Category: Blog Posts

Acupuncture: What Are The Long-Term Results, And Should You Try It?

Acupuncture: What Are The Long-Term Results, And Should You Try It?

Earlier this year, I found myself suffering from frequent headaches caused by stress. I was tired of taking medication that simply served as a cover-up for my symptoms, so I researched alternative treatments. After learning about licensed acupuncturist, Lorna Lee, L.Ac, who treats sinus pain, allergies, arthritis, headaches, and more, I decided to give acupuncture a go!

While I was open to trying new things, my fear of needles made me nervous. I had no idea what to expect during my first visit, and was scared. I realized that I wasn’t alone in feeling curious but hesitant about acupuncture, so I wrote a blog about my first acupuncture experience! If you haven’t already, you can read all about it here.

After my initial session, I decided to take a series of acupuncture treatments to see if I noticed a long-term change. As promised, I’m going to answer some of your questions, and give you an update on how I feel today, not only physically, but also mentally.

Am I still nervous about the needles?

The truth is, yes. Even though I know what to expect, I sometimes feel a little jittery about the needles. But not because it hurts! I just have a habit of working myself into a frenzy over sharp, metal objects. You know that saying, “old habits die hard.” I am, however, becoming more accustomed to those little needles, and feel less nervous each time!

Are all sessions the same?

For the most part, yes. At the beginning of an appointment, I still talk with Lorna about how I’m feeling. But after becoming more familiar with me, she inserts the needles in specific places according to our conversations. In other words, Lorna has gotten to know me. Every once in a while, she places a needle in a new spot, like on my wrist or foot. Aside from that, my visits are consistent.

How often do I visit Lorna for treatment?

Based off of my history with stress and frequent headaches, I typically visit Lorna for acupuncture twice a month. I always feel nice and relaxed after a session, so I definitely don’t mind treating myself a couples times a month!

What are the results?

After the first four sessions, I saw a huge improvement in how I was feeling overall. Not only do I feel less tense, my headaches went away! One day, Lorna asked me how frequent my headaches were lately, and I couldn’t remember when I last had one! That moment, I realized the impact acupuncture has on my health and wellbeing.

Would I recommend acupuncture to anyone?

While acupuncture may not be for everyone, I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for an alternative treatment for their symptoms. Acupuncture has not only helped my stress and anxiety, it also alleviated my frequent headaches that were interfering with my quality of life. But if you decide to try it, be sure to visit a licensed acupuncturist, and continue seeing your doctor for regular check-ups, especially if you have any health concerns.

Overall, I think acupuncture is a great way to help you in reaching an overall sense of balance and wellbeing. Getting treatment from Lorna was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself, and I’m so glad I decided to look past my personal misconceptions and give it a try. I hope my story inspires you to do the same!

How to schedule an appointment

If you’re interested in trying acupuncture with Lorna Lee, you can call Partners in Health and Wellbeing at (302) 655-2627 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online here. The practice takes pride in providing excellent service for clients, and they would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about receiving acupuncture at their office in Wilmington, DE!

Self-Care: Why You Need to Ditch the Idea that it’s Selfish and Start your Self-Care Plan Now

Self-Care

Self-Care: Why You Need to Ditch the Idea that it’s Selfish and Start your Self-Care Plan Now

Self-Care

Creating a self-care plan can help keep you calm and grounded, and it can actually feel empowering.

Self-care has become quite the buzz term in our culture today. Just type the word in Google, and you’ll find an overabundance of articles explaining what self-care is (and isn’t). As an intern pursuing my master’s degree in social work, you can bet that I’ve already spent a good deal of time researching and learning the benefits it has on clients. But when I talk to people about self-care, they often think it’s some selfish act that involves manicures and massages. This idea that self-care needs to be a luxurious hobby couldn’t be further from the truth!

Why you need to stop confusing self-care with selfishness

You need to help yourself before helping others. You know those instructions you’re always given by the stewardess when you fly on a plane? In the event of an emergency, put your oxygen mask on first before assisting children or others. Self-care is like your oxygen mask. You are little use to others until you care for yourself.

