Do you ever feel like multiple things keep going wrong with or in your body all at once and you feel like there is NO way they are all independent and not interrelated?! Recently (and let’s be real, over the past few years), I have been struggling with digestive issues, insomnia, anxiety, and recurring injuries. I have turned to physicians in multiple disciplines, whether orthopedics, gastroenterology, psychiatry, and physical therapy, which in turn have provided (mostly) quick fixes for these issues, but yet they always seem to come back (and always seem to come back at around the same time). So, when I felt something go wrong in my back during a squat last week and a few days later had my heartburn recur, I felt like it was time to take a new approach to treating and healing my body and its ailments.
A few friends of mine have been all about acupuncture and Eastern Medicine for a while now. I was always hesitant to try, first of all I am the biggest baby when it comes to needles and second I couldn’t imagine finding time in my day for more doctors. This time though, my back pain was bad and I knew it was time for a new approach. I quickly called a few friends, got a few recommendations, and made the first appointment I could get with Molly at 8 Point Wellness in NYC.
For those of you unfamiliar with acupuncture, it is one of the practices used in traditional Chinese medicine. Specifically, it is a technique in which practitioners stimulate specific points on the body, most often by inserting thin needles through the skin. The needles are inserted at specific points in the body to elicit various healing responses in the body. There has been extensive research conducted on acupuncture, especially with regard to neck and back pain, knee pain, osteoarthritis, and headache, which has shown that acupuncture, can help manage certain pain conditions. Eastern medicine is also used to treat allergies, asthma, anxiety, depression, dizziness, fatigue, GI disorders, immune deficiencies, and more.
I was excited, and slightly nervous, heading into my first appointment. Even though I had done my research and knew some acupuncture basics, I really had no idea what to expect. When I arrived, Molly introduced herself and handed me a multi page questionnaire. She warned me that some of the questions may seem irrelevant, but that in Eastern Medicine it is important to see the whole person, rather than a specific complaint or ailment. She was right, some of the questions seemed so unrelated and pretty personal (like rating my relationship with my family, work, and significant other), but once I finished the form and Molly and I started talking through my answers, my medical history, and my current complaints, it became pretty clear how so many things in my life and health are interrelated in ways I never would have initially imagined. Molly commented on what she thought some of my underlying issues were (and where in the body they were resonating from) and how she thought we should tackle them with acupuncture during our sessions. She also suggested some small dietary changes to try, which I am excited to put into practice.
For the actual acupuncture session, I was instructed to lie on my back on the table. Molly then inserted fine sterile needles in specific points of my body, aimed to address my digestive issues and back pain specifically. As I mentioned, I am such a baby when it comes to needles, so I didn’t look as they were inserted, but I really could barely feel them at all. After the needles were inserted, Molly advised me of some of the feelings or sensations I may experience during the treatment. Personally, I closed my eyes and tried to meditate during the length of the session, as I have so much trouble staying still. Basically, it just felt like a really good savasana and the entire experience was very relaxing. When Molly returned, she removed the needles (also pain free) and explained that I may feel euphoric and blissed out following the treatment (she added that some people refer to this as “acu-stoned”).
When my acupuncture treatment was over, Molly asked if I wanted to try cupping, and after my positive acupuncture experience, I could barely contain my excitement in saying yes (but more on cupping to come another time). Let’s just say that I loved my entire experience and my first real exposure to Eastern Medicine. While not quite the quick fix I am used to from some of my doctors, I am excited to see what acupuncture can do for me. And ultimately, even though I hate needles, I loved my acupuncture experience and can’t wait to go back for more.
For more on Molly and 8 Point Wellness, click here.