(Acu)Puncturing the Pain

Today, I woke up at 6.25! Five minutes before that dreadful alarm had a chance to go off (although I still took the 5 minutes plus the 10 other SNOOZE minutes to get moving).

But why in such a good mood? you might ask…

I’m off to acupuncture this morning…Yippee! Looking to get rid of some of the pain (at least, for a short while), have a short forced relax and get rid of some of the toxins.

So, for those who have never had this experience (and I promise it’s a good one):

acupuncture: (Chinese: 针灸; pinyin: zhēnjiǔ)  an alternative medicine methodology originating in ancient China that treats patients by manipulating thin, solid needles which have been inserted into acupuncture points in the skin (it does not hurt, guys – slight shock then, maybe, a feeling of uncomfortable-ness – and then the feeling disappears and you don’t feel anything!) According to Traditional Chinese medicine, stimulating these points can correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians. My acupuncturist decides which points to treat by observing and questioning me in order to make a diagnosis according to the tradition which he utilises. In TCM, there are four diagnostic methods:

  • Inspection focuses on the face and particularly on the tongue, including analysis of the tongue size, shape, tension, color and coating, and the absence or presence of teeth marks around the edge.
  • Auscultation and olfaction refer, respectively, to listening for particular sounds (such as wheezing) and attending to body odor.
  • Inquiring focuses on the “seven inquiries”, which are: chills and fever; perspiration; appetite, thirst and taste; defecation and urination; pain; sleep; and menses and leukorrhea.
  • Palpation includes feeling the body for tender A-shi points, and palpation of the left and right radial pulses at two levels of pressure (superficial and deep) and three positions Cun, Guan, Chi (immediately proximal to the wrist crease, and one and two fingers’ breadth proximally, usually palpitated with the index, middle and ring fingers).

cupping: an ancient form of alternative medicine in which a local suction is created on the skin; practitioners believe this mobilizes blood flow in order to promote healing. Suction is created using heat (fire) or mechanical devices (hand or electrical pumps) – the heat is from the suction is not HOT, it is slightly warm. When the cup is removed, it feels like some-let out a facelift on your back (you need to visualise that!)

moxibustion – My acupuncturist accompanied his treatment of me with moxibustion, the burning of cone-shaped preparations of Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort), which he placed on my stomach (on top of my belly button) – although it sounds like it would smell terrible, it is actually quite relaxing. Traditionally moxibustion was used for chronic diseases.

The reason I’m telling you all of this is that studies have found acupuncture is helpful in treating the fatigue and anxiety commonly experienced by fibromyalgia patients.

Have you ever seen happier flowers?

And, after all the puncturing, sucking and using my body as an altar, I feel GREAT! So great that, when I walked past the florist, I HAD TO buy happy flowers.

Ok, I’m now off to continue learning some video making skills for the Fibromyalgia Awareness Day video competition!