Naked

I need a frigging acupuncturist. Whenever I am sick, or injured, inevitably I am asked why I don't treat myself. I sometimes do. But usually self-treatment isn't as effective as getting treated by someone else. Also, a lot of times it's hard to reach the area that needs to be treated. It's almost impossible to needle your own low back-I've tried. What actually happened was that I wrenched my neck trying to look behind me and then had to get treatment for THAT. Acupuncture fail, most certainly.

Whenever I get treated I think back to my first acupuncture session in school. It was quite the experience, I must say. Although "modest" is definitely not the word that most friends associate with me, I had definitely grown up in a modest household. If I was wearing a long T-shirt that came to my knees as a nightgown, my dad would usually yell at me to "go put some clothes on, for christ's sake!" We simply did not show a lot of skin in the Fanelli household (and as I write this I can already see my friends shaking their heads in disbelief).

So when I started acupuncture school, it was an eye-opening experience. We would all be in various states of undress, palpating each other's bodies to find points. And there are a LOT of them. Thankfully we never needed to find REN 1 (look it up!), but we needed to needle and pinpoint every other point. Repeatedly.

When I started school I developed low-back pain from sitting for hours in classes. So I did what most students did-headed down to the school clinic for a free treatment. When I went in, one of my teachers was waiting for me. She asked if I minded if a few students came in to watch the treatment. "Of course", I answered, blissfully unaware of what was to follow.

Six of my classmates came parading in. They stood expectantly as my teacher told me to take my pants and underwear off. OK...what? I asked her if I was going to get a gown, and she smiled at me like I was 5 years old. "A gown? What, are you modest? Come on, nudity is no big deal, we should all embrace our bodies."

I DO embrace my body. But I don't usually embrace it in front of a teacher and six of my classmates. I didn't want to argue, so I simply lay there, ass to the wind, feeling like I was living out the "being naked while everyone is clothed" nightmare. And as I lay there, here came the crowning glory of the whole experience: I sensed the warmth of sunlight on my body and turned to see that not only was the window wide open, but that the entire campus was filled with students who were in between classes, students who were now enjoying (hopefully) the sight of a naked girl with needles in her ass.

At that point I vowed to myself that I would never make a patient feel the way I did at that moment. And to this day, I drape my patients until they look like Egyptian mummies. Yes, many people are comfortable with nudity, but I know that there is no worse feeling than being exposed against your will. As a student I felt helpless to protest, but I know that as a patient, I simply never would have returned.