Needle Work

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yesterday, I saw my new acupuncturist. She planned ahead and asked a massage therapist friend of hers to stay and translate for the two of us.

The beautiful thing about non-western medicine is the willingness to listen to your entire symptom in context of your life history. It isn't just about your headache - or in my case, the emotional rollercoaster I have been riding. It is about everything. When I told the Acupuncturist about the tingles I get which tell me that one person is thinking about me, she did not look at me like I was crazy. She did not roll her eyes. She asked : "Is this person living or dead?"

I could have jumped up and kissed her. I asked the massage therapist translator if I sounded crazy and she said "No, not at all. This is very important."

After my history had been gathered, we said goodbye to the translator and I entered the acupunture room. I was then given a very stern talking to by my new acupunturist. I was letting my energy scatter. This was leaving me vulnerable. I was thinking about things outside my realm of control and attention. This was draining me and causing my imbalance. She emphatically pointed in front of her "You must concentrate on You! Your Daughter, Your husband. Not think over here..."

I started to laugh and cry. Yes, I understood. Yes. It was true.

"Good! You'll get better!", she smiled and clapped her hands.

I got up on the table. I lay down. She got to work, positioning me on the table.

She started with needles in my scalp. Many of them. Upon their entry, I could feel the chi activate - a slight painful twitch and then the release. I immediately knew that She was good. Then my neck, and onto my belly and ribs. Next came my legs. Having my legs done was newest to me. The connection was instantaneous. When the needles were tapped in, I felt the energy move. There was a slight resistance at first, then the rush. My feet and wrists were done last.

She finished and touched my legs. "Relax", she said firmly and turned on traditional Chinese flute music. I lay there, in this very austere office. I could feel the movement of my energy activating - my head began to clear. I lay there with my eyes open.

She would come back in and manipulate the needles to keep the chi moving. I worked on centering myself in my body, connecting with myself and feeling rather than daydreaming. That is, as she observed, an issue. I leave my present state behind and live somewhere outside myself. I need to be Here, Now. Mindfulness.

At the end of the session, she told me that I would come back on Friday and see her again. She would do my front and then my back with the needles. She took me into her office and showed me the traditional medicine I would be taking. She went over the instructions with me to make sure I understood. Yes, One of these pills every day after breakfast for 10 days.

Now, remember that this is a true Chinese herbalist. As in, trained in China. She is not handing me a bottle of pills. She hands me a box:

She is very clear. I am to take One pill a day, after breakfast. She feels that this formula is Exactly what I need to detoxify my liver, and rebalance my chi.

I appreciate beautiful things. These pills are beautiful. Look:

They are a round white wax ball, with a gold stamped seal on them. I am to squeeze the pill to open it, revealing the medicine inside.

I am to unwrap the cellophane around the gold ball, and then take the medicine.

Yes, This is a HUGE pill. Emily watched me try to throw it back and said "Wow, Mom - you looked like you were going to throw up there for a minute!" Which was true. I prevailed, however, and swallowed it down. I can't wait to go back on Friday.

Many of you have asked questions about Chi. I will, in my VERY limited understanding, do my level best to explain what I have experienced in Acupuncture and Yoga.

Your Chi is your life energy. Your body has meridians through which the chi flows - when all is well. However, your chi can become unbalanced for a variety of reasons. At times, I can feel the chi while I do Yoga. There are days when I can hold poses easily...and the next day? I fall over while trying to do Tree pose. It is, as best I can describe it, a flow, an energy - a harmony.

Acupunture inserts very thin needles at specific points on the body to activate the chi. These points work in conjunction with other points, this is why a spot on your foot may be connected to a spot on your neck. (I used accupressure massage during labor - and my spots were on my foot and a point in my hand)

Acupunture seeks to rebalance the chi, so the body can take care of itself. After a session, I feel really relaxed. I sleep wonderfully. I described it as feeling like I'd taken an Ativan for anxiety, but without the fuzzy after effects.

22 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

I was expecting there to be a chocolate inside that lovely egg/foil package.
The whole experience sounds awesome. I'm glad you were able to find someone you like in your new city. It helps a lot to be able to get back into a routine with someone you trust.

Andrea said...

