Acupuncture: Going Under the Needle

I’ll try anything once. But poking needles into my body never seemed like something I’d like at ALL … as in … not EVEN once. However, a single visit to the YinOva Center in downtown NYC has changed that. I’ve had many friends turn to alternative medicine for any number of problems in their lives; everything from fertility, to PMS, to depression. So I decided to try it out myself.

What did I need to fix? That’s something I had a hard time with myself. I’m certainly not ready for a baby, am blessed to not suffer from “women’s” complications, and overall I’m a happy girl. It wasn’t until I actually sat down for a consultation with licensed acupuncturist Jill Blakeway that I realized how many “issues” I was actually having.

"Let’s start with your sleep patterns" … Of course I don’t sleep enough. "Do you drink?" I mean … not at the office. "Eat right?" Not a chance. I’m a NEW YORKER for God’s sake. I’m stressed and so are the millions of other women I pass every day. So what?

It wasn’t long until she had me pinned—my “qi” (pronounced “chi”) is stuck”. In a nutshell that means my energy (qi) doesn’t flow freely through my body causing all types of stress related issues. Erm … ok … so how is poking around going to help?

Jill explained that there is an electrical sensation that occurs in acupuncture which helps the blood and energy start to flow freely again. Ok … I’m game. She stuck ten needles over my entire body: two on the tops of my feet, two on my wrists, two in my left ear (which surprisingly doesn’t hurt), two on my forearms, and two below the knee. She then told me to just “relax” for the next twenty minutes. YEAH RIGHT LADY! I’M A HUMAN PIN CUSHION! But about five minutes after she left the room, an overwhelming sense of calm fell over me. I could literally feel waves running through my body; a sort of dull ache, but not one that hurts. I was somewhere in between sleep and a dream-like trance when she reappeared. Twenty minutes had gone by so fast! She quickly removed the pins (no blood, no marks) and that was it. As I left the office, I felt very calm, soothed, almost Zen. I don’t know if it was the treatment, but I slept like a baby that night.

For the next few days I swear I just felt “better”. Happier, and calmer. Maybe there IS something to this alternative medicine (it has been used for thousands of years). So I decided to go back. Round two was equally as nice. After being greeted by her friendly office staff, Jill and I sat down to talk. Oddly (or conveniently) enough, the night before I had pulled my neck and was in agonizing pain all day. So she began my treatment on my back and neck. And it WORKED! I could feel the muscle actually releasing. After 20 minutes she was able to take the needles out and massage out my muscle spasm! AMAZING! She then repeated the treatment from the week before. I left the office on a cloud. And slept like a baby once again.

It’s official. I’m hooked; sold on this far-east treat (I call it this because it feels less like a visit to the doctor and more like a day at the spa). I’ll continue treatment for the next few weeks and am eager to see my stress symptoms fade away. Do I think you should run out and find your very own Jill? Well … yes. I do. Especially if you find that Western medicine isn’t working for you. Jill says that alternative medicine is a complement to western medicine but I say, ditch the pills for some pins! Also, like ANY good medical practitioner, you’ve got to find someone who you are comfortable with. Jill is like that cool aunt who bought you beer for the first time. I trust her. Enough so that I’m going to “stick” with it. Most importantly, look for someone who’s licensed. Although proper credentials do not ensure competency, they do indicate that the practitioner has met certain standards to treat patients.

For more health information check out our Health section. And to learn more about different types of alternative medicine click here.

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