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Friday, June 14, 2024

She’s green, He’s green: We Tried Acupuncture and This Is How It Went

By Jennifer and John Burkhart

Your first thought when you have health issues like pain, insomnia, or sinusitis probably isn’t to poke a piece of metal into your skin. But if the practice has been around for thousands of years, there might be something to it, right? The practice is part of Traditional Chinese medicine called acupuncture. It’s all about unblocking the flow of energy in your body to restore health. We were intrigued and had to know what “community” acupuncture was all about. 

He said: We signed up to be human pincushions this month. We looked down at our arms and legs and said, “Ya know, there are not nearly enough pieces of metal hanging out of our skin. Let’s remedy that immediately.” Normally that kind of talk would have me very concerned, but I’ve done this particular type of torture – uh, treatment – many times before. See, I suffer from a lovely condition called migraine headaches (thanks for passing that one down, Mom) and acupuncture has been known to have very positive effects. It makes sense, since acupuncture is meant to keep the energy flow (called “Qi”) balanced along the meridians, and migraines are a neurological disorder. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t notice any meaningful changes when I was doing acupuncture regularly. This session was a bit different than my previous ones, though. It was “community,” so it was one big room with multiple tables and chairs. There were already two people-porcupines on tables when we walked in. We were greeted warmly upon entering, and after a quick consultation about my ailments, my practitioner began. She started by taking five steps back and throwing the needles at me like darts at a dart board…I’m kidding! She inserted the super tiny needles with a tiny tap. Half of them I couldn’t feel go in, and the other half were like a slight pinch. I could feel a rushing sensation in certain areas, especially my arms. Once I was all pinned up, she gave me a blanket and I snoozed for like 40 minutes. I really wish I could tell you this cured me of migraines, but it didn’t. I ended up getting one that same day (ugh). 

She Said:
The only time I’ve tried acupuncture before was to induce labor (which worked, by the way!) and that was over 12 years ago. So, this was basically a new experience. Our talented LAc (licensed acupuncturist), Zoe, was warm and welcoming and had curated a relaxing communal space with several beds and recliners. 

After a chat to find out what I’d like help with, she placed needles on my scalp (ouch), wrists, knee, calves, shins, ankles, feet, and one on the belly (didn’t even feel that one, surprisingly). Recliners are absolutely the way to go. It was like a giant cozy hug to soothe my anxiety about what felt like a thousand little pokes. I will say, though, Zoe was very quick and gentle with those hair-like tiny needles, and any that continued to sting were removed when asked. After placement, I didn’t feel any of the needles for most of the time I chose to relax in my chair. And relax, I did! I somehow went through a time vortex because 30 minutes felt like 10. I couldn’t sleep, but I did spend some time trying to channel warm vibes to my frozen feet. If you go,  say “yes” to a blanket — trust me. And if you really want to zone out, I do recommend a private appointment. The lady next to me had no qualms about practicing LOUD breath-work. I tried hard to focus on the fuzzy shadows flowing behind my eyelids, but the mouth-breather was too distracting. You may get lucky, though, and get a quiet room. The community healing aspect really is nice  and a more affordable option. And if I’m being honest, my knee has felt better since the visit! The whole experience was easier than I thought it would be and I would definitely do it again.


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