It doesn’t require a large amount of time or money

Despite the common misconception, you don’t need to spend a ton of time or money to prioritize your wellbeing. It could be as simple as enjoying a nice, peaceful walk outside or taking a painting class. Self-care certainly doesn’t need to be anything luxurious.

It can prevent burn-out with your job, your family or life in general

Everyone needs to allow themselves the time and space to recover from life’s pressures. Taking care of yourself could actually keep you grounded and prevent you from lashing out on your co-workers, friends, or even worse, your own family.

But what exactly is a self-care plan?

Self-care is whatever feeds your soul, creates calm or makes you feel good. A self-care plan is a routine that helps keep you grounded, and creating one can actually feel empowering. I’ll share my own routine to give you an idea of how simple it is:

 

Jen’s Self-Care Plan

1. Quite time with coffee daily: I like to have my first cup of coffee before engaging with the world.  I think this part of my self-care plan is less for me, and more for my family. I am nicer after coffee.

2. Exercise (run or walk at least every other day): Exercise reduces my stress. Nothing reduces my stress better than exercise

3. Drink water: Drinking water is super easy but extremely important. Science can tell you why. I listen to science.

4. Listen to mindful podcasts: Mindful podcasts are my go-to nearing bedtime. Whether I want to try a new meditation or mindfulness exercise, there are so many wonderful podcasts! Tara Brach’s is a great place to start.

5. Get plenty of sleep: Sleep… aka sleep hygiene.  Getting enough sleep impacts my mood tremendously! I just can’t be good at being me if I don’t get rest.

6. Plan for Play: I feel like grown ups don’t play enough. It could involve actual play like a game, hanging out with friends, doing some kind of art work or just dancing in my kitchen.

7. See my therapist: And of course, seeing my therapist rounds out the list. She helps me to stay centered and reminds me to take care of myself. Some of us need reminders. I am part of that some!

 

If you’d like to learn more about taking care of yourself and how to create a plan that works best for you, schedule an appointment with one of our highly-qualified therapists by calling (302) 655-2627, or visit Partners in Health and Wellbeing’s website. In the mean time, my list might be a good starting point for creating your own self-care plan. The important thing is to choose what feels right for you, take time for yourself and know that there is nothing selfish about self-care at all!

Why Should You See A Psychotherapist?

psychotherapist

Why Should You See A Psychotherapist?

You may have found yourself questioning what the benefits of seeing a psychtherapist are. Sitting in a room with a stranger who wants to talk about your personal struggles may seem less than comfortable. The truth is, a psychotherapist will truly care about your wellbeing and want to help you reach happiness and emotional freedom. Therapy helps you as well as the people you care about, and by offering services for individuals, children, families and couples, we can help you and your loved-ones going through difficult times.

So… why should you see a therapist? Here are three good reasons:

1) Psychotherapy can help improve your relationships:

Therapists can provide you with the tools needed to improve your emotions and behaviors, as well as your relationships. Just image what it would feel like to be emotionally balanced with your spouse, partner, family and friends!

2) You may see a boost in your overall health

All four parts of you (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) need your attention and care. All of these aspects work together to make you a whole person. By prioritizing all four aspects of your wellness, you will likely see an improvement in your overall health!

3) It’s only fifty minutes

What if someone told you that you could reach your goal of emotional freedom by setting aside just fifty minutes each week? By dedicating a small amount of time to your wellness, you can take steps toward achieving balance and happiness.

When should you reach out to a psychotherapist?

Whether or not your ready to begin your path toward positive change by starting psychotherapy, we have good news for you. Our practice is growing and we have therapists with many unique skills and specialties. If you need therapy for yourself, your children or with your spouse/partner, we have clinicians who would love to help! We now have three locations in Delaware, with offices in Milton, North Wilmington and Newark.

To learn more about our psychotherapists and services provided at Partners in Health and Wellbeing, click here.

You can also call the office at (302) 655-2627 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment by visiting our website.

Clean Eating: When It Becomes An Unhealthy And Dangerous Obsession

Clean Eating

The clean eating trend is in full-force, and it seems like everywhere we go our co-workers, best friends, even our own mothers are jumping on the bandwagon. We can’t go five minutes on social media without someone sharing their clean eating blog, or seeing pictures of celebrities downing smoothies that give them glowing skin and boosts of energy. While making healthier life choices is often encouraged by health professionals, the idea could quickly spiral out of control for people who are prone to eating disorders, depression and anxiety.

