As many of you know, I suffer from horrible stomach issues and chronic pain in my hands, arms, shoulders and feet. I've been to countless doctors and have really gotten nowhere in my journey to heal. I decided to seek out an acupuncturist to see if that would help so here are my thoughts...
A friend of mine gave me the contact information for her acupuncturist so I made an appointment and went for my first session . Surprisingly, I really wasn't nervous despite having no clue what I was getting myself into, although I definitely my fair share of research. The therapist had me fill out a ton of paperwork, asked me a million questions about my condition and what issues I was experiencing, took my pulse several times and looked at my tongue. She told me she can tell a lot about a person's condition from their pulse and the appearance of their tongue...who knew!?!
Once she completed the initial consultation, she had me lie face down and performed cupping on my back and shoulders. Cupping is a form of therapy that involves placing cups on the affected area using heat and suction. As the heated cup is placed on the skin, a vacuum is created from the cooling and becomes a type of massage. She let the cups adhere to my skin for about 5 minutes and then pulled them off leaving different variations of dark bruising. The process is meant to improve circulation and help detox the system. She did tell me the longer the bruises last, the worse the circulation in that area...my bruises lasted 4-5 days. The entire process was really easy and not painful at all.
Next, she had me turn over and lie face up. She then applied the acupuncture needles. At first, I had no clue she was doing it. I felt her brush my hair with her hand but didn't realize at the time she actually put needles in my head!!! She continued to apply them in my stomach (yes, you read that right...my stomach), arms, hands, legs and feet. None of them were painful at all and she inserted them quickly. She then turned out the lights, said "time to take a nap" and left the room for 20 minutes. I don't know about you but as a busy mom, I welcome an opportunity to take a nap so I was in heaven! She had relaxing music playing so it didn't take me long to fall into total relaxation and I never felt any discomfort at all. After 20 minutes, she came back in and took the needles out in seconds. She then asked me about my pain and at first, I really didn't feel any relief. She then started pressing on different pressure points to see if any of them relieved the pain...again, no improvement. She worked on me for a total of 2 hours and I left feeling the same as when I walked in but I knew I wouldn't get instant results so I made another appointment and kept my hopes up. She did give me some herbs she thought would help my digestion and after a few days, I have noticed some improvement.
A few days later I went for my second session and it was the same process as the first. After the second session, I did notice some improvement for a day but the pain did come back...same thing after the third session.
So here I am, I've had 3 acupuncture sessions and while I'm not pain free and my stomach is still really bad, I will continue with acupuncture for several weeks. I feel I need to really give it a full month before I can decide if it's really helping. I have enjoyed the sessions and have learned so much from the therapist. She's awesome about answering all of my questions and she really explains everything about the healing process. She did say I'm one of the toughest cases she's ever seen (no surprise there) but she is confident she can help alleviate some of my pain and she firmly believes my chronic pain is a result of my lifelong gut issues (again, no surprise). So, overall, I'm extremely pleased with the acupuncture process and highly recommend it for anyone dealing with chronic pain, headaches, sleep issues, or any other issues. If you choose to try acupuncture, make sure you research the therapist and they are certified. I pray I'm heading in the right direction in my healing journey!