For years, I wouldn’t even think of trying acupuncture — and I had some good reasons. First of all, I didn’t believe it would work — it just sounded too far-fetched and “new-agey” to me. Second, like many others, I hate needles. The thought of lying in some room while someone repeatedly poked me with a multitude of needles just did not sound like fun. As years passed, I grew more open-minded, so when a highly-respected M.D. prescribed it to me, I figured it was worth trying.
A year ago, I developed severe tendonitis, due to a horribly misguided ergonomic setup at a former job. For a writer, this can be extremely detrimental. It hurt to sit at my desk and write for long periods of time, typing was painful, and I would wake up in the middle of the night with severe pain and a wrist that was getting way more sleep than I was.
I went to an orthopedic doctor who prescribed physical therapy, which I received twice a week for eight months. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely — it included an amazing massage, ultrasound treatment, electrode stimulation and heat compressions. I would feel good for a few days after each session, but the pain always came back.
Finally, my doctor asked if I would be open to trying acupuncture. I hadn’t considered it, but was willing to try anything at this point. After all, a writer who can’t write is … nothing. I did some research and learned that acupuncture was one of the oldest healing practices in the world, practiced in China and other Asian countries for thousands of years.
It’s a procedure used in Chinese medicine, during which specific body areas are pierced with fine needles for therapeutic purposes, to relieve pain or produce regional anesthesia. It is based on the concept that illness results from blockage in the body’s delicate flow of qi (pronounced “chi”), the Chinese term for energy, and imbalance in the forces of yin and yang; acupuncture seeks to aid healing by removing those blockages to restore the yin-yang balance and the flow of qi.
I booked my first appointment and nervously got ready for the barrage of needles. I went and laid down in a room until my now-acupuncturist-for-life, Christian Cristiano( acupuncturebychristian.com), came in. First, he told me to show him my tongue. I figured he was about to stick a ton of needles in me, so why not stick my tongue out at him? Turns out, different regions of the tongue represent different organs in the body; therefore, in Chinese medicine, the tongue is used to diagnose what’s going on with the body’s organs.
Next, he showed me how fine the needles were — barely the width of a hair — and assured me it wasn’t going to hurt, but that I might feel my qi moving around. He placed them in myriad places all over my body, and then let me rest for a little while. Later, he came back and twisted the needles, to reactivate the qi, and then I relaxed for a little longer. I didn’t feel an ounce of pain; in fact, I almost felt euphoric. After he took out the needles, I felt amazing. I was full of energy yet relaxed at the same time … my yin and yang must have been in balance!
It was easy and painless, and after only five treatments, my tendonitis significantly decreased. Three sessions later, and it was nearly gone. After eight months of western-style physical therapy, I had no real results. With a month of acupuncture treatments, I was cured. “People often wait too long to come to us. They’ll take a plethora of drugs, have surgery or just live in pain for too long,” Christian said. “Why not start with the least invasive, least risky, least harmful and most natural form of treatment? If Chinese medicine doesn’t help, then pursue a more western approach. ”
I have also received treatment for migraines, and even to expedite the healing of a nasty wound. I recently jammed my leg into a dresser drawer and got a nasty cut just days before a big red carpet event. Christian surrounded the area with needles, causing it to heal exponentially faster, just in time for me to peel off that Mickey Mouse band-aid before I slipped into my designer gown.
This inspired me to dig deeper — I found out that acupuncture treats a wide range of conditions including pain management, digestive issues, arthritis, headaches, orthopedic ailments, fertility enhancement, gynecological issues, anxiety and stress, insomnia and many other common health problems. There are even practitioners who perform facelifts and other anti-aging treatments using acupuncture. For a complete list of conditions that can be treated with acupuncture, click here.
Relatively few complications due to acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, and there are little to no side effects. If you have a condition that won’t go away or just need to decompress, I highly recommend giving acupuncture a try. It feels great, and it can’t hurt. Christian’s words of wisdom: “Keep an open mind, be relaxed during your treatment, and make sure to see a licensed practitioner only.”
Chaton Anderson is a Writer and the Publicity Director for TheSavvyGal.com. A product and pop culture addict, she is always looking for the coolest, hippest things on the market, as well as the newest health and fitness trends to hit the scene. Email her at Chaton@TheSavvyGal.com with questions or leads on products and services on the cutting edge.