How is clean eating linked to eating disorders?

Eating disorders are a form of mental illness that are complex and often misunderstood. Our definition of eating disorders is constantly evolving and with the rise of clean eating diet trends, a new type of eating disorder has emerged, called orthorexia. Orthorexia is the term used to describe a person’s unhealthy relationship with food characterized by their obsession of healthy eating.

What does orthorexia look like?

People with orthorexia are often obsessed with defining and maintaining what they consider to be the perfect diet. This is not the same thing as eating disorders that are motivated by the perfect weight.

Common traits of people suffering with orthorexia:

  • Anxiety and obsessive concern over their relationship with food and health concerns (often without seeking medical advice)
  • Elimination of entire food groups and a strict, limited list of acceptable food choices
  • Increased consumption of supplements and herbal remedies
  • Anxiety over food preparation and meal ingredients

How do I know if someone has orthorexia?

Any one of these symptoms on their own is not necessarily cause for concern, however, the most alarming red flag is when a person’s health obsession begins to interfere with their daily activities and social interactions.

Emotional symptoms of people with orthorexia:

  • Guilt when failing to adhere to a specific diet
  • Time-consuming meal planning
  • Feelings of pride or satisfaction when adhering to strict diet rules
  • Criticism of others who don’t follow strict diets
  • Fear of eating away from home or eating meals prepared by others
  • Isolating themselves from friends and family

But isn’t healthy eating a good thing?

In general, making healthier food choices is not a definite indicator of an eating disorder. But clean eating can become problematic when a person’s choices become more like obligations, and if they fail to fulfill those obligations they become panicked and ashamed. Orthorexic behavior can lead to severe health complications if not treated. People with orthorexia are often malnourished and underweight, which can lead to heart complications. Most people with orthorexia also struggle with depression, anxiety, mood swings, as well as strained interpersonal relationships.

How to get help

If you or someone you care about is showing signs of orthorexic behavior, seeking professional help is highly recommended. At Partners in Health and Wellbeing, therapist Emily Camera, MSW specializes in topics such as eating disorders, trauma, PTSD and anxiety disorders. By taking a compassionate and empathetic approach, Emily helps adults and adolescents with eating disorders, and says, “Therapy coupled with nutrition counseling has proven to be successful in helping people to restructure their attitudes and behaviors around food.”

To learn more about our therapists and services provided at Partners in Health and Wellbeing, please visit our website. You can also call the office at (302) 655-2627 to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online.

To learn more about orthorexia and eating disorders, please visit the National Eating Disorders Association website: www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Teen Depression & Addiction: What are the Warning Signs?

teen depression

We’re all adults, and by now, we’ve already experienced all kinds of life situations. We’ve lived through the highs and lows of friendships and relationships, moved to brand new towns with completely new people, experienced peer pressure, and have lost loved ones. With that being said, we’ve gone through emotions ranging from joy, happiness and excitement, to anxiousness, stress and even depression.

To us, the signs of depression are usually pretty obvious. We notice ourselves feeling dissatisfied, unmotivated, fatigue and… off. We’ve likely experienced depression before, so we can easily recognize these signs and address the problem by seeking support before our feelings become destructive to our wellbeing.

But depression in teens often looks very different from how it looks in adults. As parents and guardians, we often dismiss the warning signs in our teens, thinking that our kids are just being moody or having that typical teenage attitude. Unfortunately, overlooking depression could actually make it more difficult for our teens, who may not understand what’s going on or why they aren’t feeling like themselves.

What are the signs of teen depression?

Addressing concerns about our teens’ odd behavior can be nerve wrecking, unpredictable and even scary. We often have no idea what’s really bothering them and we wonder if it’s better to instead, give them space. After all, space is what they need… right?

Before you make that assumption, let’s look at some of the most common signs of teen depression.

Signs of teen depression:

  • Irritability
  • Avoidance of family members and friends
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • A drop in school attendance
  • Falling grades
  • Defiant behaviors

Now that we understand a little more about teen depression, we can move on to the next concern, teen addiction.

