How Do YOU Experience Acupuncture?

Generally speaking, my acupuncture appointments are squeezed in between a million other chores and obligations that need to be taken care of on my one day off. This being the case, I rarely have access to a computer immediately following my sessions. Today I had an unexpected (and aggravating) no-show from a new client, and rather than stew about it, I decided to take advantage. I'm way overdue for a treatment, so I climbed up onto the toasty heated bed in my office, and started needling away.

My treatment was simple and to the point (no pun intended). As you can imagine, I'm fairly limited in my point selection when I perform self-treatments. Back points aren't accessible, and it's really hard to needle your own wrists. Nevertheless, I managed to get ten needles in, which was all that I needed.

I often have new patients ask what acupuncture will feel like; when they ask, they are referring to the needles. What they really want to know is, "will it hurt?" I answer their questions honestly, but I sometimes forget how to describe what you will experience when the needles are in place. For me, the needles can give off tiny little pings, their way of communicating with each other. It really does feel as if they are speaking to each other, and as the session goes on, I feel more and more heaviness settling into every limb. But the strangest part, for me, is what happens mentally. It doesn't matter how sad, or pissed off, or anxious I am...it all melts away. Because I am not the type of person to let an obsessive thought go without a fight, I can feel myself struggling to maintain my grip on whatever it is that is bothering me. And no matter how hard I try, it's like gripping smoke. It just keeps floating away. Holding on to any mental or emotional tension is akin to grasping a long string of taffy; the sticky strings of thought dissolve away before your eyes, and there is nothing left but the ebb and flow of dreamlike thoughts. My body is so heavy, so firmly settled into the bed, but my mind is so, so light.

And then, at some point, it's over. Much like hypnosis, I often experience disorientation and time distortion. Have I been on the table for an hour? For ten minutes? Interestingly, in the hypnotic state the time distortion can go either way; some people feel that their sessions are much longer than they are, while others feel as if they've been under for mere minutes. When I have acupuncture, I find that time tends to stretch out. You know how good it feels when you have a day off, you take a short nap, and wake up feeling like you've slept for hours? That is how I always feel when I get off the table. Even a ten minute stretch of treatment can feel as if it's been a long, refreshing sleep.

And here I am now, waiting for my next patient. My mind is clear, and physically I feel as if I am light as a feather. All the aggravation from earlier in the day no longer exists; in fact I'm having a hard time even remembering how it feels to be annoyed :) If you have had acupuncture before, feel free to comment below as to how you experience the sensation of it. I'd love to hear your input!