Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Acupuncture - wow!!!

August 17th, 2007
Where should I begin? I’ll just start from the beginning…
Several years ago, one of my clients began getting acupuncture treatments. She never told me why or what the end result was, but she used the term “wow” several times. Since then, I’ve wondered about acupuncture - will I really not feel the needles? does it really have any affect that I’ll be able to detect? how will I find a good acupuncturist that’s not some scam artist just poking me? is it expensive? etc, etc, etc.
In May, a girlfriend of mine starting visiting various acupuncturists in our area, but the second one she met, she raved about. I was so pleased with her review, I decided to stop wondering and find out for myself what it’s all about…
In June, I went for my consultation and first session. Dr. Kerri Winston-Slayton, the young lady who was my acupuncturist, asked several questions about my health, medications, lifestyle, stress levels, sleep patterns, eating habits, and physical ailments or concerns. Then she asked me to lie on my back on a massage table. While she worked, she explained the difference between the Japanese and Chinese approach and thought processes to acupuncture. “In the Chinese method, the needles are left in various points of the body, while the Japanese style is to take the needles out immediately after working with a particular section of the body unless there is a concern at that point.” Dr. Kerri uses the Japanese method - which was all good to me since I didn’t want to look down and see a thousand needles projecting from my legs.
My main concern at the first session was my left hip. I’ve been to physicians and physical therapists for an aggravating case of tendinitus that’s been hampering my jogging and fitness routine for at least two years. It was so bad that after any bout of exercise, I’d be limping or in great pain for the rest of the day. I hoped the acupuncture would relieve some of the pain, but I wasn’t completely trusting that it would. No lie - my friends and exercise partners can tell you - I haven’t felt pain in that hip since July. So, long story short - I was sold on acupuncture.
I went back in July for my second session and this time, I focused on the horribly tight and painful area between and above my shoulder blades where I carry all that stress I blogged about last month. I’ve been getting massage from various therapists for over 8 years trying to “get the rocks out of my back and neck” to no avail. In fact, massage is usually so painful for me in that area, I would sometimes be in tears during the session. (Side note here - everywhere else on my body is blissfully happy during a massage. I often fall asleep until the therapist gets to those knots in my neck/back and I start to cry like a baby - wimp that I am) So, without much hope for success, I asked her to work the acupuncture magic on my stress spot. When she first approached the area, gently touching, palpating and kneading my shoulders and upper rhomboids, I felt the pain immediately and just tried to breathe, like I was in labor again, to calm down. She applied the needles and, this time, left the needles in to work a little longer in the extremely tight area.
Now, it’s important for me to express something here. You may be wondering if I ever felt the needles. No - it simply feels like she’s tapping softly on points of my body. I can’t tell when a needle is in, being taken out or is still there when she’s done. So, I had no idea the needles were still in my back when she left me to relax and meditate at the end of the session. As the laws of science would have it, I had to go to the bathroom right then and there, and I couldn’t hold it any longer. So, I got up from the table to go to the restroom and was surprised to see a needle fall to the floor from my shoulder - uh oh. Anyway, Dr. Kerri took care of me, I relieved myself and 2-3 weeks later, some of the tightness and pain in my shoulders had subsided. I could actually give myself a gentle shoulder massage and roll my head around my neck without yelling out in pain. In fact, I’ve noticed that I don’t shrug my shoulders anymore when I’m in the office, driving or working on the computer - now that’s a first in about 9 years.
Two days ago was my third session, because now, I’m absolutely sold on the positive results of acupuncture on my physical and mental state. I didn’t really have any particular thing to focus on, so I just went because I really like it and I”m sure something is being improved upon in my body that I’m just not aware of. Boy was I right.
The first thing Dr. Kerri did was to put the needles in points along my shin just below my knees. While she was working, she asked me a few questions and took my pulse between injecting and removing needles. As she worked and I answered/talked, I felt my stomach jumping and gurgling and moving around. Should I not have eaten that banana and drunk that bottle of water before the session, I wondered to myself? But by the time she’d gotten to the fourth needle, I felt like I was in the last month of the 2nd trimester of pregnancy because something was really moving and kicking in my abdominal area - not in a painful, uncomfortable way, just weird and pregnant-like. So I asked, “Excuse me, Dr. Kerri, my stomach is really gurgling and moving around. Is that because of what you’re doing or should I avoid eating before my sessions?” She laughed softly and said, “It’s me. I’m working on your digestive system right now. It’s good to eat before your session, because it gives the digestive system something to work on when I get that area going.” Wow.
When my children came home that afternoon from school and starting running around like crazy lunatics and couldn’t focus on their school projects (yes, the kids in Georgia have already gone back to school - Thank GOD!), I was weirdly calm. When we went to the grocery store to get a box of donuts and brownie mix for their projects (don’t ask, just accept that they needed those items), I, for some strange reason, didn’t even CRAVE my favorite Publix daily-made yeast-rise donuts. Each child, my husband and my brother ate them for dessert that evening. I never even looked at them. (Seriously, Publix’s yeast ring donuts are my FAVORITE guilty pleasure food. Second is Black Forest Gummy Worms. Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm. So this was truly a serious miracle) That night, I slept so hard, I didn’t even hear the alarm ringing in the morning. My husband had to come out of the shower, turn it off and call to me several times to wake me from the deep sleep I was in (I’m usually a light sleeper). Wow.
Now, I don’t know if all that stuff is directly related to the acupuncture, but I’ll tell you four things - 1) I would have done anything, including hip surgery, to end the pain in my hip. Since acupuncture, I haven’t felt more than a twinge once in awhile; 2) I’ve had knots and rocks in my shoulders/upper back for the last 9 years. The fact that I can sit and type this without having to take a break and literally push my shoulders down from my ears is amazing. Only since acupunture; 3) I have NEVER gone in Publix one week before my menstrual cycle (I know - TMI) and NOT gotten a box of yeast-ring donuts and eaten two before I made it home. Two days ago it happened and I didn’t even WANT them! Acupuncture?; 4) I hadn’t been sleeping well since Sunday trying to prepare my 5-year old for kindergarten at a new school. I slept HARD two nights ago and again last night. I really think it’s the acupuncture.
Now I completely understand my client’s comments all those years ago - wow. There is a lot that Dr. Kerri explained to me about anatomy, the body, our systems and how everything is linked through various pressure points. I can feel the connections as she works. I don’t feel the needles and I’ve gotten more results in three months than I’ve ever received in the past 9 years of doctor and therapist visits. Wow is all I have to say to that.

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