My First Experience with Acupuncture

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I have always been a big believer in alternative medicine. My mom is an herbalist and my dad is a homeopathic physician, so it runs in the family. While I’m not opposed to using Western medicine as a treatment for certain illnesses, I feel that it’s important to try less harmful and less invasive methods first. I live in a somewhat rural area, and up until recently, I had not had the opportunity to try acupuncture. 

I have always wanted to though, so when one of my coworkers told me that there was a new place in town that offered acupuncture in conjunction with a massage, I couldn’t wait to go! I called and made an appointment right away at acupuncture clinic in Manhattan, NYC.

Walking through the doors felt more like walking into a day spa than a medical office. The lobby was comfortable and welcoming, and the receptionist was super nice when I checked in. I waited only a few moments before my acupuncturist came out and introduced herself. 

I was given a patient history form to fill out, pretty much just like any other doctor’s office would give you. Once I completed the form, my acupuncturist took me to a treatment room in the back and asked me a bunch of personal questions about my sleep habits, diet, digestion, bowel movements, and menstrual cycle. I was more than a little surprised when she asked to see my tongue! Finally, she took my blood pressure.

She asked me if I had any special concerns and what I was hoping to get from the appointment. I told her that I had been really stressed at work lately, and I was just hoping to relax and enjoy the treatment. She nodded and smiled, saying I had come to the right place. 

She told me that she was going to leave so that I could undress and get comfortable on the massage table.

That gave me a chance to take a good look around the room. 

It was your typical treatment room with a massage table in the middle and a small desk, sink and counter, and two chairs. The lighting was soft and there was relaxing music playing. There were also a few candles burning and the room smelled wonderful. I undressed and lay face down on the table, covering myself with a soft sheet. Thankfully, the room was nice and warm!

Moments later there was a soft knock on the door and my massage therapist walked in. I received the most amazing 30- minute massage I have ever had in my life! All too soon, my acupuncturist was back and I started to get a little nervous thinking about getting stuck with all those needles. I watched her open the disposable needles and was relieved to see that they were sterile and very thin, as thin as a hair, actually. I started to relax again and was ready to get on with the treatment.

She asked if I had any problem areas I wanted her to focus on. I explained that I’m at a computer all day and my neck and shoulders always hurt. I also told her that I’d been having a lot of breakouts lately and I was wondering if the treatment could help with that. She assured me that the treatment could address both issues, and then she jumped right in.

She started out on my upper back by wiping down certain areas with alcohol on a cotton pad. I felt a light tap on my back followed by a tiny prick. It was gone in an instant, and I couldn’t believe how painless it was. She continued with the same procedure, working her way across my shoulders and down my back. There were some areas that were a little more sensitive, and I felt a quick pinch as she put the needle in. It still lasted only a moment and it really wasn’t bad at all!

As she worked, she explained to me that acupuncture and Chinese medicine are based on the theory that the body has streams of energy that flow through it, called Qi. According to her, if there is a blockage of that energy, pain or illness can be the result. Placing the acupuncture needles at specific points on the body restores the proper flow of Qi. She also said that the treatment would bring blood to the surface of my skin, making it glow! I was pretty excited about that!

Finally, she was done and left the room for about 15 minutes. I was super relaxed and even dozed off for a moment or two. I could feel the needles, but I was not in any kind of pain at all. When she came back, she removed the needles and asked me to turn over onto my back. 

She explained that she was going to be placing some of the needles in my face now, to address my acne. What? Needles in my face? I wasn’t sure about that, but I held my breath and let her go for it. The first one went right between my eyebrows, and surprising it didn’t hurt any more than the ones on my back did. When she was finished, she left again.

When she came back to remove the needles, she explained that she wanted me to drink only warm liquids and eat only warm foods for 24 hours. I was surprised, but I figured I wanted to get everything out of the treatment that I could, so I agreed. She explained my treatment plan and told me she wanted to see me once a week for the next 8 weeks. She explained that it would take that long to see lasting results.

As I left, I paid up and made my next appointment, feeling all sorts of floaty and relaxed on my way out. When I got in the car, I looked at my skin and saw that it was indeed glowing after just one treatment! The tension in my neck and shoulders was almost gone, too! I was sold and I plan to follow up with the recommended treatments over the next 8 weeks. I figure I’m worth the investment!

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