Just this past week, I received acupuncture, started taking Chinese medicine, and took a yoga class.
You guys, I am holistic as f*ck.
This was actually my second appointment with the acupuncturist. I first went to see him for a couple of reasons, primarily back/neck pain and hormonal imbalance (yes, still – my hormones are stubborn little jerks). Apparently he’s known as the baby-making acupuncturist. I heard he is responsible for eleven women, three men and two dogs suddenly getting pregnant after years of trying to conceive. Which is kind of suspicious, because everyone knows dogs can’t get pregnant, but I was willing to give it a try anyway. I’m not trying to conceive anything, except maybe a plan for world domination. But I figured if he can help women with malfunctioning ovaries to conceive, certainly he can at least coax mine out of their cave.
I went into the acupuncture appointment with some stereotypes – I was expecting some ancient Asian guru, or some hippy named ‘Leafblower’ that wore a long dress weaved from his own hair. Naturally, my judgments were way off and the acupuncturist was actually a conservatively dressed gentleman who seemed very down-to-earth. Before I explained my issues and why I was there, Leafblower felt my pulse in both arms, then looked closely at my tongue to see what my body would tell him was the reason for my visit.
Apparently my body overshared, because we spent the next ten minutes discussing my cycles.
I’ll spare you the details of that conversation, but if you really want to know, apparently my body will tell you all about it. Stupid attention whore.
After we talked a little about acupuncture and the needles, Leafblower had me lie face down on a massage table so he could insert the needles. First, he massaged my neck and back to relax the muscles for needle insertion. Then, he inserted a total of 20 needles in my neck, upper and lower back. As he inserted the needles, he informed me about the different points in the back, and how stimulating those points with needles can affect the flow of energy through the body and help heal pain and other issues. Some of the points are connected, he said, so that inserting a needle in my foot might help with something like nausea, or back pain, for example. He then referenced the points contained in the “glutes”, and mentioned he thought it would help my upper back pain. Spoiler alert: glutes means butt. I learned the hard way, when someone asks if they can stick things in your glutes, the answer should always be “no”.
Ladies, a word of wisdom: when someone offers you an innocent massage to “relax the muscles for needle insertion”, they’re about to ask if they can stick things into your glutes.
I barely registered any sensation when the needles were inserted into my neck, but because I have some moderate strain in my upper and lower back, my muscles involuntarily twitched when the needles were inserted, and I felt a slight ache. Same with the glutes.
For the next 20 minutes, I relaxed on the table and pretended to be a porcupine. Leafblower returned, removed the needles, and I turned over onto my back. Next, he inserted two needles in each foot, two in each arm, one in my forehead, and one just below my belly button, which he warned me might cause a tingling sensation that would travel to my groin. It did, and it was glorious.
They should give you the groin-tingling needle right before they ask to needle your glutes. That, combined with some compliments and jewelry might convince a lot more ladies to say yes.
Another 20 minutes of relaxation, and the needles were removed.
Next, Leafblower and I discussed Chinese herbs and medicine that might help with some of the issues I’m having. I’m not particularly a fan of western drugs. Most make me sick, and the ones that don’t give me side effects that need to be countered with another drug. If it was possible for me to get off all prescription drugs, I would.
So, when I mentioned to Leafblower that I was open to trying Chinese medicine, he created my own super special back pain/hormonal imbalance/nervous system dysfunction/fatigue patent-pending Leafblower blend. It smells like wet dog and looks ground up rabbit food. You mix it with water and drink it. Leafblower said it tastes like broth, which is kind of correct, if what you’re making broth from is a big pile of mud. Add about 500 packets of soy sauce and it’s actually quite tolerable.
If you’re a masochist, or if you love mud tea, I can share the composition of herbs used in my super special delicious blend.
Since my first appointment with Leafblower I have noticed my back pain and strain (or doom and gloom) has lessened a little. My hormones are still all discombobulated, but they may be too advanced for medicine, whether its western or eastern or experimental or concocted in my friend Sage’s kitchen. Overall, Leafblower and I got along great, and I have begun to look forward to each appointment. He even gave me a nickname. I don’t speak Chinese, but I think it roughly translates to “Let’s you stick needles in her glutes.”
It loses something in the translation.
I posted a few weeks ago about a free “Yoga for Dysautonomia” class offered at the local Scripps cardiac rehab center. It turns out the class is actually taught by my cardiologist’s PA, who is absolutely fabulous. She’s obviously knowledgeable of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) since she is the one currently treating my condition, but she has also studied yoga and is very familiar with the different poses and their benefits. The entire class is either seated or lying, so as to not strain our autonomic system.
Right now the class size is very small – there have been a couple of occasions where it was just myself and the instructor. On those occasions, she asks for my input on what I’d like to work on and tailors each pose to my skill level. It’s a very calming and relaxing class, and at the end of each session, I’m always proud of myself for going. I can even touch my toes now, if waving at the air eighteen inches above them counts.
The good news is, I finally have a legitimate excuse to be able to wear yoga pants all day. Because I do yoga now. I’m a yogi. I have even created my own pose. You lie on your stomach with arms at your side. Then, tense your lower back and upper thighs/hip area while trying to keep slow, even breaths. I call this pose “needles in glutes.”
If you’re a local Scripps patient and would like details on the class, send me an email. The day/time will be changing soon, so I would encourage you to double check the time before showing up.
Friends, have you tried any alternative medicines/therapies? What did you think?
“We don’t have souls, we are souls. We have bodies.” – CS Lewis
Smell ya later.