I did it True Beauties! I tried acupuncture!
Anyone who knows me will know that I am NOT a fan of needles – in fact there have been a few occasions when I have given doctors quite a fright and have fell to the floor. However, my dad has tried acupuncture in the past and I have heard positive reports about this for injuries as well as anxiety so it was something I was quite interested to try.
I was invited to try this treatment at The Acupuncture Loft in Belfast by the lovely Trish (who I cannot rate high enough). From the moment I arrived I was made to feel so welcome. I was offered a cup of green tea while filling out the health questionnaire and then we had a chat about my answers. I actually expected to hop right onto the couch and get right down to business, but Trish made sure we took the time to go through different aspects of my health which could be enhanced during my treatment – the fact that I was not rushed during this process really aided in making this feel like a haven in the middle of a very busy Belfast.
It was decided that my two main issues were back pain (if anyone is training in massage – PLEASE listen to your tutor about posture – unlike me – trust me, it will save you from A LOT of pain!) and anxiety. During this session, as well as acupuncture, Trish was also going to do the Chinese cupping technique for the muscles in my back.
Before getting on the couch Trish asked to see my tongue. I did not do my research thoroughly beforehand because I would have learned that this is an important part of any acupuncture evaluation. According to Sacred Lotus, “the tongue has many relationships and connections in the body, both to the meridians and the internal organs. It is therefore very useful and important during inspection for confirming TCM diagnosis. It can present strong visual indicators of a person’s overall harmony or disharmony.” I found this super interesting as it showed up that I was deficient in certain areas which I was not aware of and Trish even had a diagram so I could see what different details on the tongue would mean (see below, fascinating!). My pulse was then taken in three different areas as this can reflect certain organs – another interesting fact which I was not aware of.
The attention to detail during this treatment was second to none – all blankets were heated (which felt amazing!) and a foot cleanse was used to ‘centre’ me before the treatment began.
Next was the bit I was sceptical of – would I feel the needles going in? What was I thinking letting someone put needles in me? What if I faint? What if I jump and the needle goes into the wrong place and I ended up paralysed (ok, the last one was slightly dramatic looking back).
I had no need to worry at all, because what I thought was a couple of deep breathing exercises before the acupuncture began, actually turned out to be the needles going in on the ‘exhale’ – and I didn’t feel a thing! (Relief!) In fact, all I felt was more and more relaxed as Trish worked her way down my back and down onto my legs. I think I even dozed off at one point.
When the needles were in, Moxa heated herb was used to increase my flow of ‘Qi’ which my tongue revealed I was deficient in (plus, it smelt amazing and helped me deeper into relaxation). According to the British Acupuncture Council:
‘Moxibustion is an essential part of Chinese medicine which uses moxa, a soft woolly substance prepared from mugwort leaves (Artemisia vulgaris). In moxibustion the moxa is placed either directly on the skin or held just above it, over specific acupuncture points or meridians. The herb is lit and as it smoulders slowly, a therapeutic heat permeates the skin and affects the flow of “qi” (energy) and blood in the area being treated’.
Following this, the needles were removed and again, I didn’t feel this happening at all.
Next was Chinese cupping. Before getting this treatment, Trish made me aware of bruising which occurs due to the suction of this treatment – just something to note if you are thinking about getting this done.
We have all seen the Facebook videos in relation to cupping, it looks pretty cool and the results are amazing – even Olympic athletes use this method. The sensation of this is pretty hard to explain, the only way I can describe it is; Do you remember when you were little and your mum used to put the hoover on you while you were sitting there? It’s a little bit like that, only stronger, and you can feel it almost immediately loosening those muscles which have been tight for so long (can I just say what a relief that is?!).
Bruising is a positive sign that this treatment has worked. The bruising I was left with is something similar to below and it only took a couple of days to completely fade:
Once the cups were removed, I received a back massage using Tiger Balm which was absolutely amazing and I could just feel any tension I had left being evaporated. Bliss!
So, my overall experience of acupuncture was an amazing one! All I can think is: Why have I not tried this before? I am so quick to take tablets which contain so many chemicals, when these techniques have been used for many years before any of those were even invented.
I am now 5 days after getting this done and I can honestly say that my back is the best it has felt in years! It might sound silly, but I also feel more at peace with myself, relaxed and it’s definitely a treatment option I plan on continuing.
True Beauties – if you suffer from anxiety or any previous injuries and want to try something that genuinely works – give The Acupuncture Loft in Belfast a go. You won’t regret it! I can’t wait for my next appointment already.
“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.”