What does depression have anything to do with addiction?

Recreational use can seem like typical behavior for teens in social situations, like hanging out at a party or with a group of friends. But the risk of addiction becomes more of a concern when our kids begin using substances to help themselves feel more socially comfortable and accepted, and to temporarily escape their feelings.

In other words, there’s a link between depression and addiction.

Why are teens more susceptible to addiction?

Let’s take a scientific look at this. The teenage brain is actually more susceptible to addiction because it’s still developing. In fact, development of the brain isn’t complete until a person reaches around the age of 25! This is why learning and retaining new information is easier when we’re younger. As scary as it sounds, addiction is a form of learning because it plays into the reward system in our brain. So, repeated exposure to a substance continues to light up the teen’s reward system, while the part of their brain responsible for judgment and decision making hasn’t fully formed yet!

Next, we can examine the common signs of substance use in teens.

Signs of teen substance abuse:

  • Unexplained weight change
  • Altered sleeping habits or being awake at unusual times
  • Unusual hyperactivity or extreme fatigue
  • Changes in friends and social activities
  • Secretive behaviors
  • Moodiness or irritability

If the signs of depression or substance abuse seem familiar in your teen, it’s probably to reach out for help.

How can we help our teens with depression and addiction?

As parents, we want our kids to consider us as approachable and easy to talk to, but unfortunately, that’s not always the reality. For teens, having a comfortable place and a professional therapist to talk to without judgement can help our teens feel accepted as they are, and allow them to determine their own goals. By sitting down and talking with a psychotherapist, teens can receive the tools needed to manage their depression and temptations to use substances.

What can we expect from therapy?

Rachel Clary, a therapist experienced with helping teens suffering from depression and addiction, provides patients with an environment that is open, compassionate and focused on the individual’s unique strengths. She passionately develops trustful relationship with her clients, saying, “Witnessing individual transformations has continually impressed me.”

Rachel helps teens by understanding what actually motivates them to use, and the expectations they have for using a substance. After identifying these factors, she determines what function the substance use is performing in their lives. Rachel can then allow them to develop their already existing strengths in order to work toward self discovery, improved decision making and emotional wellness.

Helping our teens through difficult times is easier said than done, but with therapy, they can be lead through a true healing process that helps them achieve the mental wellness and emotional freedom that they deserve.

To schedule an appointment at Partners in Health and Wellbeing call (302) 655-2627 or request an appointment online. You can also learn more about our therapists and services by visiting our website here.

Are There Alternative Ways to Treat Hot Flashes?

hot flashes

Are you a woman in that certain age, experiencing random hot flashes that are making you absolutely miserable? Is that horrible combination of fatigue and extreme mood swings now sending your family in hiding?

Yes, it’s that dreaded and unavoidable time that every women experiences at some point. We all know what I’m talking about, so let’s just say it…

Menopause!

Menopause is one of the most emotional and challenging times for us. During this time, we’re not only responsible for running a household, we’re often under intense pressure at work, where little sympathy is shown for our daily hot flashes, fatigue, mood swings, and forgetfulness.

Medication, such as hormone replacements, is available to help alleviate the symptoms, but some women would rather try an alternative treatment with less side effects.

Some women CAN’T take hormone replacements

Let’s not forget about cancer survivors, who’s bodies are actually forced into menopause prematurely, from their chemotherapy treatments. What makes this challenging for cancer patients, is that they can’t take estrogen to treat their hot flashes in combination with their chemotherapy.

So, where else can we go to get treatment for menopause symptoms?

A study on acupuncture as an alternative treatment

In 2009, Lorna Lee, licensed acupuncturist at Partners in Health and Wellbeing, was recruited to work on a clinical research study at the University of Pennsylvania, to compare the drug gabapentin versus acupuncture, for reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes caused by menopause.

Lorna specifically treated women with breast cancer, who were thrown into menopause prematurely from chemotherapy, and were unable to use estrogen for their hot flashes. This was a significant study, and because of the severe medical condition that these women were in, Lorna initially felt uncertain, thinking, “Could our little needles really be effective?”

Regardless of the uncertainty, breast cancer survivors willingly signed up to try acupuncture, and some actually traveled two hours to participate in the experimental treatment.

