Food & Fitness

Adventures in Acupuncture

I’ve never really had what I would consider “serious” ailments. But over the years, the little things have added up: Strabismus (and the corresponding eye surgery when I was a child to correct it). Right leg 3/4 of an inch shorter than the other. Nightmare disorder. Insomnia. Eating disorder. Abdominal pain. Anxiety. Many of these are related to mental health, but I never really thought of all of this being connected, until the mother dear (a veterinarian who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine) commented on it last month and observed that I have a yin deficiency and that I should probably see a TCM practitioner about it. The yin deficiency, interestingly, could also explain why I love overcast / grey days and ice water.

So I booked an appointment with a local massage therapist / acupuncturist just around the corner from my place and had my first-ever Traditional Chinese Medicine appointment. The first session lasted 1.5 hours and included a lengthy discussion about my history, pulse and tongue diagnosis, massage therapy, and acupuncture. And it was wonderful.

My acupuncturist explained to me that I have a blood weakness / deficiency (in the TCM sense, that is; not in our literal sense of “blood” in Western medicine). Apparently this is something that you can be born with having more susceptibility for, but depending on your environmental factors and emotional experiences etc., it can have a bigger impact. Luckily for me, my acupuncturist also observed that I have a good constitution so we should be able to right the issues.

Within about three minutes of putting acupuncture needles in various points around my abdominal area, I was already getting a great reaction. The needles were left in for half an hour, and it was an extremely relaxing, pleasant half an hour. I’m not sure if this is the normal reaction to acupuncture, but I felt a kind of high from it – my body and mind haven’t felt that good in a long time!

So what happened after the first treatment? These were some of the reactions that I had:

  • The “high,” contented, relaxed, happy feeling didn’t diminish for a while – it was still there and strong three days later. It wasn’t until about the fifth day that it started to dissipate.
  • My hunger and cravings lessened considerably. This was the biggest surprise for me. Normally I’m hungry so much of the time, and when I’m not hungry, I’m craving something. It’s extremely frustrated, especially when you have disordered eating and need to lose at least 10 lbs. But I found that even when there was food all around me, I didn’t feel any great need or desire to eat a bunch of it. I was still eating an appropriate amount, but it wasn’t out of control. And that felt awesome.
  • I slept. And slept. And slept! The first night I think I only had one bad dream – not a nightmare, just a bad dream, which is pretty great. The following few nights, even though I had a couple of nightmares each night, I didn’t wake up a bunch throughout the night, and I awoke after sleeping at least 8 hours feeling well-rested, and the nightmares didn’t “stick” with me all day as they often do.
  • My energy levels increased. This might have been in conjunction with sleeping better, but I found that I was more energetic throughout the day and eager to move around a good deal more.
  • The day after my treatment, I had a little bit of a headache that stuck with me all day long and got worse in the evening. The next morning when I woke up, the headache was gone, but I had a sore throat that lasted until early afternoon. The day after that, these sorts of cold / flu symptoms had disappeared completely.

My second treatment, one week later, was another interesting experience. The night before my second treatment, I had intense nightmares and was waking up every half hour, as though my body had “saved up” all of the poor sleeping and the first acupuncture treatment had finally “worn off.” It was a rough morning! But I had my second treatment late-afternoon that day. It felt just as good as the first treatment. I am looking forward to continuing with the acupuncture and massage therapy to see what changes occur with regular treatments!

Have you had acupuncture or massage therapy? What do you think about it? Share in the comments section below!


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