1st time acupuncture!

I tried acupuncture for the first time yesterday!  It was great.  If you haven’t been before, don’t be afraid of the needles! they’re not that bad!

What happens:

1.  get called into the exam room – they ask you a lot of questions about your general health and specific problems.  be ready to answer questions about your digestion, monthly flow, general temperature, sleeping habits, food and drink habits and etc.

2. then, questions about specific health problems.  of course, this was a very long discussion for me

3. the practitioners then examine you – they check your pulse – not just the beats, but how it feels.  they examine your tongue – they examined mine for awhile!  so, remember to not brush your tongue the morning of your appointment.  they then check certain points on your body, or abdomen, to see your response to the pressure.  this examination and the patient narrative is taken into account when deciding what treatment to administer.

4. then, the needles!  I had 11 – one between my big and 2nd toes on each foot.  one in each shin.  one above each knee.  three on my tummy. one on each hand in between my thumbs and forefinger. and, one between my eyebrows. you then lay with them for about twenty minutes, relaxing. each needle felt a bit different.  it doesn’t hurt when put in, but then again, i am very used to needles due to the regular blood labs i get.  after the first puncture, they set the needle.  this part felt different for each – some there was more pressure, some i could really feel that area “wake up.”  don’t be alarmed.  it’s not bad at all.  the needles are placed according to your body’s meridian.  the goal is to balance the body’s chi, so as to restore health.

5. they come back in, take the needles out, and then, in my case, prescribe herbs.  i’m taking a ginger mix this week.

6. sleep really well that night!  i went to bed at 10 and slept through my alarm in the morning until 7:30!

I’m trying acupuncture to see if it “works” for me.  It is one of the only alternative therapies that has been studied significantly, so even my more traditional and conservative rheumatologists have suggested that i give it a try.  however, the use of herbal therapies is more disputed.  some herbs can interact negatively with different medications.  for example, it is not good to take St. John’s wort while also taking an anti-depressant.  However, since i drink ginger tea often, i figured that using ginger therapeutically would not interact with the medications i currently take.

For more info on acupuncture, click here.

Also, if you are looking for inexpensive acpuncture in Chicago, I recommend going to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. That’s where I went.  If you are a student, you can get a discounted rate when you see an intern there, too.

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