I recently attended my first acupuncture appointment. I have to admit that it's something I never thought I would do and in fact, I'd probably list it as one of the craziest things I've ever done (apparently I'm not much of a risk taker since acupuncture is making that list).
After I posted about my struggles of wanting to get pregnant I received several emails from you all sharing your own struggles either past or present. A few of you recommended acupuncture and while I appreciated the suggestion it was something so foreign to me that I just put it on a waiting list of things to try later on when I'd run out of other options. I'm not much on needles (ok really, who is?) and honestly, in the back of my mind, I was scared of what people would think when I mentioned possibly getting it. Would it be considered a sign of desperation?
As time went on though the word acupuncture kept popping up. I read about it in a book, it came up in random conversation, I heard about it on TV, I saw it in a magazine. It became something I honestly felt compelled to do. I don't know about you, but I believe in signs and when it came to acupuncture it seemed God was almost screaming at me to go.
My first appointment was almost 3 hours long. She did a very thorough intake exam asking all kinds of questions. Did I prefer hot or cold drinks? Was my skin dry or oily? Did I have any digestive issues? She looked at my tongue which told her that I was a stressful person among some other spot on issues for me. We went over all the details of my labor as well as other female and fertility issues. I can't tell you how nice it was to be asked some of the questions I was asked. I didn't feel rushed. I didn't feel silly for bringing up every little issue. I felt heard.
After she finished her diagnosis, she thoroughly explained everything in detail to me. She was extremely patient when I asked her a million questions of what everything meant as Eastern medicine is a whole new way of looking at the body and its functions. She even explained how we could tie the Eastern and Western medicine together.
Then it was time for me to climb on the table. I was nervous. I wasn't sure if it was going to hurt. I wasn't sure where all I was going to be stuck. In fact I had no clue what to expect.
She stuck needles in almost every part of my body (face, head, chest, stomach, back, hands, legs, feet and ear). They were in small groups so I didn't look like a ginormous pin cushion much to my husbands dismay. Some of them I didn't feel at all, some of them made me jump and some of them just felt like a slight prick. She also used magnets to help "balance" certain things and she "burned" an herb on certain parts of my body (don't worry I didn't feel anything). Finally she incorporated sound therapy using tuning forks around my body which was actually very relaxing.
At this point you are probably thinking I'm on the crazy train right?
To be honest I'm not sure how all of this will turn out. I can tell you that once I got off the table I felt happier and less stressed. Later on in the day I saw a few other family members who actually noted my increase in happiness. I initially felt light headed and maybe a little dazed. I was instructed to take an Epsom salt bath later that night to release toxins and order some essential oils to rub on certain areas of my body. I'll be the first to admit that I'm leaping blindly into this, but I feel good about it and right now that's all that matters.
I head back to my regular OB in April at which point I expect we will discuss more options. I'm sure he will be recommending more testing, hormones or other drugs and honestly none of that sounds appealing to me. The testing is stressful, the hormones and drugs mess not only with my body but actually DO place me on the crazy train emotionally. At this point herbs, oils, sound therapy and acupuncture seem so much less invasive and if they don't work I don't have to worry about any crazy side effects and to me, that means a lot.
All images are property of Laura Sager unless otherwise noted.