I lay on the acupuncturist's table and she prepared to needle some points to bring me back to the land of the living. For those of you who have never had (or heard of) acupuncture, it is a traditional Chinese medicine that dates back thousands of years. Practitioners work with the body's energy vortexes and lines, called meridians. Each meridian affects and governs the different organs, glands, and systems of the body. Acupuncturists insert thin, small needles along the meridians at various points on the body to balance the meridians. This all depends on what needs to be treated. (Here's the Mayo Clinic's entry on acupuncture: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acupuncture/MY00946)
For those of you who have had acupuncture before, you know, some points feel like nothing at all, some points feel like a tiny pinprick, and some points leave you clinging to the ceiling to escape the person with the needles. I won't lie. I'm not one of those people who hates needles. Nor do I love them. I find them a necessary evil. I take my shots. I've donated blood. I do what I need to do. But, and this is a big but, the point, T (the acupuncturist), prepared to needle was going to send me into the stratosphere.
"You're going to stick a needle, where???" I leaped off the table.
"About three quarters of an inch into your perineum," T calmly said it again. "It will likely hurt, but it, along with a point right below your nose will jump start your energy level."
Please, know right now. I trusted T. I had been seeing her for a few years and she knew her stuff. But, trepidation (and let's face it, modesty) impeded my ability to think straight and all I wanted was to run, far away.
I took a few minutes to think about it and gave her the go-ahead. She asked me to breathe deeply and in that instant between inhalation and exhalation, she inserted the needle what felt like 12 inches directly into my perineum.
ZING!!!! The electrical wave whooshed through me. When I was a kid, we had an old stereo receiver in our living room. It had faulty wiring, and one day I touched it just the wrong way. Millions of little voltage-like shocks coursed through me. My whole body buzzed in reaction. And it took a second to pull away from the stereo. The zing T sent through my body with that needle felt identical. The shock reverberated through me until she needled the point on that little indentation between upper lip and nose. Then, my body started to feel like a container for all that zing. I felt energized (although, I must admit, it might just have been the adrenaline rush of having a point that sensitive being needled).
We weren't finished by a longshot. I would need more sessions. But, she jump started me. I had energy for the first time in what felt like years. I broke down and cried right in front of her because for the first time since getting the diagnosis, I had hope. I had hope that I might once again have energy and dare I say it, vitality! T started the revolution for me, and it's definitely been the road less traveled. But for the most part, I'm thrilled I chose this path.
Here are some images about (some) of the points that I had needled. These are used by permission of Dr. Gigi Shames at www.ThyroidAcupuncture.com
Various acupuncturists I've worked with (T moved away years ago so I've had to find other acupunturists) have needled almost all these points on me. If needles bother you, and you want to stimulate the points, you can do it by gently pushing a knuckle into each point. Twenty or thirty seconds with a slight circular motion of your knuckle into that point will do. The point lies in a slightly different place on everyone, so you will need to find your own. I press around the area with my fingertip. I know I've found the right place when that place feels more sensitive to the pressure than the area around it. Try closing your eyes and feeling for that response and you will find the right place for you.
Acupuncture and supplements weren't the only changes I needed to make. I needed a complete lifestyle makeover. I'd spent my 20s in a haze of busy-ness. I bolted from one activity to another and I took on stressful, deadline-based work. I worked out, but never seemed to lose weight or get in any better shape (more, much more on that in a later post). I remained exhausted, wrung-out, and strung-out. And now that my thyroid had gone the way of the dodo, that had to change.
Next time: Enter, yoga!
Have you ever tried acupuncture or acupressure to treat issues? How did it work for you? Tell me your story.