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Mon, Aug. 3rd, 2009, 08:19 pm
My First Taste of Acupuncture

Apothecary window
Originally uploaded by Jadxia
Sunday I woke up massively early, with plans for Intern and I to visit the FRESHFARM Dupont Farmer's Market. What I hadn't planned on was the deluge that started when I stepped out my front door. With no way for either of us to call it off (and I was determined to go either way), we both arrive late, bedraggled, and slightly damp.

I did find a vendor for local, organic whole wheat flour. It's possibly the most expensive flour I've ever bought, but it has also made the best whole wheat bread I've ever baked. This stuff is off the charts delicious! (When I perfect the recipe, it'll be featured on the sister site healthsneak.com).

AgtOrange and I dropped Intern off at home, so she wouldn't be flooded out in the expected second deluge (where, once again, the weatherman was wrong -- it never happened), then we went off to lunch at Eden Center.

Afterward, we passed by an apothecary, but even though I'd been looking for a specialist in Chinese herbs, I was almost too scared to go in. All of the bottles were labeled in Vietnamese and I wasn't sure if I really wanted to be seen by a real Chinese herbalist. I'd had varying degrees of success with the herbalist who used to be in Chinatown, usually dependent on whether or not I'd had a translator at the time.  Back then I'd get tea for asthma, and would have to mimic a cough if no one was around to translate.  At AgtOrange's urging, we entered into the sweltering interior.

I did not end up getting herbal medicine; turns out they do acupuntures as well. And thank goodness, the acupunturist spoke totally perfect English (it's a 3rd-generation shop, the herbalist's English was not so good). She read my pulse and looked at my tongue, asked me a ton of questions and pronounced that I had "heat in the blood" and could be treated. They could even squeeze me in the same day.

The acupunture needles weren't bad at all. She put them in the webbing of my hands and feet (I went in for joint pain) and all along the meridian lines of my stomach. Then I had to lay there for 30 minutes, which would have been soothing if my feet hadn't itched so terribly from the needles. In fact, I felt energy going to my feet for the first time in months, and my bad knee stopped hurting. Removal was just as painless.

"You're not going to like me after this," she said, when the last needle was removed.

"Why, what's up?"

"Well, you have a lot of bad blood built up in your joints. I really need to stick you and drain the heat out. It's going to hurt."

She stuck me in the joints of my fingers and on the sides of my toes while I winced and tried not to squirm.

"That's not an acupuncture needle," I remarked dryly.
"No, it certainly is not," she said, pushing on the joints and digits to manipulate blood out of them, which was even more painful than being stuck.

She put some ointment on my feet and helped me up and on my way.

Did it work? Well, yes and no. The acupuncture itself, with the thin needles, did seem to move blood and energy around. It was doing something. But the stuff she did after feels like it crippled me. Rather than waking up feeling better (she said I should have two or three days before the pain returned) I woke up this morning feeling worse, much worse, and more than can be explained by a few small pinpricks.

It may be that I simply over-extended myself yesterday. I know I went well past my energy reserve limit. Also, since I had slept only two hours the night before, I'd loaded up on coffee all day long. When I walked in, I probably did have too much yang going on; I was bouncing off the walls. It's possible all that caffeine led to a misdiagnosis.

Either way, when I left we had already agreed I would see my regular doctor (who had recommended acupuncture) for the blood test results. That appointment is in a week and I shoud know once and for all if I have lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or some other auto-immune disorder. If everything comes back normal, they will call it fibromyalgia. So next week I should have a clear diagnosis of some sort no matter what the tests show. Then I am to call my acupunturist back and we'll decide then if I should continue with acupuncture (possibly in a different style/pattern) and start the herbal medicine or if I should just try the herbal medicine by itself.

Tue, Aug. 4th, 2009 03:28 am (UTC)
jadxia: Post Script

She also forbid me from eating onions and garlic until I am better (and I should keep a food diary).

No onions? No garlic? That's worse than the needles.

Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
(Anonymous): re: acup.

That's cool. Acupuncture is fun! Like your blog.
- JL

(i've had a few acupuncture treatments, seen 3 diff. acupuncturists) Quite interesting. For me the acupuncture has been fun, but some of the add-ons (as you described) were not as cool. And fascinating to see how different acupuncturists work (diff. office, style, technique and so forth). fascinating.

cherio! (good luck with those herbs, if you try 'em. I got pregnant on accident while taking a nice blend of herbs. apparently regulated my whole cycle [quite infertile up until then]) Gotta be careful w/ acupuncture ;)

Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Re: re: acup.

Eek, hadn't considered that, many herbs affect birth control. Will be extra careful.

Wed, Aug. 5th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC)
jadxia: Another Weird New Post Script

This morning I just noticed a bruise on my right foot, which wasn't there yesterday. This is clearly from the tiny acupunture needle(s) and NOT from the giant needle; those spots don't appear to be bruising at all.

Very weird, two whole days before the bruising, and the already-healed spot is the one that's turning purple.