Getting Real About Acupuncture

The idea of optimal holistic health is appealing to many. Actually pursuing an all-encompassing, healthy balance in a natural way is a very gray and confusing path, however. There are so many voices out there telling you that “THIS IS THE CURE ALL” or “I swear this is the only way to be totally ‘healthy’”. I personally know that I’ve fallen victim to trying many things to cure my various health ailments just because a family member or a social media influencer claimed that it was basically magic. After about 3 years of AWFUL sleep, a terrible case of unbalanced hormones, and just an overall unsettledness about my life and wellness in general, I was about ready to throw in the towel. 

    My health issues had receded minimally after long and tedious attempts to heal myself naturally on my own, so I knew that I had little to lose by trying a new approach. There’s a lot of controversy over this type of treatment, and the idea of acupuncture I think it completely terrifying to most people. Tiny little needles being placed under the surface of the skin, in attempts to stimulate a deeper system and produce hopefully positive energy. 

After a little research and word-of-mouth referral, I found myself sitting in the waiting room of what I usually would refer to as my chiropractic office. That day I was there for something else. I knew this particular practitioner, who is primarily my mom's chiropractor, and had been comforted by another patient that she wasn’t going to be all “woo woo” about it. My doctor and I had briefly consulted together after I scheduled an appointment, and she first asked me to explain what I was experiencing and why I thought acupuncture would help me. I liked this verification to get us both on the same page and make sure that she wasn’t performing something on me that wasn’t beneficial or that I didn’t need.

    With chronic, long term symptoms ranging from chronic stress, poor and disrupted sleep, and unbalanced hormones (hypothalamic amenorrhea for 4 years, to be specific), and poor recovery resulting in sore, overused, taxed muscles, we determined that this treatment would, in fact, be a great option for me to try to alleviate some of these now normal manifestations.

    So, we began. The process itself was very easy, and in the first session, I was very surprised at how painless the insertion of the teeny, tiny needles was. She explained a brief background of the treatment and its origin and I laid down, face-up, on a blanketed doctor-like table. She explained how we would start small, using just a few points at first and why each one was significant. The points used are specific to your history, symptoms, and desired outcome of treatment. I had about 8 points my first appointment, mostly in my feet, hands, and head. This increased to about 12 points by my 7th session, and she added more points in my stomach, shins, and forearms.

    The side effects can vary greatly from person to person, so I had no idea what to expect, but following my appointments most days I hardly felt any different than normal. I spaced my appointments about 1-2 per week over the course of a month, as she suggested I start with at least 6 visits. As the treatment progressed, and she said she hoped I would start to become more sensitive, meaning that my ‘energy’ was flowing, she added in more and more points on my body. I did become more aware of the insertion points, so it began to pinch just a little more than at first, but my doctor assured me that that was a good thing!

    After 7 treatments now, I’ve tried to give myself a little panorama of my symptoms from the first day until now. My hormones are still not in full swing (no cycle yet), but my sleep seems to have deepened a bit to the point where I can plan to get some decent rest throughout the night without my friend who I had become quite dependent on, melatonin. Despite still waking up several times per night, I feel like my body is starting to relax a bit more on its own now, which is comforting. 

    I know that the process is slow and will probably take more time than I have allowed thus far, and as my doctor explained, the longer your symptoms are at play or in my case ‘suppressed’, the longer it may take to coax them back to normalcy. I am becoming more comfortable with trusting the process. It has been gentle and I like the idea of working WITH my body, not against it for once. I hope that over time if I continue on with this acupuncture journey, that I will continue to see more and more positive results! 

In conclusion, I have decided that in the right situations, the practice of acupuncture can be a very positive and helpful TOOL, but not a cure-all. It’s not something to be feared, so if you feel it may be a good option for you, I encourage you to do your own research and find a plan that will help you find relief. Best wishes!