Did acupuncture reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes?

It took five years to gather 120 patients for the study, and then another two years for the research to be documented and published.

The final results determined that the acupuncture treatments were significantly more helpful with reducing hot flashes than gabapentin. Not only that, the study also showed that the results lasted. Women reported that six months after receiving their acupuncture treatments, they still felt better.

After successfully proving that acupuncture can effectively treat hot flashes, Lorna now helps numerous menopausal women find relief, cancer patient or not.

Is acupuncture right for you?

If you, too, are experiencing side effects from menopause, know that there are, indeed, medications available. But also keep in mind that acupuncture is available as an alternative treatment for cancer patients who can’t take hormones, and for women who would simply prefer to take a different route for treatment.

To learn more about Lorna Lee’s experience as a licensed acupuncturist, you can visit her bio. To schedule an appointment you can call Partners in Health and Wellbeing at (302) 655-2627, or click here.

To read more about the University of Pennsylvania hot flash study, visit:

http://jco.ascopubs.org/cgi/doi/10.1200/JCO.2015.60.9412

What is Hypnotherapy, and How Can It Benefit Me?

hypnotherapy

What do you think of when you hear the word hypnosis? Do you envision a stranger dangling a watch front of your face, chanting, “You’re feeling sleepy?” Or do you think of a person in a deep trance onstage, following the commands to walk and cluck like a chicken?

There are myths and misconceptions about hypnotherapy, how it works and how it actually benefits people. At Partners in Health and Wellbeing, a therapy practice that offers psychotherapy, acupuncture and hypnotherapy, we’re going to clear up some of the confusion you may have about hypnosis.

So, What is Hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis, when broken down, originates from the Greek word ‘hypnos’ meaning sleep. But don’t let this confuse you! The practice doesn’t actually put a person to sleep. While a person being hypnotized may look like they’re sleeping, they are actually very much awake and aware. They’re in an altered state of consciousness, where their thinking mind begins to rest, and their subconscious mind becomes more alert. This allows the patient to become more receptive to positive suggestions.

Interestingly, many people have already experienced a state of hypnosis without even realizing it! Have you ever been deep into a book, and suddenly noticed that several hours have slipped by? Or have you ever driven while listening to your favorite music, the rest of the world seemed to have disappeared, and suddenly you are at your destination? That’s what being in an induced hypnotic trance is very much like.

How Can Hypnotherapy Benefit Me?

Hypnotherapy may sound simple and straight forward, but it’s a powerful tool when used in combination with traditional psychotherapy. Studies have shown that hypnosis can alter the way our brains process and receive information, which makes hypnotherapy an evidenced-based practice. Like many other relaxation practices, hypnosis is known to lower blood pressure and heart rate.

It can also treat and help you to manage a wide rage of issues including:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood Disorders
  • Trauma
  • Medical Conditions
  • Weight Loss
  • Chronic Pain
  • Cravings
  • Phobias
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Labor and Delivery
  • Surgery Preparation

What is a Hypnotherapy Session Like?

A typical session with Partners in Health and Wellbeing’s clinical social worker and certified professional hypnotist Danielle Boyer, lasts between 60-90 minutes. She will start with taking a detailed history of your background and medical history, and address your issues and concerns.

Danielle will then take you through a series of relaxation techniques, using deep breathing and guided imagery. By allowing you mental images, she will incorporate suggestions that aim to alleviate your specific symptoms or challenge your unwanted habits. Some patients respond better to suggestions than others, but most people are able to be hypnotized.

Can a Hypnotist Control Me?

Contrary to how hypnosis is portrayed in Hollywood movies, a hypnotist can’t control a person’s mind or actions. In fact, self-hypnosis is taught during the sessions to empower you to use the practice on your own, to further help you to alleviate your symptoms. It’s also important to remember that you always remain in control during hypnosis. When in session with Danielle, you can stop at any time if you feel uncomfortable.

How Many Sessions are Needed?

A common question about hypnotherapy is how many sessions does takes for a person to see results? Just like all other kinds of treatment, the number of sessions needed is dependent on you as an individual, and your specific needs. Together, you and Danielle will monitor your progress and concerns throughout your hypnotherapy treatment.

