Just A Little Prick

I’d been looking forward to my Sunday Acupuncture appointment all week. I had high hopes of it curing me. Maybe that’s not the best way to look at something because it sets me up for disappointment if it DOESN’T work…but I hadn’t felt satisfied with my physical therapy appointment last week and the Acupuncture was kind of the last resort.

My appointment was with Working Class Acupuncture. My doctor recommended it. It’s a sliding scale so working people can afford the treatment. In that aspect, it’s good.

When I made the appointment over the phone last week, nothing was really explained to me. So imagine my surprise when I arrive and the receptionist tells me it’s a group session. Um, what?

Why wasn’t this explained to me over the phone? I was confused as to how it would work. The way I pictured the acupuncture was sort of like massage–me in a private room, undressed, laying on a massage table while I get the acupuncture treatment.

The Acupuncturist gave me a tour of the room. There were two big rooms with a bunch of recliner chairs. He explained that people come and go, sit in the recliner as long as they need and get the treatment, then leave. The room was dimly lit and there was calming music playing. I was a bit put off by this.

And even more unhappy when they said they treat below the knees and below the elbows.

WHAT?! Again! Something that should have been said when I made the appointment.

I tried to be an adult and not totally lose it. I was close though. I explained to him that I felt misinformed and that I was unhappy because my injury was above the knee.

He explained that there are trigger points all over the body to treat different parts of the body and that he could put the needles in my ears to treat my foot, etc. Okay, I guess that makes sense.

I wasn’t told to wear loose-fitting clothes either. Again, I thought I’d be disrobing in a private room. I was wearing jeans. Tight jeans at that because I’d just done laundry!

I was mega annoyed by the time I got to the chair. I pulled up my jeans the best I could. I tried to relax in the chair even though I was mad.

The room was too dark to get any good pictures of my acupuncture treatment, but Google to the rescue!

I explained to the Acupuncturist what happened to my leg and what kind of treatment I was looking for. I specifically asked for treatment for my IT Band.

He put a bunch of the needles in me in various places. A few on my head, in my ears.

The needles weren’t big and they didn’t hurt. It was a tiny prick. Less than a flu shot. More than a bee sting. He put a lot of needles up my left arm and in my left hand. He only put a few in my right side. He also put a lot of needles in various spots on my legs and feet.

The needles were all brand new and he opened them in front of me. When he was done with them he discarded them in a Bio-hazard Disposal box that was at each station.

There was one spot on my ankle that hurt when he put the needle in. He said to give it a minute and see if the pain went away–it did, so he left it in. There was another one on my right arm that hurt like a mother! It was burning and I tried waiting a minute but the discomfort didn’t dissipate. I asked him to take that one out.

Other than that, it wasn’t painful and it wasn’t scary. The needles didn’t hurt. He left to check on other patients and I was left to relax. Within 5 minutes of him leaving I was asleep. This is abnormal for me. I have insomnia–it takes me forever to fall asleep. Not only that, when I get massages it usually takes about 40 minutes before I fall asleep (of course I fall asleep right before the massage is over).

I drifted off in a weird in-between land during most of the Acupuncture session. My left arm would twitch randomly too. It was sort of like when you’re dreaming that you’re falling and your whole body twitches. It was like that but just my left arm. It was the strangest thing.

I felt relaxed and comfortable. I woke up after about 25 minutes or so. I felt groggy and kind of uncomfortable–just like after a massage where I just feel groggy and want to sleep it off.

He removed the needles after about 45/50 minutes total. I went home unsure of how to process my experience. He told me I should come in a few times a week to see any progress.

I believe in Eastern healing. I feel like Acupuncture would probably help a lot of my ailments. But in this aspect? I’m not sure.

I’m annoyed that nothing was explained to me on the phone and I’m not sure if my session actually did anything. I had placed a lot of hope that Acupuncture would cure me, now I feel deflated.

QUESTION: Have you had Acupuncture? Tell me about your experience.

12 Responses

  1. Wow that is totally weird that it was a group session! It is true though that different paths of the body have a lot of different pressure points so I’m sure they hit a lot of the IT band. I had acupuncture once for my back along with cupping but it didn’t help me that much. I do believe in Eastern medicine though and for some things i really think it can help.

  2. You are a braver woman than I with all those needles! I have a hard enough time just donating blood. I would never get acupuncture. There are good things about Eastern medicine that I think we should embrace in Western medicine, but i don’t think acupuncture is one of them (my opinion only). Plus, if there is a benefit, I think you have to go a lot of times for it to show.

  3. Oh shoot – because I didn’t know what you were expecting, I didn’t know to explain it in better detail. (I don’t work there, Lisa and I had just sorta talked about it before)

    I have been in a room with other people but a little more divided than it sounds like you were. I’m glad I told you to say something if it burns because that is not good, especially if it does not go away.

    I think now that you know what to expect you should give it another chance, especially since you were able to drift off like that. I think that is a very good sign. I tried it a number of times before it just didn’t seem like the pain was going to stay away. But mine was expensive and only partly covered by insurance.

    This reminds me that I should post about my Beijing foot massage I got over the weekend. It was UNBELIEVABLE! Do you have those in Portland ‘cuz if so I’m moving NOW!

  4. I’m sorry you had such a bad experience! You are right, you should have been told that it was a group session. You should have been asked if you had ever been there before, and once you said no they should have told you what to expect. It’s basic customer service (I feel). I personally believe that acupunture works well. I had horrible sciatica (sp) and after a couple of treatments it was all but gone. It still pops up now and again but isn’t constant anymore. I had acupunture at the physio (he is dual qualified) and I was in a room with two beds but they were curtained so everything was private.

  5. I’ve not heard of group acupuncture sessions before and completely understand how that set you off on the wrong foot. It sounds as though you got some benefit -I’m sure falling asleep is a good sign. I have always been sceptical of alternative therapies but when I was pregnant in ’96 my doctor offered me acupuncture for my bad back. It worked brilliantly and after a couple of very sore days initially I had permanent results. If you feel comfortable doing so, I would suggest going back and giving it another go.
    Ps I’m a new reader and have been blown away by your success, what an inspiration you are.

  6. I have a friend who is an acupuncturist in Olympia, WA. Never heard it being done this way but you might check and see if there are other places you can go. I’d also call them and talk to someone – besides the receptionist! – and explain what happened. In the very least, they should have asked if you’d ever been there before. Good luck!

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