Have You Ever Tried Acupuncture?

I try to go to the doctor once a year for a checkup. Currently I’m a few months overdue, but I have a reason: I’m waiting until I have enough ailments to justify an appointment. I figure that 10 ailments is the right number, and I’m currently at 6 (knee, cold fingers, neck, cholesterol, migraines, etc), so I’ve still got time.

However, a few friends (a couple and their kid) have been in town over the last few days, and one of them is an acupuncture specialist. When I mentioned my cold fingers to her, she offered to give me an acupuncture treatment, and I thought, “This will give me a blog entry for tonight!”

So, literally just 30 minutes ago I completed my first acupuncture treatment. The first 45 minutes consisted of very thin needles being inserted into my body while we talked about my ailments and lifestyle. I couldn’t feel most of the needles–in fact, I didn’t even know she had started using the needles until she told me there were 5 already in my body. Also, I was fully clothed. For some reason I thought I’d need to take off my shirt or something, but it wasn’t necessary.

The next 45 minutes where spent with the acupuncturist placing her hands on my body (neck, head, face, abdomen) while I relaxed. The needles were still in during this time. I should say that I tried to relax, because I could feel tiny spasms in my neck, and I really didn’t want them to turn into a full spasm, which I found to be incredibly painful when it happened to me a few years ago.

Oh, and I never looked at the needles. I didn’t mind having them in me, but I also didn’t want to think about it.

Afterward, she gave me a few breathing exercises, some articles to read, and instructions to get extra sleep tonight. Sounds good to me!

Have you ever tried acupuncture? What was your experience with it?


6 Responses to “Have You Ever Tried Acupuncture?”

  1. tmac80 says:

    Hey Jaam–I’ve had one experience with acupuncture. During junior year of college I was slated to take a lovely young lady to something of a debutante ball–junior ring dance–a ball at the Jefferson Hotel (fancy hotel in Richmond, VA, for those who don’t know). Part of the event is that the ladies all bring their fathers as well. It just so happens that a few days before the event I suffered a pretty bad foot & ankle injury. The on-campus nursing staff checked for pregnancy as they always did (kidding, but the women always said this happened no matter what ailment you came in with), then sent me on my way with an ace bandage and some crutches. I could barely move around and I was in a lot of pain. It turns out that my date’s father was an acupuncturist. He offered to perform acupuncture on my foot and ankle, and I had a similar experience to the one you mentioned in this post–I hardly felt the needles. His intent wasn’t to miraculously heal me. Rather, it was to manage the pain. I’m not certain of the impact because I have no comparative point, but I did go to the ball, I did hop around on my crutches and have a good time, and I did fall down a flight of stairs of the grand staircase (crutches and those slippery tuxedo shoes are not a good match)! Luckily, despite one crutch being sent flying, I somehow landed standing up and only injured my armpit. Overall, I’d try acupuncture again.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I’m sorry, Trev, but I laughed out loud at the part about you falling down a flight of stairs (but only because I know you’d be okay!).

  2. I go a few times a year for a couple of issues that flare up that don’t really have good medical solutions. One is plantar fasciitis. I had one particularly memorable session: the practioner didn’t really say anything about why he was putting needles where he was, but while I was hanging out with the needles in me I got a pretty intense pulsing sensation in my problem area and at a needle in a seemingly unrelated place. Sure enough that seemingly unrelated needle has some direct connection to my problem area in Chinese medicine. When I told the practitioner about my experience, his face lit up.

    I think most people don’t experience it as intensely as I often do. I’ve had several other sessions with distinct physical sensations. Never unpleasant, sometimes awe-inspiring.

    The other issue I’ve had good luck with is insomnia — as day length changes I often have trouble sleeping, and one session of acupuncture will somehow reset things. I don’t care if it’s psychosomatic, because it works for me and that’s enough. But my physical experience implies that there might be something going on that western medicine doesn’t understand yet.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth! That’s interesting that one needle triggered a sensation in a seemingly unrelated needle.

  3. Wow! You’re brave! Never tried it and never want to. I hate things puncturing my body.

  4. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:

    Jamey,

    I’ve never tried despite acupuncture, despite its 2,00 year pedigree. I would say, however, as you’re an otherwise fit guy in his 30s, don’t rack up ten items before you see your doc 🙂 Anyway, I experience the cold fingers as well and it’s not due to anemia so my doc is annually confounded by my condition.

    Cheers,
    Joe

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