Wednesday, July 30, 2008

pins & needles

I tried acupuncture for the first time yesterday. It was & wasn't what I expected.

I had been meaning to try it since 2006 when I had some people recommend it to help with my lower back problems & finally got around to asking my chiropractor if he could recommend anyone when visit after visit with him hadn't produced any lasting effects. Why it took me 2 years to finally get around to going is beyond me...but then again, so much of what I do/don't do is beyond me too.

I was, however, reading about some studies that had been done to treat mono with acupuncture. Apparently it had produced some fairly good results (atleast in the case of this study), so I was reminded that I'd been meaning to try this and on one particular day or feeling particularly shitty, I called to make an appointment at the one place my chiropractor had given me the name of.

And so the appointment day was yesterday & I went in, not knowing much of what to expect other than thin, tiny needles. I laid face down on a massage-like table & she put pins in me in various of the head, base of the skull, upper spin, mid spine, lower spine, across the expanse of the lower back, around my knees & ankles, and even on one hand. Some of the points I could feel as pressed to find just the right spot to stick me. The areas, before the needles, were tender, like little bruises I didn't know were there. The needles themself didn't hurt although I could feel some more than others.

She was hitting spots for my immune system (to help w/ the mono, the fatigue, the sleep problems & digestive issues), as well as for my lower back pain as well. The specific spots met up with things like the gall bladder, liver & spleen, all of which I'd heard other practioners talk about showing signs of distress given my complaints & conditions. So atleast I knew she was operating under the same understandings & I had some consensus going with my alternative treatments.

I laid with the needles all along the back side of me for 45 minutes, floating in & out of relaxation with some ocean sounds playing in the background. All in all, she used about 40 needles. She didn't want to tell me, but I counted as she removed them. She said I should notice some improvment (in energy level especially) after one treatment, but that I would need several to get everything running smoothly again. I figured, even if I can just get a good night sleep or a good bowel movement or feel less depressed it will be worth the $70 & the 45 minutes.

So that was mid-day, and throughout the afternoon back at work I began to notice that my lower back wasn't being as troublesome as it normally is. I didn't need 1-2 minutes of trying to straighten up when getting up from my chair. Could it be? Didn't want to jinx it by even thinking such a thing. I had already decided that after work I would take a little heavier than normal walk in the neighborhood (these lbs that are creeping on are creeping me out & this "resting" is doing me NO good after 6 weeks, so onto plan B, I say). I took my dog (minus the flower from the other day) and we did a semi-power-walk for about 20 minutes & it was awesome...the sun, the sweat, the music in my ears, the cute houses in my neighborhood. I was loving every minute of it and was so glad I did it.

I was a bit tired-feeling the rest of the night, but no more so than any other lazy night of rest, so this was fine. Once in bed I tossed a bit to get to sleep (and mind you, my lower back was bothering me as usual), but I don't remember anything else from the night until about 5:00 when I was awoken by my fat, starvin cat. I put him off, made a trip to the bathroom which indicated I had not been up previously in the night to do so, and laid back down to dose just a bit more. I recalled some dreams I'd had...notably a tall, blonde Swedish hunk wooing me, and realized I probably slept through most, if not all, of the night. Could it be?!?

Now I'm not saying it's because of the actupunture, and I'm not saying it's not because of it either. Could be the placebo effect. Could be the power of suggestion. Could be that I did something else different that day. All I know is that if yesterday is any indication of how things can be, then I'm so very hopeful that my days can be collectively good again. I'm not there yet, but I definitely have a newer hope thanks to this new treatment.

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