Almost done with my last quarter of college, today I will present my last final in my undergrad ever! It's exciting and nerve racking but I have a good feeling about it and I'm very much so ready to knock it out!
Most of you don't know but I have struggled with a herniated L5 disk since I was about 15 and I've had MRI's and X-Rays and the doctors continue to tell me there isn't anything they can do except recommend that I go to a chiropractor. Now I love my chiropractor in Savannah, but for a college student getting adjusted two times a week gets really expensive. So I don't go as often as my chiropractor would like. I've been told for probably six months by various people that I should try acupuncture, finally one of the therapists at my chiropractor was doing lumbar distraction on my low back and lamenting to me how angry my muscles were and she was like you know there is a lady downtown that does acupuncture and almost everyone in the office goes to her, you should test it out.
She then informed me that she used to have horrible sciatica and she went to a few acupuncture appointments and went years without experiencing the pain again. This was what sold me finally, so I got the card and called that very day and made an appointment for last Thursday. Which also happened to be the day before portfolio review, I figured it would be a good way to pamper myself and relax before the reviews.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body. A key component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is most commonly used to treat pain.
Traditional Chinese medicine explains acupuncture as a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force — known as qi or chi (CHEE) — believed to flow through pathways (meridians) in your body. By inserting needles into specific points along these meridians, acupuncture practitioners believe that your energy flow will re-balance.
In contrast, many Western practitioners view the acupuncture points as places to stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. Some believe that this stimulation boosts your body's natural painkillers and increases blood flow.
Now I admitted to my acupuncturist that the most I knew about acupuncture was that scene in Kung Fu Panda where Po gets acupuncture, not a very promising mindset for an acupuncture virgin.
She asked me questions about my cycle, my mental state, was I stressed (duh it's finals), did I have issues with anger, worry, depression? Where exactly was my pain? Had I had any surgeries? What was the state of my L5 disk? (I'll let you know its not a promising state) and so on.
Finally she had my lie down on the table, very similar to a masseuse table, on my back and roll my pants up beyond my knees so she would be able to use points on my thighs. I wore very loose beach pants that were easily rolled up and a tank top, I didn't have to disrobe because my clothes were easily manipulated but if you don't wear clothes that can be rolled up there is a chance you would need to disrobe under the sheets similar to a massage.
She asked me if I was nervous, I said yes, even though I don't have an issue with pain or needles, (see having both sides of my ribs tattooed three times and multiple piercings) but for some reason I had some nerves concerning the actual acupuncture. She said that it was totally normal especially because I had never had it done before and honestly no amount of explanation would properly prepare me for the actual sensation.
Every time someone told me about acupuncture they said and I quote "YOU DONT EVEN FEEL THE NEEDLES GOING IN" I am here to tell you they all LIED! Now the pain is brief, and varies in intensity, but believe me you FEEL that needle going in. Except for the needles in my thigh I felt every single one, and then I didn't. It's not like getting blood drawn where you feel that damn needle in your arm the whole time, after the needle was in I genuinely forgot they were there.
Total she put ten needles in me, all on my front side of my body, because of the degeneration of my L5 disk she preferred to not work directly on my back but use the channels on the front half of my body that connect to the disk.
1 needle in the back of my head (hardly felt it at all, but this one gave me the most concern just because I wasn't sure how to handle having a needle in my skull)
One in my left hand right below my pinky (this one I felt the most out of all the needles strangely enough)
Three in my left arm (barely felt these at all after the initial insertion)
2 in my left thigh (didn't feel these at all until she removed them, then my muscle spasmed and I definitely felt it)
3 in my right foot (I was nervous because she stuck one in near my Achilles tendon and I have a huge phobia with people touching my tendons, any of them but it was basically painless)
I then laid on the table for 25 minutes and worked on evening out my breathing and releasing stress from my mind and body. She stayed in the room because it was my first time and my body twitched and did some weird stuff, which she warned me might happen. She also let me know that I might notice differences in my pain right away while I was on the table or it might take a few days. As someone who was expecting nothing, I will tell you within a few minutes I noticed an immediate release in the tightness that I have in my low back when I lie down.
I only got adjusted once last week and by all means I should be feeling it by now but I have had no discomfort and no stiffness when I get out of bed in the morning, even though its getting cold here and we haven't turned the heat on yet. She wants to see me for four more sessions and I'm inclined to set them up and see if I can't replace my chiropractor visits with these four sessions of acupuncture.
Have you tried acupuncture? If so what were your results? Be sure to add your linkup to the Try It Out Tuesday Linky party below!!