Acupuncture can be traced back to at least 100 BCE. Needles have been found in the tomb of Liu Sheng, a King of the Western Han Empire of China. In simple terms, it involves needles, heat, and/or pressure to “acupuncture points” along the body’s meridians. Points tend to be located where nerves enter a muscle, the midpoint of a muscle, or where the muscle joins the bone. Additionally, acupuncture works by balancing the yin, yang, and qi, energies of the human body, for overall health and wellness.
Even by Westerners, Chinese Medicine is commonly looked upon with favorability because 1) It has few to no side effects, and 2) Numerous testimonies indicate that there are several benefits of acupuncture. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Chinese medicine, and until I spent two months with a torn hamstring, I had never tried acupuncture before, despite hearing its praises. Impatience, annoyance, and boredom compelled me to try it for healing and pain relief.
For over two months of little to no physical activity, my hamstring had been healing at a slow but steady pace and had been causing a continual, dull discomfort that had spread to my lower back. Armed with nothing but ignorance and curiosity, I called an acupuncturist and set up an appointment thinking hey, it couldn’t hurt…
I arrived at the acupuncturist’s office, and a Chinese man over the age of 50 with a gentle voice and calm demeanor had me complete paperwork and asked questions about my hamstring and physical sensations. He then felt my pulse and said I was low energy and encourage me to drink only room temperature water after the treatment. Then we began the treatment.
I lay face down on the comfortable table, wearing only underwear from the waist down, and he began to put the needles in me– behind each knee, near my angles, my lower back, and my right hamstring. The needles didn’t hurt, yet I could feel them– something similar to a pinch. He explained which needles were for circulation, heart health, and cleaning of the liver and colon and which were to signal to the body that energy should be directed to my hamstring for healing. He left the needles in, turned the lights down, came back 20 minutes later, and I’m sure I resembled a porcupine. He then added a machine that connected to each needle and gently ran electrical currents through them, which felt like small taps where the needles were placed. He paired this with heat, which was relaxing and pleasant. He again left me like this for about 20 minutes in dim, relaxing lighting.
When he returned he removed each needle in a specific order and asked me about my current physical sensations. To each question, I replied, honestly that I felt better. Additionally, what I hadn’t realized during the acupuncture process was that an undeniable peace had come over me. Walking out of the office, not only did I feel no physical pain (a feat for someone with a hamstring injury) I felt still, and I felt like smiling. The process took around 50 minutes.
I returned the next week for a follow-up hamstring treatment and a treatment for a minor head cold which included needles in my cheeks (over my sinuses), in my third eye (between my eyebrows), and at the base of my head on the back of my neck. Again he explained to me the reason why he placed each needle. Again, I walked out of the acupuncture office an hour later, feeling peaceful, without pain, and this time miraculously, with clear sinuses.
For those raised in the West, conditioned to believe in anti-bacterial medication and stiff braces to enforce bone alignment, believing in the strategic placement of needles can seem difficult and strange. But the human body is a mystery that science from all parts of the world continues to explore. Acupuncture as an affordable and healthy alternative one can try when facing health challenges and an option when other solutions are not working. Acupuncture patients attend for a variety of reasons and with a variety of frequencies. Some attend every week for injury treatment or to ease stress and depression. Some attend every three months for balance and circulation. Some attend every six months or every year to instill peace in the body and clarity in the mind. Acupuncture is a great tool to consider when caring for health.
Benefits of Acupuncture:
–Aids in pain relief–for migraines, back pain, joint pain, and injuries, among other sources of pain
–Aids the healing process for injuries
–Improves heart conditions
–Can treat depression
–Boosts immune system
–Cleanses the body of toxins and impurities
–Assists body in combating illnesses such as the common cold
–Assists body in combating bacterial infections
–Energizes and improves focus
Have you tried acupuncture? What benefits did you experience?
Also by Anastasia: 7 Tips for Surviving and Appreciating the Workday
Related: My First Acupuncture Experience
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Photo: Balanced Life