Trying Acupuncture for First Time
Source: Philly Magazine
I Tried Acupuncture for the First Time — And I Can’t Wait to Go Back
Growing up, I always had a book in my hand. In middle school, I read “A Mango Shaped Space,” by Wendy Mass, and it quickly became one of my all-time favorites. It was about a girl named Mia who saw shapes and colors for every word and sound she heard. Her senses were basically a jumbled mess. I found it weirdly fascinating! She frequently went to get acupuncture therapy and, although I read it so long ago, I’ll never forget how much she loved it and always looked forward to her next appointment. There are tons of other books and articles about acupuncture out there, but something about this one stuck me.
Since about seventh grade I’ve wanted to try acupuncture myself. But despite rave reviews, the fear of getting needles stabbed into my flesh always held me back from giving it a go. When I heard that Open City Healing Arts was having an Acupuncture Wellness Hour last Tuesday night, I decided what the heck? It’s time to stop being a chicken and try this. For real.
So with that philosophy in mind, I headed down to Midtown Village for my free fifteen-minute session. When I walked through the door my heart was racing, but the soothing music in the waiting room instantly started to calm my nerves. After about ten minutes of waiting, my turn was up. The nerves suddenly came rushing back and I quickly tried to think of an escape plan. But it was too late. I was already being led into a room where I saw about five other people lying motionless on the acupuncture beds. They’re gonna wake up and eat me, I thought, this is the start of the zombie apocalypse. Clearly my nerves were getting the best of me.
I took off my shoes and climbed onto the bed as Laura, my acupuncturist, slid a pillow under my knees. She explained that she would be doing a simple, calming routine that would give me a taste of what acupuncture is like. She cleaned five pressure points — the top of each wrist, my forehead, and the top of each ear — with an alcohol wipe. As I exhaled, she inserted one needle into each pressure point. I was super relieved after she put the first one in my wrist, because it just felt like a tiny pinch. When she stuck my ears, on the other hand, it hurt pretty bad. To give you an idea: It felt like I’d gotten my cartilage re-pierced — and if you’ve ever had your cartilage pierced, you know it hurts.
As I lay there, needles in, I tried to clear my mind, and sink myself deeper into the bed with every breath. At first, the only thing I could focus on was the tiny beat I felt pulsing away in my ears, but after about three minutes it went away and I felt myself starting to drift. Apparently it’s normal to feel like you’re going to fall asleep, and from the faint snoring, I could tell that some of the others definitely had. After about five or six minutes, I felt completely at ease. I was still aware of what was going on, but it felt like I was falling into a deep sleep without actually being asleep.
Laura came back and took the needles out after about fifteen minutes or so. She explained that a full session would last longer and we could try out some different pressure points, but I thought this was pretty awesome for my first time. I left feeling relaxed and, to be honest, a little dazed after almost falling asleep at 5 p.m. For the rest of the night I felt a little more free-and-easy than I normally do. Now I’m eager to try it again — and for longer next time! If it’s something you’ve been considering, I would highly recommend giving it a go. You may be surprised by how much you like getting poked with needles.