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

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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.