Cupcakes and Sunshine: On My Nerves: My First Acupuncture Experience

Saturday, March 31, 2018

On My Nerves: My First Acupuncture Experience





(disclosure: I am not a doctor and not offering health advice. Just sharing my experiences and what's helped me!) 

Hi friends! Happy SATURDAY! We've made it to the weekend.

This past week has been a doozy!! Mostly because I haven't been able to move much. I've been having a lot of back pain with some back disc issues, ibuprofen has become my best friend, and I've been sleeping (or attempting sleep!) on the floor with my feet in the air. After some overwhelming pain and no relief from the max amount of ibuprofen you can take in a day (and really wanting to avoid any hardcore painkillers), it was suggested to me to get...acupuncture.

Picture source: http://www.laurenbramleymd.com/services/acupuncture/

At first thought, I panicked! What? Needles!? I need my friends to come with me and hold my hand to get a simple flu shot! But after doing some research and hearing about success from friends, I decided to give it a go. I really didn't think anything could be worse than already feeling like I had thousands of needles in my back from having herniated discs pressing on my nerves, so I did it!

I did some internet research on acupuncture and its benefits beforehand and learned that acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been around for thousands of years. It has been known to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain by stimulating pressure points under your skin.

 "One major hypothesis is that acupuncture works through neurohormonal pathways. Basically, you put the needle through specific points in the body and stimulate the nerve. The nerve actually sends signals to the brain, and the brain releases neural hormones such as beta-Endorphins."

This is how my experience went: 

I walked in the doors of my acupuncturist, was asked many questions about my physical activity level and where my pain was, and any medicines I'm taking. Then I was taken back to a small room and laid down on a massage table, where the acupuncturist told me the needles would feel like a tiny prick. Needles were put in my ears and ankles and all over my back.

They felt like little mosquito bites all over. At first, it was a little startling every time a needle was put in, but then I couldn't even tell. The acupuncturist then gave me a bell to ring if I had any problems, and stepped out of the room for about 30 minutes while I laid there with the needles.

I felt fine, but ten minutes in, even though I couldn't feel the needles, my mind started racing that there were lots of needles just sitting in my skin, and I got a little woozy thinking about it. So I refocused my thoughts and imagined myself on a beach (There was a wave sound machine playing and lots of essential oils permeating the room)

After that 30 minutes, the acupuncturist came in took out the needles, and did CUPPING. You know those big circles all over the olympians backs?


I now have them too, so I definitely feel like a total athlete. But cupping was intriguing to me! It also is a traditional form of Chinese medicine that helps to circulate your blood and stimulate nerves as well- therefore, decreasing pain. It felt like a little pressure on my back, but nothing too crazy at all.

I thought it was super interesting that you can tell exactly where your pain is based on the colors of your skin during cupping. The darker the circles, the less your blood was circulating in that area, which can identify exactly where your pain is. At first I didn't want to believe that cupping would work, but yep! My dark circles are exactly where my pain is, and everywhere else I have lighter circles.

SO the big question is... Did it work? Do I feel better? 
Yes and no. I really did feel better afterwards. I didn't want to believe it, and thought maybe it was just a placebo, but I was able to get back in my car and drive home with less pain than when I arrived.  (even turning left and right in my car was painful!) I even slept better at night too! I really think the cupping helped more than the acupuncture with this visit, because I felt more relief after the cupping than when the needles were removed. But I did not feel like ultimately all my pain was gone and that acupuncture was a miracle worker. It just helped alleviate some pain.

Would I do it again? 
Yes and no again. (I know...super helpful feedback- ha!) If I had tons of money to spend on acupuncture, I'd do it again, but acupuncture is not the most cost-efficient. HOWEVER, I'm willing to do any and all to avoid back surgery and pain medicines. I've since seen a chiropractor and had some spinal decompression sessions done. I've also been doing some PT exercises and doing all the sleeping methods and movement suggestions from doctors.

Have you had acupuncture? Let me know! I'd love to chat about it! 

Interesting Articles on Acupuncture and Cupping: 








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