skin surface.

Once you're all set up with the needles (she had to take the one out of my head or I was going to pass out), they leave you in the room for a while to sit alone with the strange sensations. I could feel something happening in my forearm even though there were no needles in my arms. I felt pain in my chest as I was lying face down on the table, motionless on the outside but constantly moving on the inside. Whooshes up and down my legs.

Still nothing in my back, but that's probably because I'm very "blocked" in that area, and it'll take a while for the needles to unblock it.

After about 25 minutes, just in time for the orchestral ocean sounds CD to start skipping in the player, my body finally settled down and the acupuncturist came back in to remove the needles. I thought maybe she would tap into some emotional chakra that would bring on a deluge of tears, but I only cried a little right at the beginning, partially because of the strangeness, partially because of being alone in a dark room. Instead I was just incredibly lightheaded and disoriented, having to sit to collect myself for a while, and when I finally left, I got really confused between Second and Third Avenue. I'm not sure how I made it home in one piece.

Right after, the pain was definitely a little better, but I got really exhausted as the afternoon wore on and had to take a nap. The acupuncturist said I would probably get worse sometime today and then get better, and that I should sleep really well tonight.

That seems worth $90.

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