Hypnotherapy in Combination with Psychotherapy Treatment

Incorporating hypnotherapy into your psychotherapy treatment can benefit you by helping to alleviate your symptoms, as well as helping you to achieve good mental health and wellbeing. With the myths surrounding hypnosis, it’s important to understand that it’s not a magic ‘cure all’ treatment, but when used in combination with traditional medical or psychotherapy treatment, it can be very successful!

Where Can I Get Treatment?

Before seeking hypnotherapy treatment, it’s important to do your research and select a therapist who is a certified professional hypnotist.

At Partners in Health and Wellbeing, Danielle Boyer is a clinical social worker and certified professional hypnotist who uses a mindfulness-based approach to therapy. Providing psychotherapy and hypnotherapy treatment, Danielle treats the numerous symptoms noted above. She also specializes in treating women’s issues, including postpartum depression, pregnancy loss and prenatal anxiety.

To schedule a psychotherapy or hypnotherapy appointment at Partners in Health and Wellbeing, you can call us at (302) 655-2627, or click here.

Why The Sex Talk is Difficult for Both Parents and Adults, and Where to Get Help

For decades, parents have struggled with having the sex talk with their children. But there’s a major difference between our society today and ten years ago. Today, children and teens gain much more exposure to sex through media, the internet, and social interactions. Whether it’s from peers at school or people in the community, youth today are exposed to many things that raise questions of curiosity.

Having answers to these questions, and feeling open and well-informed when your child or teen asks is something every parent and caregiver hopes for. But let’s face it, having the sex talk with your kids is easier said than done.

Thoughts that keep parents from having the Sex Talk with their kids:

  • My kid doesn’t want to hear this from me!
  • My child won’t listen to me!
  • How do I know the right thing to say and how to say it?
  • What if I don’t have all of the answers to their questions?
  • Or worse… what if my kid knows more than I do!
  • How can I keep an open mind if I’m struggling with my own biases?
  • What if my child is too uncomfortable to talk to me about sex? What if I’m too uncomfortable too?

This is part of the advanced training that Lauren Allen, MSW and therapist at Partners in Health and Wellbeing has received. Lauren received training from Widener University’s Interdisciplinary Sexuality Research Collaborative to become a certified Askable Adult.

So, what exactly is an Askable Adult?

A certified Askable Adult is someone who can effectively communicate with youth, ages five and up, about topics of sexuality, in a culturally and developmentally appropriate way.

The topics of focus include:

  • Intimacy
  • Gender Identity
  • Sexual Identity
  • Reproductive Health
  • Sexualization

When having the sex talk with youth, understanding the concepts of framing and the power of language is important due to the role it plays.

What is framing, and how is it related to communication?

Framing looks at our mental processing and how it structures the way we see the world. The power of language is connected to framing, because our thoughts are conveyed through what we say and how we say it. Bringing these two ideas together and talking about sexuality is often why these tough, but important conversations aren’t happening at home.

How can a certified Askable Adult therapist help?

Certified Askable Adults are helpful to young adults, because typically schools teach youth about reproductive health, STI’s, and contraception. This leaves out many other areas of sexuality, including the topics noted above, as well as sensitive issues like rape and molestation, and the feelings and questions regarding sexuality. In addition, kids often receive inaccurate information from their peers.

As a therapist at Partners in Health and Wellbeing and a certified Askable Adult, Lauren not only helps adolescents with emotional dysregulation, depression, parent-child relational problems and school issues, but also provides a safe place for them to talk about sex-related topics, that sex ed and peers often leave out.

The next step to get help

We know that youth have more exposure to sex with today’s internet and social media, and that it’s more important than ever for them to have an adult who they’re comfortable talking with. We also know how hard and uncomfortable it is for parents to have the sex talk with their children at home.

There is support for your adolescent or teen when they need someone to open up to. By taking your child to a therapist and certified Askable Adult like Lauren Allen, you can provide your child with a safe place to ask questions, get reliable information, and work through any emotions that they’re facing.

You can schedule an appointment at Partners in Health and Wellbeing by calling (302) 655-2627, or clicking here.

What Does Acupuncture Really Feel Like and Does it Actually Work?

acupuncture

Have you ever dealt with a problem for so long that you got fed up, and decided to stand up and make a change?

