For various reasons I decided to try acupuncture, the practice of placing thin, solid, sterile stainless-steele needles into specific point of your body in order to activate or inhibit the flow of Qi and blood. It’s a comprehensive health practice as it involves the emotional as well as the physical connecting specific organs to certain emotional issues.
I’ve listed the specifics about what I was hopping to help with acupuncture below. I was really excited to go and intrigued by the whole process but it wasn’t always this way. It took me a while to open up to the idea of it. You see, things like acupuncture always seemed like ‘treating myself’ and too much money so I shied away from them even though I was intrigued in the idea of them. I also shied away from it because the people in my life at the time made fun of it or saw it as a silly, hippy idea to heal.
There’s nothing like a huge life a event to make you start doing the things you know are good for you and stop caring about what other people think and stop feeling guilty about healing. My Mom’s death in particular has lead me to want to take care of myself in ways that speak to me. Maybe that’s why I finally decided to try acupuncture. It helped that I work at a Juice Shop downstairs from the office where I made the appointment. I guess I had just heard one to many good things about Stillpoint Wellness in San Francisco to put it off any longer.
After doing some brief research on acupuncture and buying myself a used book, Between Heaven and Earth-A Guide To Chinese Medicine, I though acupuncture would help me for the following reasons;
- Frequent urination
- Heavy, painful menstruation
- Pain in my left side groin and left buttock area
- Pain in hips
- Fatigue even after full night’s sleep
- Emotional healing from big life events
Questions asked during visit and on the form I filled out beforehand (I won’t include them all but one that stood out)…
- Do I enjoy work?-The last couple months have been a transition period for me and the last one in particular hasn’t been enjoyable which has spurred a change in position, really a while in the making, to teach English abroad and write which really excites me.
- Diet-Mostly vegetarian recently putting fish and meat back in, sometimes eggs, dairy and coffee upset me, trying to avoid
- Lose or solid bowl movements?-Both, mostly solid
- Amount of alcoholic drinks per week -2-4. In recent years though a lot more maybe ten or more in a week.
- Current symptoms & complaints (listed above) and which was the most pressing to me at the time to which I answered the pain on my left side.
- What helps symptoms? Stretching, walking, exercise.
- Do I sit a lot at work? Yes. More recently though I’ve had to be up and about at work. But after my day job I write and am sitting more when I do that.
- Any recent life changing events? Death of my Mom and stress relating to that. She also mentioned that my Dad’s death was significant although he died over five years ago.
Things that stood out during questioning…
- She asked about my parents and grandparents deaths on both sides, how old they were and what happen to each of them and their medical history. It was really interesting recapping it and learning from their lives. Maybe when I feel a little stronger and better about sharing I will write a blogpost geared a little more toward what I learned specifically.
- Fact that she asked if I was close to said family members.
- She told me that it was better that I didn’t take pill form birth control as it disrupts hormones.
- She also told me that it was good that I use pads as there are toxins in tampons and it could be the reasons of urinary problems. She also advised against using plastic cups for menstruation as she was advised by a fellow colleague. I was happy to get this information as I was considering using these cups. I’ll stick to pads.
- This actually was asked during acupuncture but she gently asked if I was comfortable with my weight to which I replied no, that 120, I’m 111, was better. She agreed. I thought it was a nice way to suggest that I put on some more pounds.
Her diagnosis which is given before the acupuncture session–
- May be low in iron, anemic. This came after questioning of my heavy periods.
- May have some gut, digestion issues because of lose stool.
- Kidney is weak and is trying to be helped my my liver but my liver is also weak. In her words, the liver is like a mother to the kidney and tries to help even though her reserves are low which actually just worsen the liver. This may be causing my frequent urination.
- Have symptoms of adrenal fatigue, (I will address this in a future post as I have guessed that I have had this since reading Medical Medium and noticing symptoms myself). Some of the symptoms are sweating without much effort, under eye circles, fatigue after full nights sleep, sporadic energy at night. Some of the causes include stressful life events, dehydration, bad diet specifically not eating enough or eating sugary things as well as too much caffeine and alcohol.
- Get blood work done to find out specific deficiencies -she mentioned that I may be deficient in iron and B12 which may be why I’m low on energy and having trouble with my periods. This made me realize that I had run out of B12 months ago and never replaced it. She recommended the blood work specifically as she said it’s better to know exactly what I’m deficient in and taking supplements is better than just guessing. I was happy to get this much needed advice because sometimes try things without all of the information first and this reminded me that sometimes we need to have all of the information before we can make a good decision. My plan to move out of the country also helps motivate me to get the proper supplementation before I go abroad so I’m at my best for this big life change.
- Drink less cold beverages and more hot drinks. As I work at a Juice Shop, she suggested the juices with ginger to counteract the cold. I also told her that I like to pull the juices out of the fridge a half hour to an hour before to drinking to let get to room temperature. In Chinese medicine the belief is that cold beverages
- Drink bone broth for more nutrients and minerals as she said she guesses I am low. We discussed the influence of my vegan diet which may have had an influence but honestly, I think it’s because I haven’t been making sure to eat a well rounded diet, vegan or otherwise for a period of time of the past five years. In recent years, although I’ve gotten better at eating a more nutritious diet, my habits of waiting to eat, not preparing ahead of time and drinking too much caffeine or alcohol before eating have followed me. Stressful life events and being unhappy at my job have encouraged these habits and it’s continual work for me everyday to stay on track. Getting this diagnosis is just another step in moving toward better, comprehensive health that doesn’t involve just what I eat.
The acupuncture experience…
I undressed and laid on a table much like a massage. When she reentered the room she discussed the diagnosis with me and inserted the pins, mostly in my left hand and when she inserted the pin in my left hand between the thumb and forefinger, I felt a surge of pressure. She asked me if it was tender to which I answered yes as it is most of the time always tender.
As she worked she explained that my issues were my kidneys and the importance of strengthening it to help my bladder. At this point I was laying on my back. She left for room for a period of time with a heat lamp at my feet which felt nice. I drifted off for a short time but not too long as I was a little too excited to relax. As I laid there I felt read painted message surround the top of the walls one in particular that stood out to me, “I am always safe.” It spoke to me and I repeated it softly aloud and began to feel relaxed. During the acupuncture I felt as though I could feel sublet pressure and pulsing throughout my body that felt nice.
When I moved the pins didn’t bother me much other than a slight tugging when I hit one pin in particular while moving my hand. I was nervous, naturally, but as the she explained to me, nothing would happen if I bent or moved one. Still, I mostly tried to stay still but relaxed.When I turned over she mostly put pins in my lower back, couple in each arm and feet and she asked if I wasted an herb mixture or to see how the acupuncture worked first. I decided on the latter mostly because of money, why do I always hesitate on health? Still, because of moving, it was the better decision for me at the time. But I will take her other recommendations such as getting blood work done.
As I was dressing I felt relaxed like after as massage. I sat down to pay and when I did she mentioned something I’ll never forget.
“When I was putting pins in your back, on the left side, there were red marks.”
I asked what it meant.
“It signifies a lot of pain held in your heart. If you can, come back for another appointment before you leave the city you should.”
I think I will.
‘Between Heaven And Earth-A Guide To Chinese Medicine’ by Harriet Beinfield, L.Ac. and Efrem Korngold, L.Ac.,O.M.D.
Stillpoint Wellnes Center, San Francisco. I saw Dr. Mimi.
Other reasons people seek acupuncture…
- muscle tention, stiffness
- heart, kidney, liver, lung problems
I know I’m missing some so if you are suffering, do some research and see if acupuncture is right for you.