Friday, June 06, 2008

I'm now officially a pincushion

Tuesday I had my first ever acupuncture treatment. My doctor is a certified acupuncturist and has been wanting to practice on me since last year. I finally agreed. It was definitely an interesting experience. I'm not a stranger to so-called "energy therapies". I've had some success with acupressure and acupuncture is sort of the same thing. Western medicine claims they don't know why it works, they just know it does. Traditional Chinese Medicine claims it is all about "energy" and meridian points and what not. Anyway you slice it though, sticking a ton of tiny needles in your body... by choice... is just strange.

My visit went a little something like this...

Dr: When I saw I had an acupuncture appointment today, I was excited. When I saw it was you, I was very surprised.

Me: So was I.

Dr: I have to have you sign this form that states that you understand we don't know why acupuncture works, you can bleed and/or bruise and get lightheaded and faint. You may feel really tired afterwards and feel achy where the needles were inserted.

Me: So long as you don't make me puke, we can still be friends.

Dr: I use very thin needles, sterile and single use, and they do not tear muscle or nerve tissue like an injection needle does.

Me: Wait. Muscle? What do you mean they don't tear muscle? You're going to poke my muscles??

Dr: Well, yes. They go into your muscles and nerves.

Me: *blink, blink*

Dr: Ok, small pinch. *pokes first needle in my foot*

Me: Ouch.

Dr: Another small pinch *inserts second needle in opposite foot*

Me: Small p... what the frick? Small pinch? Are you mad, woman?!

Dr: Don't move. If you move, it will hurt. *inserts more needles*

Me: Frick!!! Oh.My.God. FRICK!!

Dr: I told you not to move!

Me: Yeah, it's sort of an automatic reaction to jerk when you're, you know, poked with something sharp.

Dr: Try to relax.

Me: Relax??? With 10 needles in me? How the heck?!

Dr: You'll see.

Me: Yeah... u-huh...

Mom: *laughing in the corner*

Dr: Ok, two more to go... well, actually three more. I'm going to put one in your head.

Me: In my head? This was not part of our original deal!

Dr: Yes. That one is to make you relax.

Me: Ooooh no.

Dr: No?

Me: My HEAD?? What if I jerk my neck and it goes into my brain?

Dr: It's my favorite point. During a stressful day in the hospital, I walk around with a needle sticking out of the top of my head. It really works.

Me: *stunned silence at this crazy woman assaulting me with needles*

Dr: *pokes the top of my head*

Me: Oh. Well, I hardly felt that.

Dr: See? Now relax and I'll be back in 10 minutes. Don't move.

Me: Relax. Right.

A couple minutes pass... mom and I joke about photographing the 13 needles now protruding from my body. I'm nervous as heck because I can't move. Then all of a sudden... aaaaaah. It's like total calm. If my eyes would have stayed closed and someone wasn't banging on something in another room, I could have fallen asleep.

People. I was totally relaxed. At the dr's office. I've NEVER been even remotely relaxed at a doctor's office before. It was wild. Then several minutes later I did indeed get light-headed so we stopped the treatment a couple minutes early.

It was by far one of the most bizarre things ever. I did not expect the light-headedness. Even though she warned me and I read the paper or whatever, I figured it would happen at the beginning, not at the end. Apparently it can relax you enough to drop your blood pressure some. According to her and what I read online, it usually only happens during a person's first treatment. I go back in two weeks.

I had at least 13 needles in me. They were in my feet, on both sides of my knees, my arms, wrists and the top of my head. Not all the needles hurt. Most of them just felt like a "little pinch". A few though really did hurt, and it was interesting to note that all but one of the ones that hurt bad were on my right side. The one that hurt on my left side was probably only because I jerked my finger. Can you say OUCH?! Don't jerk your finger, people. It's not good.

Painful. Bizarre. But to be totally honest, I think I want a needle permanently poked into the top of my head.


Stacy said...

I'm glad you went through with it :) The relaxation is interesting- I got a massage for a Christmas gift, and through the whole thing I wasn't able to totally relax. Something about being on the table nekkid.

The Rock Chick said...

wow! I've so wanted to try that! I'm glad to hear that it worked for you and that you're actually going back to do it again!

Did you bruise from it?

Heidi @ GGIP said...

I feel like saying Congratulations!

I'm not sure I would have the nerve to do that.:)

Dustin said...

Brings a whole new dimension to the whole feeling of "pins and needles" in your hands and feet...

And lets face it...most people who want to jam a sharp object through the top of your head are NOT trying to help you...but...if it works, it works!

Kim said...

Congrats on your first acupuncture treatment! Sounds like it was quite heavenly ... ya know ... except for the needles part =) Glad it helped you relax!!

Bethany said...

WOW - what an experience!!!

Crystal said...

Thankfully I was fully clothed (except for my feet. Them were nekkid.)

I bruised in one location... the one on the left side that hurt so bad when I jerked my finger. I'm shocked that is the only bruise since I always bruise so easily.

brandy said...

Ask her to place the head point first next time and maybe leave it for a few minutes before placing the rest.

I've walked around on busy days with a needle in my head at work too.

I love acupuncture. Ask her if she does electric acupuncture. THAT'S FUN STUFF!!