The Time I Went to Acupuncture

Hi, hello, happy middle-of-the-week my beautiful flowers. You’re almost done with the week! The weather has been absolutely stunning here in Maryland my first week back, and today is no exception.

This morning I drove 45 minutes away (taking scenic backroads and trying to contain my urge to stop the car and pick every wildflower I spotted on the side of the road) to a natural wellness center for my first ever acupuncture session.

There are a couple things in life that I never imagined myself doing, and willingly getting poked with needles for 2 hours is certainly one of them. But today I found myself driving to an appointment in which I paid a couple hundred dollars to do just that.

If you have spent a significant amount of time with me, you know that 1. I get heartburn like a 60 year-old man, and 2. I have the weirdest allergic reactions to random foods. Whether it’s a stomach cramp, a tingly tongue or my throat closing up (that last one has only happened 3 times, and each time I’ve had Benadryl on hand, which helps it subside), I’ve had my fair share of food-related allergic reactions.

Which brings me to my morning appointment with an acupuncturist who practices Traditional Oriental Medicine in which she eliminates allergies using the bioenergetic system to reprogram hyper-reactivity. If that sounds crazy to you, it’s because it is, in fact, a little crazy.

I walked into this wellness center, housed in a historic victorian home (figures), and was greeted by a very zen woman who checked me in. The waiting room was filled with warm, earthy tones, geometric shapes, and countless wellness magazines and books. Meditation music played almost aggressively through the speakers, drowning out the sound of wind chimes dancing on the front porch. Sunlight gleamed through the windows, catching the light of multiple crystals set around the room.

I sat in the waiting room, only the zen receptionist and I, for about 15 minutes, before a friendly woman with a sleek, grey bob emerged from a side hallway. She greeted me with kind eyes, and led me back to a private room.

The room held a bed, covered with a linen cloth, accompanied by a cart full of vials, what appeared to be jumper cables, and of course, needles. The walls were a soft white with vintage-styled acupuncture posters framed and hanging, demonstrating the various points on the body. I take a seat in a leather chair as she pulls a chair up beside me.

She opens a binder and reveals a diagram of the human body, along with various energy sources. She explains that every internal issue begins with the external body aura, and from there moves inward. Our practice will begin cleansing the aura, and then we will make our way into the other energetic points of the body.

After briefly discussing my symptoms, I laid flat on the linen-covered table, and my girl handed me a metal cylinder connected by a wire to hold onto to (what I first thought looked like a cable). She connects the other side to a machine, and explains how this procedure will go. I will lock my arm to my side, and she will pull lightly on it. As she goes through different possible allergy causes, (she starts with environmental, then gets into foods and spices, then animals, etc.) she’ll continue to pull on my arm. If my arm separates from my side, then my body is responding negatively to the energy, therefore concluding that I am allergic to that specific thing.

She goes through a whole list of sources, pulling at my arm to see if it breaks away. Turns out, I’m allergic to quite a few things. Of course she discovered that I’m allergic to things that I already expected (dairy, MSG, pollen), but she also discovered that I’m allergic to pretty much every type of wheat, most herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc), and dogs (!!!!!).

The good news is that she can “fix” my allergies with her acupuncture method. I’m certainly not an expert, but from what I picked up on during my appointment, the acupuncture is supposed to train the electric waves in my body to not freak out over certain symptoms (from the above causes). It’s as if I am cutting these things out of my diet and retraining my body to function properly; except she is doing it for me with the needles, and I don’t have to cut anything out (thank God, I need my carbs and my dogs).

After we discovered the long list of allergies I have, we began to strategize how to best tackle the problem. We decided (well, she did most of the deciding) to first take care of all the wheats. This is where the vials come into play. I’m pretty sure the vials were related to my various wheat allergies (I could be completely wrong, but I think that’s why she wanted to pump the energy from the wheats that I’m allergic to through my body in order to pin point where my body needs balancing). She put the vials in a metal tray, hooked my cable into it, and through the arm tactic, adds different vials until my body energy is balanced and my arm doesn’t come loose. After she finds the balance, she begins the acupuncture.

I’m not gonna lie, no matter how small the needles are (and these were so so small), it’s still annoying as hell getting poked with needles. It was uncomfortable. It didn’t necessarily hurt, but it definitely didn’t feel great.

After she placed all the needles on me (I think I had 6 in total), she let it sit for 20 minutes. Now, most people (so I’m told) usually take this time to nap/relax, but I found it nearly impossible to fall asleep while I had six needles stabbing my skin. So I just stared at the ceiling for 20 minutes, listening to the meditation music, listing my favorite Taylor Swift songs in my head, until she came back in and took the needles off.

She grabbed the needles quite nonchalantly and had very little to say once we were done, other than “let’s continue to meet and tackle these allergies.”

So there you have it, my first acupuncture experience. It was quirky, exciting, strange, uncomfortable and kind of exhilarating. As I walked to my car after my appointment I thought, “should I go get a tattoo?”

Baby steps, Becca.

I’m interested to see if/when these sessions will make a difference in my daily life. If these sessions could get rid of my heart burn, that would definitely be a success.

If nothing else, I guess this means I’m officially over my fear of needles.

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