I've always been curious about acupuncture - curious, and a bit weirded out by the all of those needles sticking out of me. So I decided to face my fears and give it a shot. And let me tell you, it's a lot more than just pushpins in your legs. The office was located in Times Square, so my first thought was: how can this experience be relaxing plopped in the middle of the busiest (and my least favorite) spot in Manhattan? But, as soon as the (very Zen) acupuncturist opened the door, out wafted the smell of a spa and immediately my back ached for a massage.
The most impressive thing was how much time she spent with me going over a lengthy intake, asking questions about everything, from medical issues to what supplements I take and how I deal with stress. The main area I wanted to focus on was my energy levels, so we talked about that, among other things, making connections in the body, examining how one area can effect another and how my lifestyle manifests physically with respect to Chinese Medicine, which was interesting and enlightening.
Then it came time for the actual needles. When I spoke to the acupuncturist upon making the appointment, she suggested I wear loose-fitting comfortable clothes; short sleeves allowed my arms to be exposed, while I was able to pull up my pant legs for access to my lower extremities. She thoughtfully picked out spots (for instance, a spot on my leg somehow connected to my digestion), tapped the area a bit and then quickly inserted the needle. How did it feel? Well, it definitely didn't hurt - there was a little sting and then just a deep awareness of it being there, which I'm guessing was just a result of the unfamiliar feeling. She probably put in about 10 needles, mostly in my legs, arms and hands. She adjusted one in my hand and I felt a quick burning sensation, but then it was gone. She didn't use any on my face for fear of a minor black and blue (not ideal the week before my wedding!), which I was kind of relieved about (maybe next time?). She left them in about a half hour and as the time went by a strange thing happened - the sensation of pressure/tingling alternated from one spot to the other, almost as if each was working one at a time (maybe it was in my head, but it felt that way.) For about 10 minutes of the session she put pressure around the neck and shoulder area with her hands, reaching a pressure point right at the base of my head, which felt really good.
I'm not sure if it was simply laying down for 30 minutes just breathing or the massage-like pressure, but after almost two hours there, I left feeling relaxed and refreshed, ready to face the honking horns and flashing lights of Time Square...well almost. I'll let you know how session two goes, and we would love to hear about your acupuncture experiences too!