Self-Care Challenge (Day 253): Getting Acupuncture

Etched glass with bamboo

On day 253 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I had my first acupuncture treatment.

Getting poked full of needles might seem like a questionable way to spend a Friday afternoon, but that’s exactly what I did. Yesterday I received my first-ever acupuncture treatment as part of my 366 Days of Self-Care Challenge.

Did it help? The jury is still out, but it was super interesting.

Fortunately, needles don’t bother me. And even if they did, I couldn’t see much of anything while I was lying face-down on the treatment table. Of the 22 needles that my acupuncturist placed, I only felt about six of them. It wasn’t what I would describe as painful; the sensation was something between a pinch and a sting.

But the ones I did feel were in the exact areas that I had been experiencing the most discomfort. The body is an interesting, mysterious machine indeed. In fact, the tender areas–my shoulders and lower back – were what brought me in for treatment in the first place.

My practitioner was amazing. She explained the procedure, asked me a few questions, allowed me a chance to ask questions of my own, and got right to work.

The entire treatment took about 90 minutes. In my stillness, I oscillated between relaxation and anxiety. There were times when I felt myself drift off to sleep, but then, perhaps realizing what was happening, my eyes jolted open and I felt myself breathing deeply.

While the treatment wasn’t painful at all, I could tell something was happening to me physically. I felt out of sorts immediately after rising from the table. It seemed like my senses were hyper-sensitive. I was aware of everything. My throat was dry. I had a headache. Lights seemed brighter. Sounds were more abrupt.

Whether those sensations were real or perceived, I have no idea. But I do know that my pain level decreased somewhere between the time I arrived and the time I left. The mild inflammation that the needles had just produced, along with the endorphins that were now circulating in my bloodstream, had taken the edge off.

Acupuncture is something I’ve always been curious about, and now I can cross it off my list.

What has been your experience with acupuncture?

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