Day 22: Acupuncture

Ever since I was diagnosed with RA, people have been telling me to try acupuncture. When I worked for the local veterinary hospital in eighth grade, one of the vets, who performed acupuncture on dogs, even offered to do it on me. Until today, however, I never entertained the thought further than, “That might be interesting.”

For my appointment at Lincoln Square Acupuncture, I was told to wear comfortable clothes, pants that could roll above my knees and a shirt that could roll above the elbows. When I arrived, I filled out a form on an iPad and then was instructed to take off my shoes and pick a chair in the communal acupuncture room. Three other people were already inside relaxing. No one seemed to notice me, so I tried a chair, didn’t like it and moved to another, more satisfactory one.

When the acupuncturist came in, she and I discussed quietly my needs and what I should expect. She noticed my hands and left knee, feeling them for heat. Somehow she decided where I needed the small needles and started with a spot right between my eyes. It didn’t hurt at all. I just felt a tingling sensation. Then she put more needles in various parts of my body, mostly on the left side. I sat totally still and closed my eyes trying to both relax and pay attention to what I felt.

Throughout my half hour I felt all of the following; tingling, heat, aches, heaviness, and movement. That last one was tricky. I felt like my back was moving or rocking yet I was absolutely certain it was not. When the acupuncturist came and took my needles out, she told me all of those sensations meant it was working and my energy was flowing. She recommended I come three more times over the next two weeks to help with my pain.

I paid for my appointment (they offer a pay-what-you-can between $30-$50 for the first appointment and $20-$40 for any subsequent appointments) and did not make another one. I decided to wait to see how I felt the rest of the day before making a decision. Mostly I felt relaxed and calm all over. My left hand, where I felt the most weight during the treatment, has progressively felt lighter and lighter throughout the day. Now it feels as if something has been released or a weight lifted in the knuckles of the thumb and first finger. It’s a pretty amazing feeling!

I plan to go back a few more times to see if it progresses. Who knows? This may become an integral part of my care.

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