Today I am going to talk about my first acupuncture session.
Acupuncture is something that had been suggested to me by numerous different people but something I never really considered because I was incredibly sceptical. I also have an incredible fear of needles and I am an over thinker and worrier. So even just thinking about acupuncture was too much for me. I would imagine every negative scenario that could happen, from rolling off the bed and becoming a human pin cushion, to thinking what would happen if I was just left on the bed and the acupuncturist went home (Spoiler, neither of these things happened.)
However, on a particular painful Friday at work, I booked a session on a whim with a man who was highly recommended by everyone I spoke to. Expecting a long wait time (which would have allowed me to cancel the appointment when my fears got too much), I was given an appointment for the following Monday. Just 3 days later. No time to pull out of that one! What will follow is my summary of my first session, followed by my top tips for acupuncture.
My acupuncturist had a good look at my tongue, took my pulse, listened to my tales of arthritic woe and examined my dodgy joints. Before I had any time to think of it, I was lying on the bed, sleeves and trouser legs rolled up having the needles inserted. I had four in my left shoulder, which went from normal to incredibly painful and stiff just two weeks before. One in my right wrist, which often ‘seizes’ up, and I have to shake it out for it to click and feel normal again. One in each knee, which have both had previous bouts of severe swelling and steroid injections. One in my right ankle, which is perpetually slightly swollen, and 4 in my left foot. The problem foot. I had one between each of my toes.
Truthfully, I didn’t feel the needles be inserted. There was no pain. I was only mildly aware of the needles going in to my knees, and I think that was because he slightly moved the needles to get them into position.
I was then advised to relax, close my eyes, and try and have a nap. Easier said than done! I started to relax as the session went on but I didn’t get the nap I was hoping for. I think I was left like this for 20 minutes before he came back and gently removed each of the needles, wiping each area down as he went.
After the session, I definitely felt *something*. I don’t quite know what I felt. Relaxed. A little bit out of it even. I felt nice. I booked another session for a fortnights time, no longer quite the sceptic I was.
My only concern after session one was that the needles had left very blue bruising on my left foot. It wasn’t painful, but a visible after effect. In the week after the session, I definitely noticed I was having far fewer problems with the right wrist. I no longer needed to shake it back in to place. Coincidence? I don’t know. The only way to find out was to go back…..
My top tips for acupuncture:
1) Do your homework. You must ensure that the practitioner that you see is a member of the British Acupuncture Council. Through their website you can enter your postcode to find approved clinics near you.
2) Wear loose comfortable clothing – Depending on where the needles will be inserted, you may need to roll up sleeves and trousers legs. I wore a baggy tee shirt and jogging bottoms that were easy to roll up and comfortable.
3) Go with an open mind. Leave any fears and assumptions at the door.
4) Talk through with the acupuncturist your condition and all aches and pains. I filled in a form beforehand and thought I was going to need an extra page! When talking to him about my extensive list of pains, he was able to target my problem areas to ensure I got the most benefit from the session.
5) Don’t expect to feel the benefits after one session. You might be required to attend a few before you’ll notice any difference.
6) Finally….Relax! It’s easier said than done, I was so tense and so clammy I had to be given a towel to dry my hands off!