Curiosity pinned the cat
The first time I got acupuncture, I was healthy, 18, and had no problems besides an intense case of curiosity. Needles made me nervous, but I just couldn’t figure out how being pinned with tiny ones was supposed to make me feel better. So I found a practitioner and went to her office, hoping I hadn’t set myself up for something unpleasant.
She put me on the table, inserted some pins (some felt like tiny pricks but didn’t hurt, some I didn’t feel at all), and left the room.
I laid there, wondering why I was doing this. And then something in my body released. Something in my mind became free. By the time she came back to unpin me, I was having the best, most natural high of my life. And it lasted for hours.
Tiny needles = major relief
The experience was so powerful, I ended up going to acupuncture school some years later. I’ve had clinics on two continents and given over 10,000 treatments, and I can explain what happened to me on that table so many years ago.
Acupuncture works on the whole body. More than mobilizing just one system at a time, it gets all of them to talk to each other. Imagine you pulled a muscle, and it’s sore and hard to move. It’s not just the muscle that’s affected. The blood vessels are constricted. The nerves supplying it are pinched. The connective tissue that wraps it is twisted. Hormones related to stress and inflammation are circulating. When you get all those things to relax together, you relieve the problem. That’s what acupuncture does.
Communication is key to the body functioning well. If there’s a blockage somewhere, that’s when pain develops. Inflammation flares up, circulation stagnates, nutrients don’t flow, cellular waste accumulates. Acupuncture opens the meridians so that body parts can exchange information and supplies. It’s similar to towns on a river trading goods. Say the river gets blocked in a storm. The towns aren’t able to send and receive the items they need. The townspeople have to do without, and nobody likes living in reduced circumstances. The same goes for your cells and organs. They’re at their healthiest when they’re well supplied.
What is it good for? Is it safe?
Since acupuncture promotes good tissue signalling, it can balance you from head to toe. Back pain is probably the most common complaint, because people have heard it’s good for that. (My next article is about back pain. There’s a lot acupuncture can do for it!) It also helps stress, depression, insomnia, menstrual problems, infertility, IBS, jaw pain, headaches, injuries like sprains and strains, sciatica, bloating, fatigue, arthritis, difficulty concentrating, sports performance, quitting smoking, tune-ups (that’s what I went for initially)… I could go on but the list of things I’ve treated would take up the whole page. Best of all, it has practically no side effects. The most common one is falling asleep during treatment—kind of delightful!
When should I try it?
You don’t need to have a problem to get treated. Because it’s holistic, it’s preventative. It can help boost your systems so it’s harder to get knocked out by things like colds, stress or injury. But if you do have something that needs attention, consider your options. If taking pills doesn’t seem like the best answer, acupuncture has over 3000 years of history behind it. That’s a lot of experience to draw on, and a lot of different ways of helping the body.
Ask an Acupuncturist
Every time I go to a party and tell people I’m in medicine, they want me to diagnose them. I can talk about acupuncture for hours—it fascinates me. Plus, I’m always happy people want to learn more about the wonderful construct of their bodies. So I invite you to send me your questions in the reply box below. I’ll answer your questions in future posts here on INSPIRELLE!