The past couple of years, I’ve had a lot on my plate. As a working professional, a student and a homeowner, you can bet I feel the pressures of every day life. Since you’re reading this, I’m sure you can relate. Maybe like me, you get those pestering side effects of stress… headaches, fatigue, irritableness… need I say more?

So, what did I do?

I tried seeing my doctor and taking medication to ease the headaches that I get on a weekly basis, but I just can’t get past the uncomfortable side effects from prescription drugs.

My friends have asked me, “Have you tried acupuncture?” I’ve read amazing stories about acupuncture treating chronic headaches, stress, allergies, arthritis, even drug addiction. It’s been practiced for centuries, and has been scientifically proven to be effective.

Now, I’m always open to trying new things, but with acupuncture, I had one big concern…

I have an intense phobia of needles.

I always have. As a child, my mom would team up with the nurses to hold me down for my immunization shots. Yes, I was that kid you would hear screaming five doors down while you waited for your yearly physical. Fast forward that twenty-five years later, and I still have to do breathing exercises to calm my anxiety before getting my annual flu shot.

I felt desperate to take control of my life and my wellbeing, but how could I get past the idea of being stabbed with a bunch of needles? And how do I know if this would actually work? The idea of acupuncture sounded too weird, so I put the idea past me.

What made me change my mind?

Recently, I began working at Partners in Health and Wellbeing. The office is calm, with soothing scents and the sounds of waves crashing on the beach. The stage is set to make visitors feel calm and centered, the way you would feel at a spa.

This is where I met Lorna Lee, an amazingly intuitive acupuncturist who fills the room with a sense of wellbeing. With over 20 years of experience, Lorna knows her stuff. Not only is she licensed, she actually led the movement that created licensing for the industry in the State of Delaware. I could go on and on about Lorna’s amazing qualifications, but I’ll save that for another time.

With one of the best acupuncturists working just two doors down from me, I saw this as an opportunity. An opportunity to start a new chapter of my life – without headaches – by facing my fear of needles, and trying something that might finally work.

What was my first appointment was like?

My first appointment began by filling out a form with questions about my health concerns. Lorna sat down with me and addressed each issue and answered my questions about how acupuncture works. I must say, Lorna is extremely insightful but does not discredit doctors. She explained that while acupuncture has many benefits, she can’t give medical advice, and encouraged me to continue visiting my physician regularly.

A misconception I had about acupuncture was that I would need to remove all of my clothes, like I would for a massage.

Perhaps the internet painted this picture in my head, but either way, this is not always true. Lorna explained that often clients don’t need to remove their clothes at all. It depends on what pressure points she focuses on. For this treatment, I only needed to take off my shoes and socks.

With my fear of needles, you can bet I was extremely nervous with the idea of laying on the table with pins stuck in my body for 30 minutes. But I knew that I was in good hands with Lorna (the soothing music and scents of the room also eased my anxiety). Lorna showed me how thin and flexible the pins are so they don’t hurt badly or drag on your skin if you move.

How did it feel?

To sum it up, acupuncture is absolutely nothing like getting stabbed with a flu shot.

I’ll be honest and say that I felt a little, initial prick from each pin. But they’re not inserted deep, so the feeling faded in less than a second. After Lorna left the room to let me relax, I forgot that they were even there. Eventually, I closed my eyes and took in the warm sunlight beating in from the window. I listened to the calming music and imagined that I was laying on the beach. Just as I started to drift off to sleep, Lorna returned to remove the needles.

Now, Lorna explained to me that just like physical therapy, patients often need a series of treatments before feeling the maximum benefits. It varies with each person. But I will note that right after my acupuncture session, I felt a lot less pressure in my head and felt extremely relaxed. This was probably because of the “feel good” endorphins that my body released during the treatment. That night I slept like a baby, and I decided that I will be scheduling my next session soon.

Do I recommend acupuncture?

My first acupuncture experience wasn’t scary at all and though I can’t yet tell you what the long-term results will be, I will be sure to provide an update in the near future. In the meanwhile, I highly encourage you to overlook any misconceptions about acupuncture and give it a try if you are looking for an alternative treatment.