Stick it To Me
Over a span of 20 years, I have been to and been treated by 4 different acupuncturists. Here is an account and, for those of you who have never undergone the procedure, a description.
The first doctor I went to (Let’s call her Dr. A although I’m not sure if she had an MD) was a Homeopathic physician I sought out to deal with some acute anxiety that had come over me suddenly and unpleasantly. She was gentle and compassionate. There was absolutely no pain involved and it was rather cool to see needles sticking out of my skin. She followed up with homeopathic remedies which rather looked like little white balls of sugar. For all I knew, that’s what they were. Anxiety, as some of you might know, often goes away itself, even if untreated but I can report that the procedure had a calming effect.
A few years later, I went to a different doctor, Dr. B. Unlike Dr. A, he was Asian and not a homeopathic doctor. Having trained in China, he was quite knowledgeable. Unfortunately, after the first treatment, I came home agitated and with jangled nerves. To calm myself, I had to take a Valium!
Fast forward to more recent months. My TMJ has been flaring up and I recently found that my blood pressure needs some control. In addition to going on BP meds I decided to see if I could find a more “natural” fix and so found Dr. C (do you notice how my Algebra background is at work here?). He offers discounts for multiple sessions; I chose 5. Each
time I see him, he looks at my tongue. “Too hot,” is his observation; you need cooling.” Once again, the needles are virtually painless. While I lie prone with needles in feet, hands, ear and head for about 30 minutes, I often nap. Dr. C follows his session with cupping, an ancient practice in which he puts glass cups on my back for a few minutes to create suction with a rubber pump which produces the vacuum inside the cup. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C. It is believed that cupping removes harmful substances and toxins from the body to promote healing. It’s not unpleasant at all.
I decided to try a different doctor, closer to home, and less expensive than Dr. C. Guess what I’ll call him? Dr. D is also Asian and has zero bedside manner. In fact, he’s offputting. I once said to him, “Do you know why my former acupuncturist used more needles than you do?” His curt answer was “No.” He is obsessed with bowel function and asks each time, “Do you move bowel every day?” He eschews ALL Western medical practice. Once, I had a needle that hurt for the full 20 minutes he was out of the room. When I called him in, he said, “Supposed to feel it.”
Back to Dr. C who, although not exactly Dr. Kildare, has somewhat better personality. At least he says, “Not supposed to hurt. You tell me if it does, I use thinner needle.” He also lets me rest 45 minutes. He is obsessed with bladder function. Every visit he wants to know if I get up at night to urinate. At the end of each visit (which, I believe, has helped both my TMJ and BP), he says, “Cut down on carbs and protein, eat more vegetables.” When I assure him that a large portion of my diet is vegetable, he adds, “and drink a lot.” Last time I responded, “Wine?” Ha Ha