People say “this won’t hurt” about a lot of things. Let’s face it, they’re usually lying. So I was nervous before and during my first acupuncture appointment. In college, I almost passed out in a hospital watching my friend get a saline drip while I was slowly sobering up from a night of drinking. Don’t worry we both survived! But ever since then, the sight of needles makes me nauseous and light-headed. I was totally freaked by the thought of several needles being inserted and just hanging out of me.
At the same time, I was sick and desperate and running out of options. My first appointment lasted two or three hours. I filled out forms and then the acupuncturist talked with me for a long time about my medical history, my diet, and my symptoms, among other things. She not only listened to my answers but observed me and determined that I had a spleen chi deficiency. It sounded crazy to my western ears but I had been reading The Web Has No Weaver and was ready for it.
She assured me acupuncture needles were much smaller than medical needles, even smaller than safety pins or sewing needles. She would be using the smallest needles on me since it was my first time. Besides, most of the pain of doctors’ needles comes from fluids being extracted or injected–which is not happening in acupuncture.
She was kind and reassuring. The room was quiet, softly lit, smelled sweet from scented oils, I was laying on a soft massage bed and she talked me through everything. It was more of a spa atmosphere than a doctor’s office. I felt I trusted her even though we just met a couple hours earlier. When she said it wouldn’t hurt–at most I would feel a small pinch–I did not believe her. I figured my life had become frequently painful and I could tolerate a little more, if it would diminish the long term pain.
As it turns out, she was telling the truth. It didn’t hurt. Since then, I occasionally feel a prick, but it’s fleeting. The immediate feeling of relaxation and peacefulness during acupuncture is hard to explain. It’s like getting a great massage, meditating, and being half asleep. I love it!
I wrote my first post for this blog about acupuncture because it was the catalyst for so much change in my life. Since then, I have tried many new things. All sorts of new foods, meditation, exercise equipment, blogging, attitudes… I realized I allowed my illness to trap me in a box of fear. For many reasons–too many to list here–that first acupuncture appointment helped me find a way out of that fear.
What is something you want to try, but never have? Why? Have you tried something new with surprising, positive results?