I too was expecting chocolate. But maybe that way my way of dismissing the half dozen Hershey Kisses I've eaten this morning. "Hey, it's medicine!"

It sounds like a wonderful experience. I have a bit of a reservation about needles, so I don't know that I'll have the wherewithal to ever try acupuncture. But, hey. I have a tattoo, so maybe it is in the future. I'm glad you're finding your balance again.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like someting I'd like to try.

Mignon said...

Teebs, me too! But then, after thinking about it, I reasoned with such gorgeous wrapping it could've been a little ferret turd and I still would've eaten it.

Good news Dawn, I'm glad it went so well.

Bobita said...

She sounds wonderful! I am anxious to hear how you are feeling after the 10 days.

stasia said...

I'm glad you've found an accupunturist with whom you are comfortable.

Those little pills really are beautifully wrapped. If US medication came wrapped like that instead of in a red bottle and smelling of bubble gum vomit, I think people would be much healthier.

Woman with Kids said...

Holy Crap! That's not a pill, that's a child's beach ball. Good job on swallowing it without vomiting!

Anonymous said...

I kinda whished it HAd been that is some medicine I can get behind!

This is all very fascinating to Dad does this now for his really in bad shape back. It helps...for a little bit. I don't think he gets the chi tie-in. I think I would be like him and just understand that there are needles poking in me, and hoping I feel better after they're out. I am not exactly "in tune" w/ my body. I just know when it's not working.

Now you have me thinking of getting a sound so relaxed. What luck you found a great 'puncturist on teh first shot.

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely fascinating. I could definitely use some of that chi balancing.

Lisa said...

Big pills like that scare me. But I hope they help!

Debbie said...

horse pill? that looks like a small planet, dude.

I'm glad that shit's working for you, though. it sounds awesome, actually. you've made me question my fear of needles, in fact.

p.s. can I say thank you AGAIN for your genius in creating TWC? I can't freaking stand it, I love that blog so much. rah-rah, Dawn. :p

Lori said...

I love accupuncture. It didn't fix my physical problem, but I always felt so calm after it.

FYI for newbies - the needles are very slim and don't really hurt all that much when they put them in.

Anonymous said...

Nice post, Dawn. Your experience would be a good source for those who are about to try acupuncture.

I even linked you up in my post about acupuncture so that my reader can learn from you.

Hope you don't mind :D

Fraulein N said...

Good grief, that thing looks like a horse tranquilizer! I'm glad these sessions are helping you. Now I'm wondering if I could benefit from accupuncture, but I'm a little worried. About what's expected of me, and about sanitary issues. Then there's the matter of money, and actually finding someone to do it. Anyone got any recommendations for a Philly girl?

Anonymous said...

It is incredible to me how the universe speaks to you. I have been collecting info about ancient healing, particularly women healers for a story that has been revealing itself to me over the years. I know that somehow this is a part of the puzzle. Yeah, I know I sound like a freak.
Thank you for sharing and explaining.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

At first, I thought you had to swallow that wax ball, compared to that the pill doesn't seem so bad. I could barely swallow a prenatal vitamin, let alone something that size.

That is interesting that she understood about your "tingles". Finally, someone who might be able to help you not get jolted out of your chair from it.

I am definitely guilty of worrying about things outside of the realm of my control. You are really selling me on acupuncture, you know.

Jewels said...

I loved reading about this...facinating.

halloweenlover said...

This is awesome. Sounds amazing. How do you find a really good acupuncturist, though?

Maven said...

it sounds like you had 5 element acupuncture, as TCM acupuncture doesn't go so in depth and ask about your life/emotions.

that being said, i love acupuncture.

Anonymous said...

That experience sounds awesome. I've been wanting to try acupuncture, maybe now I'll be motivated enough to get my ass in gear after BlogHer.

Unknown said...

my grandparents would use those all the time. its not the traditional "pill" you are thinking of... you can bite them, and chew them, they are the texture of a tootsie roll, it would help absorb more of the nutrients, sometimes they would bite off 1/2 and take the other 1/2 later.
despite being the texture of a tootsie roll, they taste very herbal and bitter.
so, you do not need to swallow it... its not meant to swallow whole...

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