25 August, 2012

Stick a needle in a coyote and what do you get?

... A surprisingly relaxed Coyote!

Today, I visited one of my favorite healers, Neighborhood Acupuncture. I've visited them every few months for the past year and a half, and have become good friends with some of the practitioners there.

Now, as someone with a few tattoos and regular blood tests (yay modern medicine), you'd think I'd be all right around needles. And for the most part I am; I don't enjoy it, but I can turn my head away and take a deep breath and think of something else for a bit. But although I'd always been interested in acupuncture, I would shake with anxiety every time I approached an office. And then we'd slink away, tail between our legs.

Maybe it was the mystery of it, or the unknown amount of pain it might entail, but I never had enough guts to just do it.

Until I met the practitioners at Neighborhood Acupuncture in Laurel, who explained the steps of an appointment exactly, and described the varying ranges of "uncomfortability" when inserting the sterile, thin needles. But perhaps the biggest selling point for me was the fact that I could look at a group of the patients, all with needles in them, and all of them zonked out in full sleep mode on their chairs!

Each walk-in appointment is pretty much the same for me; I walk in, give a few hugs, describe my symptoms (either physical or mental!), and take a quick restroom break (nothing worse then laying down in a chair and having to pee!).

The acupuncture chairs that this office uses are amazing. They start in a regular seated position, and can be tilted back and locked into place, so that your body makes a comfortable "V" shape. After I'm lying down, the practitioner will take my pulses radially (on the wrists, both sides) and say something wonderfully cryptic and wise, "Oh! You shaman-types are always in the Metal!", and begin opening the sterile needle packages and inserting them on different parts of my body.

The main parts that I always seem to get "stuck" are the forearms, shins, tops of my feet, and hairline/forehead. Sometimes, I'll have a few in my hair, too!

Most of the time, I can't feel the needles at all. At All. They are so thin, and they barely go into my skin, that all I feel is something similar to the lightness of a fly landing on my bare skin. But on occasion, there will be one or two needles that I can definitely feel...and they sting a bit going in (sort of like the pain that comes from stepping on a small stone when you're barefoot).

However, no matter how much I suck my teeth when the stinging ones go in, once they are in, the pain vanishes in 5-8 seconds, and so does a large amount of tension that was also there (tension I didn't even realize I had).

After the needles are in, the practitioner leaves the room, and I am zoning out to the soft lighting and soothing background music. Within minutes, I'm in sleepy-time land, and my thoughts sort of go all over the place. Most of the time, I can see my Helping Spirits next to me, but if I open my eyes, they pop out of my regular vision. But mostly, I just breath in and out, in a light nap, and try to release all the stress of the workweek.

I've had some profound "Aha!" moments, daydreaming in the acupuncture chair, although it may have taken 15-20 minutes of going through my day in my head to get there. I've also had a lot of "Duh!" moments (what Coyote et al call "Two-by-Fours"), too, in which I've found the answer to a problem because I've finally sat down and thought about it. 

And on other occasions, I've just enjoyed a nap, and felt relaxed and slightly "buzzy" from it, and woken up to find a Nature Spirit was relaxing along with me:
Yes, this is totally a spider hanging on the acupuncture needle that's in my foot!
I would recommend acupuncture to just about everyone, although I would caution that you check out a practitioner's credentials first. Neighborhood Acupuncture displays their awards and certifications right inside the door of the office, so that you may ask questions about their education and experiences.

Maybe I'll see you at my next visit!

2 comments:

  1. That photo of the spider on your acupuncture needle is pretty cool.

    It's amazing you maintained enough composure for the picture! I would've freaked and swatted the spider away. :-0

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