January 17th, 2011

No Ouch in Acupuncture

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Acupuncture has been a part of my life for many years. I have used it for everything from plantar fasciitis to the flu. I recently went in for help with a nagging, lingering cough. I was really looking forward to this acupuncture treatment since it meant an hour of my day with no interruptions from kids, email, Facebook or Twitter and hopefully some relief from my cough.  I was ready.

WHAT IS ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture originated in China more than 2,500 years ago and has been used to prevent, diagnose and treat disease, as well as to improve general health.  Through the insertion of needles into pressure points around the body, acupuncture helps the flow of energy (known as qi or chi) throughout the body.

DOES IT HURT?

Most people associate needles with getting an injection or having blood drawn, which can be painful. Acupuncture needles are incredibly thin- not much thicker than hair. They are not like the needles used for shots, which are hollow for the medicine or the withdrawal of blood. Acupuncture needles don’t hurt-honest! Sometimes I feel a slight burst of energy when the needle is inserted, but I wouldn’t call it painful.

THE TREATMENT

During the initial treatment a health form is usually filled out and there is a short consultation to discuss any issues.  I was lead into my treatment room and left to make myself comfortable lying on a massage table.  Before the needle treatment began, my practitioner checked my pulse in three places. Then needles went in without much awareness on my end.  I was left to relax in the room with the needles strategically placed all over my body and soft music playing.  After a bit the needles were removed and I was asked to flip over onto my belly.  Again, the needles were placed and I was left to relax.   Needles removed and all done.

WHY USE ACUPUNCTURE?

Acupuncture can be  used for a wide variety of conditions.  Some of the main reasons for using it are:

HOW TO FIND A PRACTITIONER

Most states require a license to practice acupuncture. If you live in the U.S. , you can find a practitioner by visiting the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and typing in your address.  Note: only a few practitioners came up when I typed in my address and I know there are many more.  Also, check with your health insurance provider for practitioners and to see if acupuncture is covered.

WHAT IS CUPPING?

My back after cupping

After my acupuncture treatment it was time for some cupping.   Cupping is a method of relieving local congestion by applying a partial vacuum that is created in a cup(s), either by heat or by suction.  The end result is a reddish purple bruising where the cups were placed.   Cupping became quite fashionable in 2004 when actress Gweneth Paltrow stepped out onto the red carpet bearing what appeared to be bruising on her back.

The cupping left  big bruises on my back as well-hopefully an indication that the cough was on its way out.

OUTCOME

Still coughing….but with the help of some western meds (I finally broke!) the acupuncture and cupping seem to be helping me bid adieu to the cough.

Have you tried acupuncture?  Are you willing to give it a try?

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*Top photo used under Creative Commons from NYCTCM

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9 Responses to “No Ouch in Acupuncture”

  1. I totally concur in the use of acupuncture when chronic conditions just won’t go away. Your same practitioner managed to finally cure a case of tennis elbow. I do have to laugh about the cupping, though. The first time she did it I had big purple blotches on my neck. The next day I went to tennis practice and forgot that I looked like someone had strangled me the night before. The women on my team were too polite to say anything, but I definitely got some strange looks! My poor husband probably got a bad rep that day…

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Patty D.. Patty D. said: RT @groovygreenlivi: Posted: No Ouch in Acupuncture http://t.co/fwfw5JB [...]

  3. Hi Lea Ann. So glad acupuncture worked for you-Y is amazing. Cupping certainly is interesting. Once you have seen the results the are easy to spot on others. If you are surrounded by people who have never seen the “bruising”, your significant other will be getting the dirty looks! Thanks so much for stopping by.

  4. I would love to get back to accupuncture. I found it relaxing. I used it mostly for my back and it did help.
    I have read several studies and found that accupuncture does work, but so does random placement of the needles. Either way, I don’t mind it.
    I do find pain sometimes when the needles go in, but then again, I am very sensitive.

    As with ANY practitioner, you need to find the right one for you, and I also use the one you do! She is perfect!

    And on cupping? sometimes it left huge bruises and other times nothing. I always found that odd

  5. Hi Spacemom! I didn’t realize you were local. What a small world that you went to Y too. I agree-it is so important to find the right practitioner for you. I have also had times with big bruises and other times with not much. I actually didn’t have much bruising this last visit. So glad you stopped by!

  6. Hi Lori,
    Hope your feeling much better today! Acupuncture is awesome. ;) Didn’t ever get to do a cupping treatment…but always wanted to! Chinese medicine is so fascinating.

  7. Hi Leslie. Thanks-I am finally feeling much better. Cupping is pretty amazing-hopefully you will get a chance to give it a try. Chinese medicine is fascinating!

  8. I tried acu for my low back issues this past fall, and I found it very helpful with the pain, esp cupping and bloodletting. Yes, I was bled behind the knees for pain relief in my low back and it was surprisingly effective. Odd, right?? I plan to write about my experience, too. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I have never tried bloodletting. So glad it all worked. Back pain is no fun at all. Can’t wait to hear the details about your acupuncture, cupping and bloodletting!

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I like to make noise and stir the pot especially when an issue hits home and effects the health of our families. Join me as I make some noise and share along the way tips for living a green and healthy life. Read more.

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