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How I feel acupuncture

June 3, 2011 Comments off

I haven’t talked to many people in detail about how acupuncture feels so I’m not sure if the feelings are uniquely mine, or pretty universal. Either way, here’s my experience of it.

The needles going in. They start on the head, then down one side of the body and up the other. Each needle goes in quickly. Some I barely feel, others leave a pinching sensation for a few minutes.

Certain points will be located by some light finger pressure, and sometimes I’ll feel the needle move slightly once it’s in. It never really feels like an actual needle prick though.

Sometimes, when they are trying to get some quick results (like soothe a headache) They will apply pressure to several spots and ask me to say when it’s tender as well. When I feel tenderness a needle goes in that spot. I don’t always feel complete relief instantly, but usually feel some relief pretty quickly.

Then they make sure you’re comfortable, offer you a blanket and leave you to relax. I close my eyes and try to focus on the soft music playing, until I fall asleep. I’d say I fall asleep about half the time. If I feel sensations from any of the needle points, or pain points, I focus on them. I breathe into them and try to breathe them back out.

I feel my sessions that have the most impact when I get this pulsing feeling happening. It’s like I can feel the blood flowing through me in a very circular way. Sometimes it’s a full body feeling, and other times is concentrated on one side of my body, or one area. It could definitely be described as feeling the energy moving and activated.

Eventually, when I’m ready, the needles come out with a minimum of feeling. Afterwards the feelings range from tired, to energetic, to other-worldly. I always feel good and relaxed though.

So there’s my raves for acupuncture. I love it and will probably go once or twice a month even when I’m symptom-free just because it makes me feel good.

Categories: Admin

I Love Acupuncture

June 1, 2011 1 comment
Poke Community Acupuncture

Poke (borrowed from their facebook page)

If you’ve had a conversation with me of more than 10 minutes in the last 4 months you probably know that I have been getting acupuncture treatments and am a total convert.

I have gone from having stress related pain that interfered with all aspects of my life (work, knitting, sleeping) on a daily basis to having week long stretches that are completely free of pain. I have gone into a treatment with a major headache and left feeling amazing.

Today only,  the clinic I go to, Poke Community Acupuncture, is offering a great price for 2 treatments on Ethical Deal.

If you have any issues with pain, be it chronic or acute, this is a great thing to try. The pricing is even better than their normally low rates and they are an amazing bunch of people who have added so much to my life over the last few months.

Poke is a bit different from your standard acupuncture clinic though.  They operate on a model of community acupuncture which strives to make acupuncture more accessible than it tends to be.

For acupuncture to be it’s most successful most people need frequent treatments at the beginning. Typical acupuncture treatments in Vancouver are $60-$100 (based on my personal research).  I was initially recommended 3 treatments a week for best results, with the goal being no treatments at all, or treatments when I felt I wanted one. In these typical sessions I would be in a room on my own for 45 minutes to an hour, with about 10 to 20 minutes of the actual acupuncturists time.

(Side note, that I am fortunate to have a decent extended medical plan at work that covers acupuncture. However it covers a maximum of $100 in treatments per calendar year – not totally useful)

At Poke it’s quite different in many ways. They have a one-time paperwork fee of $10 at your first appointment. You’ll have about 8 pages of information, waivers and questions to read and complete. Each treatment is $20-$40, depending on what you can afford.

You complete your own receipt at each visit, put it and your payment in a box before entering the treatment room. You also sign yourself up for your own appointment times. They is a volunteer there to help if you have questions, but it’s more or less self serve.

Once you’re in the treatment room you will pick one of 8 comfy reclining chairs. There may be other people in the other chairs, eye closed, and very relaxed. When the acupuncturist is free (I’ve never waited more than 5 or 10 minutes, an usually it’s because I’m early) she comes over to you, does a whisper quiet consultation, inserts needles in a combination of your head, arms, legs. You stay fully clothed, but often have to roll you pant legs up over your knees, take off your socks, or roll your sleeves up past your elbows.

I know it sounds weird to share a room with other people getting their treatments but in reality it’s never been awkward.  I’ve never been able to overhear details of my neighbours consults and I get so relaxed during my treatments that I often fall asleep and rarely take notice of it.

The noise in the space is footsteps, muffled whispering, chair rolling, treatment chair movements, soothing music, paper rustling, white noise machine, door opening. Really pretty limited.

So now, you’ve got about 20 needles in your lead and limbs, you’re lying back with your feet up, you might have a blanket over you (I do) and your eyes are closed. You basically sit there and relax until you feel ready to go. They recommend a minimum of 30 minutes, and it feels like an hour is average. I know I’ve spent 2 hours there a few times.

When you feel “ready” you sit up, make eye contact with the acupuncturist, they take out the needles and you’re free to go. I usually sit up for a bit, stretch my arms and leave about 5 minutes later. If you need to be out by a certain time you can let them know at the beginning and they will tell you when it’s that time.

I have seen people stay sitting up, or reading if their arms are needle free. You are really encouraged to be at your most comfortable while respecting the group space.

Now this is super long, and I haven’t even got into how it feels. Tomorrow.

Categories: Wellness