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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

charming things: just a little prick

When we decided to enter the "Whee! Let's try and have a baby!" mode I jumped in with both feet. I started looking at Eastern medicine to compliment the traditional Western therapy. I discovered yoga (Salute the sun!), herbs and potions (Turtle Shell!) and acupuncture. Small problem. I hate needles. So much so that I stop breathing when I am around them. Even so, in my quest to try new things, I  tried acupuncture.

Being the logical girl that I am, I read everything I could find (and understand) on acupuncture. Acupuncture is a therapy where a practitioner inserts hair thin needles into certain points (acupoints) which access the body’s energy – called “qi”.   This ancient therapy is said to cure an untold number of ailments in the body.

This had to be something that worked if it has been practiced for thousands of years, even on animals. How could it not be a viable medical option if it even worked on pained dogs who couldn't be susceptible to the power of suggestion?

I wondered if acupuncture can work for fertility and headaches and backaches can it work to make someone happy?

Brief history of my acupuncture experience:

I have seen 8 different practitioners around the world.

Two didn't speak any English. One gave me five Ziploc baggies of herbs in the form of hundreds of  little brown pellets like tiny Skittles. And when I asked what they were, she wouldn't or couldn't tell me exactly what the medicine was.  I didn't take the pellets. The other non-English speaking doctor asked me just one question "What your period like?" and then pantomimed the rest of the questions which I ridiculously pantomimed back.

#3 was a Naturopath whose gentle manner made me fall asleep as soon as she placed the lavender pillow on my eyes. She was the one who got me accustomed to the feeling of the needles being tapped into my skin. I wondered if I needed to be awake to have acupuncture work.

#4 lit incense that made my eyes water and she would precisely hit the channels in certain spots that literally made me light-headed. When I asked her  about the zapping feeling like a nerve was being shot at with a bb gun she said it had something to do with thunder. I didn't quite get it.

#5 was located above a restaurant that served some sort of shellfish which I am fatally allergic to. My throat started to close the second I walked in. Plus, the parking was so awful that I dreaded going.

#6 made me cry the second he started putting the needles in. This was the most emotional one. I cried from the first needle and never stopped until I slipped my shoes on. After the needles, he placed crystals on my forehead and sternum and asked me to guess what colors they were. "Pink?" I asked with my eyes closed. He sighed and seemed disappointed that I didn't guess correctly. He then dabbed aromatic oils on my face which made me feel like I was in a cold pine forest. I felt ridiculous. Even more so when I paid the bill for this one.

#7 was Dr. Sharon Roth, a doctor in Las Vegas. I wanted her to adopt me. She listened as I told her everything that was going on. She soothed my hair and gave me the mental matzoh ball version of comfort. I really liked Dr. Roth.

#8 is Casey from Full Circle Acupuncture.

I love her. I called yesterday morning to make an appointment and was lucky to get in. As Casey checked my pulses on both wrists she asked me why I hadn't eaten anything yet that morning. "Holy Cow, how did you know that?!" I had just had some coffee and was starving. She asked me to stick out my tongue and then made notes in my chart. I asked her if she could put the pins in to make me happy.

She said that while there were no "happy points" per se on the body, what she could was to work to balance out the energy of my heart meridian and smooth the flow of qi in my body.

I told her about this blog and asked her her theory on how acupuncture works. Casey explained that acupuncture done correctly taps into your channels or energy meridians and balances out the qi and blood that flows through them.

She spoke softly about qi and the channels (which guide energy and blood flow through the body and to the different organ systems) as she inserted the needles into my forehead and hands, feet and tummy. At one point she inserted a hair-thin needle in the area between my thumb and forefinger on my left hand and I said "Ouch!" She chuckled and said "Well, that was your heart qi."

The needles were in and a heat lamp was placed over my legs. I was feeling a warm glow and settled in to the quiet with a background of soothing spa music. I imagined my heart energy blossoming like a pink lotus flower and I felt something that seemed vaguely familiar, like I had known the feeling before. It was happy. And it was coming back.

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