SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A LIL’ PRICK, Y’KNOW?
Some days you wake up and feel like you could take on the world. Others, well, on others, maybe there’s some soreness, a bit of stiffness, and most definitely tiredness. Annoyingly, the former seems to be increasingly few and far between the older you get. Last week having gotten a little too excited with the yoga, I pushed myself too far and hadn’t given my body enough time to recover. As a result, my psoas muscles were having a right ol’ tanty and making it pretty much unbearable to do anything but stand with really good posture, or be completely supine.
Normally I’d use yoga to remedy this situation, but, all things considered, I figured it probs wasn’t the best solution. Dunno. Instead, I thought I’d suss out the acupuncture sitch and weather a couple of needles pinching me to minimize the hot, dull ache radiating from my lower back. I didn’t want to simply pop a pill, so, with nothing to lose, my skeptical ass tottered off to my local wellness clinic to play pin cushion for half-an-hour.
Having never done it before (apparently I going through a phase of firsts), I had no idea what it would involve. Or if it would even work. Well, for all you fellow needlin’ newbies, this is what happened when I got acupuncture…
Straight away the acupuncturist sat me down and asked questions like, “What’s your main concern today?” “What kind of a soreness is it? Is it dull, achey sore, or is it sudden, sharp pangs?” “Do you get any tingling down your arms or your legs?” “How’s your digestion, any constipation or bloating?” “How’s your sleeping?” “Do you have any irritability or PMS?” “Are you pregnant or are you trying to get pregnant?” “Any family history you want to mention?” All of these seemed fairly intrusive for someone I’d met literally five minutes ago and who isn’t technically a doctor. Nevertheless I obliged because something about my acupuncture man made me feel calm and open.
I was then instructed to stick out my tongue and had my pulse measured at three points on my wrist. Afterwards, Mr Acupuncturist had me lie down on the massage table and plot out different target points depending on my health concerns. The function of acupuncture is centred on the belief that within us there are standard energy meridians in our body — totes like chakras — and by inserting a needle into blocked regions you, shock-horror, stimulate these areas and unblock them, allowing the energy, or qi (pronounced “chi”) for those in da know, to flow freely again. (Fear not, kids; I’ll do a follow-up post explaining these acupuncture basics). I had to de-robe because of the needle placement points and then my needle wrangler set to work.
Appaz I required 10: two at the base of my skull, a few on my shoulders, two or three on my lower back, and one on the back of my knee. Keep in mind, though, acupuncture needles are tiny. They’re so fine and you’d barely notice them going into your skin if it weren’t for the needles’ inserter, which is kinda like a ballpoint pen shaft + spring release.
As the needles were clicked into my skin I got a crazy, ticklish feeling down the entire length of my body — the shuddery, 1/8-of-an-orgasm kind. For the tighter areas, namely my shoulders and lower back, some of the needles were right fuckers. It wasn’t so much they hurt like a vaccination needle does, rather it was more of a tightness, as if the muscle was seizing and trying to expel the needle by itself. This annoying pain that lasted about a minute, and Mr Acupuncture Man explained that this was the negative chi being released. I also felt my intestines activate every time a needle was tapped into my lower back (dem energy meridians at it again 🙄).
Once all of the needles were in, my acupuncturist made sure I was warm, dimmed the light, and bailed so I could relax. Not long after I started to feel a bunch of rando things: the main one was an intense, swelling heaviness along the top of my shoulders and base of my neck, like someone was using their full weight to push my face down into the massage table. It was rather surprising and scared me for a moment, but this unsettling pressure lasted about two minutes and slowly evaporated. My arms felt weightless for a good portion of the chill time and then went pins-and-needles-y. I got tiny prick-like sensations at the front of my left ankle and had a constant pinching on my right scapula.
As I got used to the weird tingles here and there I started to mentally shuffle through the things I wanted to let go of. Gradually it began to feel like I was floating and then something would twinge and I’d be reminded of exactly where I was. Before I knew it the 15mins were up and I was having the needles (painlessly) removed. As my acupuncturist left the room so I could get dressed, I started to assess my body situ. I was sore, tender, almost as though I’d had a really deep tissue massage. That kind of tender.
I walked out feeling super mellow, almost in a daze. It was recommended that I have two or three more sessions for it to really work but I thought, Yeah sure, luv, we’ll see if this round even does anything before you get more of my money. A couple of hours on the tenderness subsided and all I was left with was the occasional twinge on my left inner elbow. Cut to the next day my back was deffo less angry and nowhere near as throbby. Obvs this could also be because I’d rested it, but it seemed far more improved than it would have normally after chilling out on the exercise.
A few days later the backy felt swelllllll. I couldn’t figure out whether it was placebo, whether it was simply normal recovery time, or if my acupuncture had actually had an effect. Jury’s out. But it’s something I’d consider doing again. I mean, we all need a little prick from time to time, amiritteeeee? 😉😉😉😉