I went for my first acupuncture appointment last Monday armed with a healthy degree of skepticism.
A well-meaning but ill-informed acquaintance once suggested that acupuncture could “cure” my seizures. Perhaps unsurprisingly, “the current evidence does not support acupuncture as a treatment for epilepsy.” However, I have bad nausea from the medications I take and almost-daily headaches due to my messed-up brain. More importantly, my husband’s extended medical covers it. Most importantly, I’m a believer in the true potential of the placebo effect. All reasons to give it a go.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been jabbed dozens upon dozens of times over the years, but I have absolutely no fear of needles, which allowed me to enter the acupuncturist’s office with relative calm. After an hour-long consultation in which she confirmed that I have an array of health problems that can’t be solved with acupuncture but expressed a great deal of enthusiasm about working on controlling the nausea and headaches, she gave me an unexpected but delightful massage. She then inserted the needles in various part of my body, cheerfully answering my annoying questions the entire time.
I won’t lie: there was some minor discomfort, particularly in my hands. That said, it was actually pretty relaxing. In fact, I fell asleep twice (I fall asleep all the time, though—on the bus, while eating, while writing blog posts—so that shouldn’t be taken as a sign of anything besides my general difficulty staying awake).
I definitely felt better leaving than I did when I arrived, even if the regrettably short-lived reduction in anxiety that I quite certainly noticed could be attributed to the candles, mood music, and lengthy massage that enhanced the acupuncture itself. As a side note, why is it that the sounds of creek water mixed with those of string instruments hold so much power over the nervous mind? I’ll have to see if there’ve been scientific studies done to investigate this phenomenon.
Anyway, at some point (get it?) those needles might start making a real difference. In the meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the atmosphere and come up with bad acupuncture-related puns.