Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Lifestyle Blog: My Acupuncture Experience

Have you ever tried acupuncture? It's always been something I've wanted to try.  I recently got the opportunity to do just that.  Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine derived from traditional Chinese medicine.  There are many different techniques of acupuncture.  The most common form practiced in the United States involves the strategic placement of thin needles into the skin along particular points in the body.  Acupuncture has been used for many reasons.  Most common reasons for acupuncture treatments include the relief of pain, stress, or to increase blood flow to certain areas of the body. 

In the pole and aerial world, injuries can be fairly common and can easily fall into the category of chronic conditions.  For those undergoing treatment for a chronic injury, implementing acupuncture into the recovery regimen for pain may prove to be very beneficial for the overall healing process.  I first heard about acupuncture through a support group for an issue I've been being treated for the past eighteen months.  I won't go into detail publicly as those who I have chosen to share my ordeal with have already been informed.  I do want to shed light on acupuncture and share my experience with this form of alternative medicine with my readers as I didn't know much about the process prior to my first treatment.  I will be receiving consecutive treatments the next few months as part of my overall treatment plan so I will be sharing any updates or conclusions in a future blog post where I can go more in depth.

For my first treatment, I had a basic consultation discussing any issues and reasons for treatment with my therapist.  After the consultation, we moved into a room set up like a massage room.  I also get regular monthly massages so I am quite familiar with the arrangement of the massage table.  My treatment started face down and the therapist placed the needles in my head and down my back.  The "antennas" in my head, as I found myself referring to them as, were quite a strange experience. Once the needles were all placed, I was to rest for 15-20 minutes while the needles basically "did their thing."  While lying on the table, I experienced different sensations.  Most prominent was the feeling of a general achy/tightness where each needle was inserted.  The needles are very small and there wasn't any pain during the process.  It was just an overall awareness that the needles were in place. After my first rest cycle, the therapist returned to the room and removed the first set of needles.  I then flipped over and the second cycle of the treatment was conducted down the front of my body.  This side of my body must be much more active in sensory receptors because I felt more tingling in specific muscles than I had on the back side of my body.  Again, no sensations that were perceived as painful were experienced.  The whole process was actually quite relaxing. 

After my treatment was done, I felt very similar to how I feel post full body massage.  My therapist said it is called the "acupuncture high."  I usually refer to my post massage period as being "massage drunk."  The remainder of the evening I was to take it easy.  I didn't notice any bruising or bleeding at any of the needle sites, which was a pre-treatment warning of side effects I'd read on paperwork prior to the treatment.  In conclusion, I found my experience to be very relaxing.  I felt like the treatment helped for the reason I initially went for.  I will be having more treatments these next couple months so I am curious to see if the whole process provides an improved response to my current treatments.  Only time will tell. 

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