A couple of weeks ago I got a call from a very close friend.
“Well, I have this back injury which is totally taking over my life. But aside from that, I’m freaking great.”
“You need to call Paige right now. She’s going to help you.”
One phone call and a couple of hours later, I was laying on a table face down, getting needles put into my back by my new friend Paige. Before I got to her office, I couldn’t even turn my head to the left side, I was in so much pain. I was willing to try anything. Even needles. By the time she got done with me, my pain was much more tolerable. I could actually move my head without cringing, and I could sleep through a full night. It felt even better after a second session.
So what’s the deal with acupuncture? Why does my back feel so much better when needles get poked into it? I decided to go straight to the source and find out, so I interviewed Paige to get the inside scoop.
Paige! I’m so excited to hear everything you have to say. First things first…what attracted you to practicing acupuncture?
I was given an elaborate voodoo kit instead of a Malibu barbie at age 8. Kidding of course, I was attracted to acupuncture because of its ability to alleviate pain quickly and naturally. After finishing schooling in Holistic Nutrition, Psychology and Ayurveda I felt like I was able to address a variety of health complaints as well as connect to patients working through major life issues, but wasn’t able to take people’s physical pain away. In a culture where we are addicted to pill popping, repressing and slapping a bandaid on our problems, I wanted patients to walk out of my practice with a quantifiable difference in the pain they felt when they walked in.
Very cool. What’s your favorite thing about your practice?
My favorite thing is by far how weird it is. I mean, I am basically using needles to play with energy and heal people… I’m a broom stick and cape away from from Hogwarts.
Ha! YES. I love that you just referenced Harry Potter. So, how does acupuncture work for healing physical injuries?
There are two ways to explain this: one for the western/science based brain and one for those who know where their chakras are located and have been to Burning Man. The western explanation is that acupuncture works by stimulating the brain and spinal cord in the Central Nervous System to release hormones, neurotransmitters and endorphins. These chemicals travel through the blood stream to lessen pain, boost immunity and improve organ function while the endorphins calm and make us feel warm and fuzzy inside. Aaaaaand the more Chinese-y answer is that acupuncture works by the practitioner diagnosing where there are imbalances of Qi, or energy in the body, then using Acupuncture points along the imbalanced meridian to open up and allow the Qi to flow more freely. One way to think of it is like the a traffic jam where everything is gridlocked. That would be an area of pain, then suddenly some side streets open up and the flow of traffic is re-routed so that there is once again a more steady flow through the streets (Southern Californians can email me for another analogy).
TRIPPY. So…you’ve mentioned the power of acupuncture for PMS symptoms and emotional health. Can it really help with that?! Tell me more.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can be incredibly effective for OBGYN issues. My first experience with acupuncture was actually for intense PMS and cramping symptoms during my cycle. Once a month I turned into the exorcist crossed with the Apprentice’s Omarosa, could throw down a family sized Coldstone bucket and would cry at the drop of a hat. Shockingly, I spent my early twenties single until I came to acupuncture and realized that not only was this behavior not “normal” for everyone, but also that I could save myself a week per month of crippling pain. After a couple sessions and some herbs that tasted like feet, I felt much better and was able to manage my symptoms while not putting work or life on hold.
Emotionally, acupuncture can work wonders as well. When we go through difficult experiences in our lives, we accumulate emotional stress in our bodies — and even though we may have worked through that situation with time or therapy or a weekend in Vegas, the energetic body may still hold onto that trauma. With acupuncture, we are able to access imbalances in Qi that were caused by trauma and work with the body to restore harmony and help the Qi flow in its natural direction again. This can help to alleviate emotional issues from the past as well as general and recurrent episodes of stress, anxiety, depression and frustration we feel on a daily basis.
DUDE. That is so incredibly legit. What should someone expect at their first acupuncture session?
Your first acupuncture treatment will usually last approximately 75 minutes and starts off with the Acupuncturist asking a series of questions about the your past medical history and current state of health. From there we use some incredibly strange but interesting Traditional Chinese diagnostic methods such as feeling the radial pulse and observing the tongue to get an idea of what is going on inside of you. After that there may be some palpation on different areas of the body depending on your chief complaint, then the patient lies down on a comfortable treatment table and relaxes as the practitioner begins the acupuncture treatment. During the session you may feel warmth, tingling and relaxation as your body gets used to the treatment. Afterwards there is usually a sense of calm and you can return to your regular daily activities feeling about 1000% more awesome than you did when you walked into the office.
Yeah, I can vouch for that. I never thought I’d actually look forward to getting needles. Anything else going on that you’re especially excited to share with us?
Thankful Thursdays in November!!! To promote acupuncture and wellness this fall, I’m offering the opportunity for you to give the gift of health to someone in your life. Every Thursday during November, you can book an initial acupuncture session for someone at half price, paying it forward and investing in their health. Initial sessions can be gifted to as many people as you’d like, just contact the office to buy a session and they will receive a gift card email notifying them to book their treatment. Give the gift of health and let your loved ones experience the benefits of acupuncture!
Well that’s the coolest thing ever. How can we reach you?
You can book your session online here.
Awesome!!! Thanks Paige. Can’t wait to see you again soon to get some needles poked into me.
Share with us in the comments: Have you ever gotten acupuncture? What benefits have you experienced? Do you have any questions about it?