I have been suffering from migraines for about 12 years. I have tried many things to both alleviate the symptoms of a migraine and reduce their frequency. But there is one thing I avoided for years though it was suggested to me many times, Acupuncture.
I am not sure if my reticence towards acupuncture came from my total unfamiliarity with the practice or just not knowing where to find a good acupuncturist (you gotta trust the person who is coming at you with needles, right?).
But two months ago I pushed through my reticence and began asking around for a good acupuncturist in my area. I actually got a couple of names, which surprised me since I live in small town Georgia. I was not sure that Traditional Chinese Medicine would have found its way this far into the Deep South. But as the memory of my migraine faded, so did my courage to set up an appointment.
Then this past weekend I had a three day migraine. A migraine that caused me to miss a day of work. A migraine that ruined my husband’s birthday celebration plans. A migraine that caused me to once again yell at my children because I cannot deal with parenting while being in extreme pain.
After that miserable weekend I finally decided enough was enough. Early this week I fished out my scrap of paper with the number for a local acupuncturist and gave her a call.
To my great surprise she offered me an appointment that day. And her office was a convenient seven minute drive for my house. I decided the universe was giving me too much encouragement to back out, so I booked the appointment and got ready to head over to my very first acupuncture appointment.
I am not sure why I didn’t read up on what would happen in that first appointment other than the obvious action of being stuck with needles. Was I scared?
What do you mean what color is my tongue?
I definitely felt my nervous energy rise as I walked into the office and began filling out my paperwork. After all, it is never a fun task to list every single medical ailment you have ever had.
After I finished detailing my medical history, I was escorted by the acupuncturist to an exam room. She did things I expected such as take my blood pressure and check my pulse. Then she did things I did not expect like inspect my finger nails and ask me to stick out my tongue. I watched with equal parts curiosity and horror as she wrote down the details of my tongue on my form. Was pink a good thing? What is the proper amount and color of “fur” on your tongue?
After my acupuncturist and I chatted for a while about what ails me, she escorted me to the therapy room. Again, a little panic rose as she asked me to lay on the table. Was I supposed to strip? Was this going to hurt?
Just a little sting
As it turns out I was able to keep on all clothing save my socks and shoes. I definitely felt the needles as they went in, but I am not sure the word I would use for the sensation was pain. Whatever the feeling, this “Finding Chi (Qi) as I later heard it called only lasted for a second. After around ten needles had been inserted, my practitioner turned down the lights, turned on some relaxing music, and let the practice do its work.
After a few minutes I was able to relax and even enjoy the experience. Around 20 minutes later by practitioner came back and removed my needles, which by the way did not hurt a bit. She handed me a bottle of herbal tablets for migraines and began detailing my treatment plan.
Since my acupuncturist suspected my migraines were connected with my monthly cycle, she asked when I next expected menstruation to start. We scheduled a few treatments before Aunt Flow’s scheduled visit and I was on my way.
I had planned to run by the grocery on the way home, but I felt so relaxed and mellow after my treatment I decided to go home and spend the afternoon catching up on my reading instead. I continued to be calmly happy for the rest of the day.
I have been back to my acupuncturist since my first appointment and felt much less nervous during that treatment than at my initial visit. Again, I was left with a pleasant relaxed feeling for hours after my treatment.
Time will tell
I do not yet know if the acupuncture treatments will cure or even lessen my migraines. Time will certainly tell. But for now, I will certainly continue to pursue this method of treatment as it has produced no negative side effects and is relatively convenient.
Now if I can just get up the courage to actually take those herbal pills.