I’m writing this an hour after the session, and I already feel my muscles relaxing. I feel rested, and like I just want to lay down and rest some more. Dr. Kime says that’s my parasympathetic system working, so it’s good to know my body is reacting. Now she’s currently telling me I should be glad we have needles, because when they first started doing acupuncture, they used fish bones and rocks. She knows just what to say to make me feel better!
I did a fourth treatment Friday, November 22nd. Our intern, Hannah, had never done acupuncture before. I warned her she better go first because when I feel a particular point, I tend to verbally react, with things like, “Ooh, felt that one.” “YIKES got me there.” “WOW OKAY THAT’S TENDER.” These reactions, of course, are laughed at by Dr. Kime as she calls me a whiner (Well maybe I am, but good golly gosh sometimes I just got to react!).
I had my first acupuncture treatment in July 2019. Now, when I decided I was going to do it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’d helped Dr. Kime all summer, and knew what the process looked like and how much people loved it, but me? Eh. I’d never been exposed to this type of healing and medicine, so I was skeptical. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in its value, but I wasn’t sure that I’d even feel anything or notice a difference.
I also don’t think I get to say I’m afraid of needles. Like, I am, but it’s more about the thought of what it’s doing and that it’s penetrating my skin versus the actual needle itself. I wear eight earrings, I get tattoos, so it’s not the needle so much as the process.
That first day: I’m holy hecking nervous. I’d casually mentioned it to Dr. Kime earlier that week that I was interested in trying it, and we had free time that afternoon. I went into the treatment room and got settled on the table, and I knew that if she strapped the HSR microphone on and read my heart, it would have been racing. Apparently I was more nervous than I thought. Dr. Kime opened her needles, and I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for the inevitable pain… That never came. Dr. Kime started laughing at me and said, “I told you so!” She continued to place needles based off what I told her was bothering me. Now, I felt a few, but it wasn’t a pain as much as a temporary discomfort. When I mentioned that, she explained it was because of the amount of energy my body had in that concentrated area, and I would feel the energy shift as I relaxed and rested. That was an interesting concept. I kept that thought in mind as I drifted in and out of sleep, and kept track of where I ‘felt’ the energy. For me, it was a small pulse where a needle was in a meridian point, and then a bit of a tingly sensation. After a minute or two it faded, and those feelings moved around my body and came and went. After that first session, I didn’t really think much about it until about a week later. I reflected on my sleep, my muscle tension, my energy levels, and noticed how much better and more relaxed I was. I didn’t really hit that afternoon slump, I was sleeping better, and my muscle tension was much more reduced.
I did acupuncture again in September and had a similar experience to the first. That time, I noticed a difference sooner with my sleep and fatigue. I was sleeping more soundly, for longer periods of time. My shoulder muscles were relaxed. My lower back didn’t hurt. Maybe, just maybe, this energy-rebalancing idea is real.
Okay. Now in October I did it a third time. And WOW, I felt so many of those needles. Anyone walking by the treatment room would have thought I was being tortured. Dr. Kime just laughed at me and told me “Think how much better you’ll be when you’re done!” She was right, of course. Again, when I say I felt them, they were temporarily uncomfortable as my body reacted because of the pent up energy in those areas. We discussed the points I felt: my shoulders, where I carry stress and tension; fatigue, because I was exhausted and not sleeping well; my stomach and lungs, because I was fighting infection; anxiety, because I was in the middle of several big projects and adjustments. She added extra points to help my body rebalance. As she worked and my body adjusted I immediately felt myself relax, almost like a sigh, saying “Thanks, Robin. We needed this.” I noticed changes right away, too. My muscles relaxed so much after that session, I was sore for the next three days. I was awake, alert, and ready to go.
Needless (get it?) to say, I’m hooked. I’m a believer. It’s a half hour of R&R that allows my body to simply be, in a warm, quiet room with calming music and waves. I never thought I’d be on board with it, but I can’t deny the results I see in myself and other patients who come in. To me, it’s worth it for aide with stress, fatigue, and anxiety. It rebalances my energy and body and helps me prepare for the week’s adventures and work. I feel recharged, and reconnected to myself. Don’t let these pictures fool you, I’ve enjoyed each session I’ve had. And I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t tried it. What’s the harm?
-Robin Kime, Acupuncture and Chiropractic Clinic of Iowa