So, I tried acupuncture…

Here’s the deal. Life finally caught up with me.

I felt exhausted all the time. I put on weight, I slept way too much, my joints ached so badly that sometimes it was hard to get out of bed, and my head always felt fuzzy. My stomach always seemed to be upset, and my mood was foul.

One problem that I knew I had: I’d started a really bad habit while my father was in the hospital three years ago. I was “comfort eating,” usually at night. I really packed on the pounds–and couldn’t get rid of  them. It was about this time that some of the other symptoms started to show up, so I decided maybe I could fix the problem by eating better. (And by ‘I’, I mean ‘we’. My husband always gets dragged along on these little adventures…)

So, we started eating breakfast every day. I know, this one sounds like a no brainer — but my husband and I were both terrible about eating n the morning. So, we started, with breakfast in the morning, and then a decent lunch and dinner. That helped, a bit. We weren’t eating as much junk food late at night, and my stomach wasn’t always upset. But, it only helped a bit, so, after I read Wheat Belly, we cut out wheat.

I was a bit apprehensive about starting this, because we are literally surrounded by wheat products everywhere. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I didn’t even miss the Christmas cakes and cookies. Much.

But still, I wasn’t feeling good. I was still sleeping way too much, couldn’t get the energy up to exercise with any regularity, and found that my mood, generally speaking, was still foul. On top of it all, my skin condition (I’ve had it since my mid twenties) was absolutely out of control. again. (I had been told by doctors over the years that this is stress induced, for the most part. I was also told “just get used to it.”) At this point in time, I was using a really expensive salve and lotion combo, plus antihistamines (for the itching) so I could sleep. I  drugged myself every night — and then was barely able to function every morning. This was on top of the feeling exhausted and gaining weight and being depressed and the joint pain.

I did the “give me every blood test known to man” with my doctor, to make sure I had nothing that needed medical attention. (There was nothing, past slightly elevated blood pressure and a confirmation that the skin condition had indeed gone crazy) And then I decided to try acupuncture.

I talked to my husband about it, and he said he’s support me, just as long as I NEVER suggested he try it. (And now you know his limit. No wheat? Fine. Needles in his body? No frigging way.)

Acupuncture–if you look over this link, it appears that there isn’t much point in it, past the placebo effect. Yeah. All right. However, I knew some people who had tried it, and seen some positive results.

So, I went here., and signed up for a three month course of treatments. Was I scared? Yeah, actually, I was.  They stick needles into you, after all! And sometimes it hurt. For some reason, the spot on my hand between my thumb and pointer finger was always painful. (It felt like she was punching the needle in, sometimes. She didn’t, of course. But it felt like it.) Interestingly, this was the hand with the worst joint pain. Huh.

The top of my feet hurt too.  (Seriously. Talk about tender. )That’s because there are tendons and bones–and not much meat. And then there was my forehead, that always seemed to bleed. And my elbows and wrists and knees and stomach and legs and… a lot of other places. (Right next to the finger and toenails is nasty. I don’t know why, but these were the needles that creeped me out.)

Oh, and I had to figure out how to lie still for half an hour. The first time, I was so tense, I’m amazed I didn’t cramp up everywhere!

I got this done twice a week for three months.

It wasn’t like this three month period was stress free. It wasn’t. I had some hard decisions to make, and I made them. Then I had to dealt with the aftermath. I also had to deal with getting sick in the middle of all of this. (Yeah. Got the flu. The “puke” part hit while I was getting an acupuncture treatment, believe it or not. I apologized for coming in sick, and she told me not to be foolish. “This is not a spa,” she said. And then she gave me Chinese medicine and told me to go home to bed–and the flu cleared in just a few days.) Then there was Christmas, and our 30th wedding anniversary. Fun, but stressful. And then, the warm weather came, and with it snow mold. My allergies kicked into high gear, and I thought I would lose my mind when many of the symptoms that had gone away returned. (Plus the itchy eyes and the stuffed up nose and the thick head, and all the rest. “I can fix that,” my acupuncturist said. And she did. But the needles in my face were quite unnerving… I could see some of them, you see.)

Through all of this, I kept going, twice a week, for three months.

Now the big question. Did it work?

Well, here’s the thing. It is not the only thing I”ve been doing. I’ve also been taking Chinese medicines, plus vitamins and fish oil. (The acupuncturist advised it, and I went along with her advice.) I also researched my skin condition (since I was trying to get rid of the salves and drugs and other stuff my doctor prescribes) and removed nightshades from my diet.

In other words, I changed a lot of things while I was getting acupuncture. So, I can’t really say that the acupuncture did anything for me.  However….

Here is what I see. My skin condition is better, I am sleeping more deeply and feeling well rested when I get up.(And I’m not using the salve/antihistamine combo anymore, either.)  My joints don’t ache. (I did not realize how much they did ache, until the pain started to fade, and then disappeared. ) My back and neck don’t seize up on me if I do a really long writing stint, and don’t stretch after. (I have had back problems since I was eighteen years old. Seriously.) I have a lot more energy. Oh, and my mood is no longer foul. (It ain’t great, sometimes, but at least it’s not always the blackest of black.)

Did acupuncture do this? Maybe. But to be honest, I think that it’s a combination of everything I’ve been doing.  The food choices, and more exercise, and taking fish oil. And the acupuncture.

I say if your doctor can’t figure out how to make you feel better, then give acupuncture a try. It sure has less possible side effects than most of the drugs we have to deal with!

I also received cupping as part of my treatment. That bruising? It’s real!