Monday, February 07, 2005

Acupuncture Session 1

I have started Acupuncture therapy. It will be my first time. I have paid for 5 sessions. After that I will get an examination to check the progress. So I thought this would be a great time to blog diary the 5 sessions and maybe account for if the stuff really works, doesn't work or what effect it has on me.

I have been getting some pains lately in the neck and shoulder. They may stem from worsening of some of my many uncurable medical conditions that I do not want to get into right now. But anyways, I felt maybe now is time to call on "Alternative Medicine" for help. I found an acupuncture school off Google that was local and had a clinic. Reason being, I wanted to try acupuncture but not necessarilly pay full acupuncture prices. I tried reading about acupuncture on the net and felt it could help my conditions. I made an appointment but was really scared about the needles. I mean as much as people are gonna say it don't hurt but with a mild sting - it is hard to get over the feeling that someone is gonna stick multiple needles in your body.

I met up with my intern doctor in a little office. He is originally a pharmacist from Taiwan. Let me say he spoke English well but found it hard to explain some things so I will try to describe what I think he meant. We talked about what my problem was and my medical history. And he said he thought acupuncture can help. I believe the goal of Acupuncture therapy is to stimulate neurons and promote the body's self-healing system, at least that's the message I get from the intern. He took my blood pressure, pulse and looked at my tongue. The pulse was done on both of my hands, but you'd think all he needed was one. And I asked what can be seen from the tongue. Because to me they would look all the same. He said he noticed a dampness to my tongue and a purple color and teeth bites that indicated pain of some sort. When he mentioned "teeth marks", I thought man, there must be something to acupuncture. He was dead on to something. Because I always bite my tongue. Especially when I sleep on my side and my tongue hangs down between my teeth. I was under the impression from him that I bit my tongue because of underlying pain within me, but I thought I did it because of a slight overbite? He said that my tongue corroborated the dampness that he also felt in my pulse. He then asked if my urine was yellow or clear. I said yellow. Is it supposed to be yellow? I ask what can be seen in the urine? Of course, the answer he sayd is "dampness". I asked what is dampness? Why is it bad? He tried to use the analogy of a jungle with many damp leaves, that pile and pile and being compressed through time creates fossil fuels. The damper the leaf, the more it will lead to fuel. Bottom line, that I get is, there is hotness (unwellness) within dampness.

After the examination, I am led to a treatment room. My intern doctor tells me he is going to confer with the lead doctor and have her supervise treatment. So I am told to take off my shirt and jeans and I wait. Of course I take off my shoes and looking at the diagram of the human body's acupuncture points - it looks like my feet could be involved so I take off my socks too. Hey, maybe in Acupuncture the foot controls the pain in the neck? After waiting a while, the intern doctor and the supervising doctor come in. The Super finishes asking me a few more questions. She has been a doctor in China for about 8 years and 6 years in the U.S. Lying down wasn't good for me so I sat in a regular wooden chair. I get a towel for my lap. The therapy begins with a swab of alcohol to the neck, then the intern guy would feel around the area he's gonna inject with his finger while he was talking to me. I think he was trying to sike me out. Then all of a sudden, he flicks the back of the needle in me (I'm guessing that's how he does it). It kinda feels like someone flicks their finger hard against you, smacking you with the fingernail... a quick sting. Kinda slow process, because the same routine, swabbing, feeling around, etc. occurs before each puncture. All in all, I get 6 needles down my neck and spine, 1 on each shoulder (2), then 4 (2 on each leg) below my knee on the outer side and above the knee on my inner side. The needles didn't hurt at all. It is mostly fear that bothered me. They say I need to leave them there for 20 - 30 minutes. They turn a heat lamp on my neck and they leave me and I wait, I stare at the walls, look at the diagram on the wall with the pressure points. I notice there is a pressure point behind the bozacks. Kinda scared about that one. My arms hurt resting on the wooden arm rests and I fidget a little until I see needles on my knees vibrating from my motion. Between the exam and the therapy time, the school is closing so I feel I only waited a quick 20 minutes before the Super comes back in. She pulls out all the needles in like 3 seconds. Yikes. She has a bottle of rose oil for my backside. Strong ass smelling stuff. She doesn't just massage and work it into my shoulders like you'd guess - no, more like splat the oil on and smear it in real quick and its bye bye. I remark how it smells like roses and citrus and shes like "nope, think again". She holds the bottle to my nose and I say "Ah, licorice?". She laughs, in a wrong, "it is made of stuff you never heard of" way. She left & I got my clothes on.

I was feeling good when I left the clinic. Uplifted and full or energy for whatever reason, maybe it was the pungant rose oil smell that intoxicated me and followed me wherever I went. About an hour or two later, my back was kinda stinging like I was beat up. I was tired and napped with my kids. Later on through the evening I really felt tired, sore, slow and sluggish. I crashed to bed early at 10:00pm. But I wasn't sleepy and laid down all achey. I thought about the acupuncture therapy I endured through the day. Tossed and turned for an hour before I finally fell asleep. I concluded that the acupuncture gave my body a physical workout without the workout. I really began to feel that acupuncture really did do something to my body. Those seemingly random placed needles actually activated something in my body. I mean I was tired, sore and sweaty all through the night. But maybe I am normally sweaty. When I woke up the next day, I did not want to get up. I was wondering how I was gonna make it through the day. I can't get up, bend down, I can barely carry my kids out of their cribs. Taking aspirin is what I normally would do but I think it would be counterproductive to my acupuncture therapy. I instead got up with my kids and wondered if I would have to call Nich at work to help me out. But as I suspected I felt a little better as the morning rolled on.

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