Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Acupuncture: Yes

Well, maybe. Probably. Give it a try and see what you think!

It's hard to say. An endorphin high is a remarkable thing. However, the main objection I had to acupuncture - that getting a bunch of needles stuck into you would hurt like hell - turned out to be unfounded, so I'm inclined to be magnanimous.

It's also a very silly objection for anyone to make who routinely allows cats to settle on her, purring raucously, and clawing her skin to bloody shreds while drooling in her hair.

We do still have what I have unequivocally identified as rat mites, so an exterminator is coming out Saturday, courtesy of my landlord, to rid the house of their preferred hosts (without which I am assured they die, no matter how much blood I personally provide).

(This refers, let's be clear, to trapping and releasing any squirrels, raccoons, and rhinoceroses who happen to live in the attic, then sealing all points of entry, and bug-bombing the shit out of the house.)

And now we also have lower back pain. Hooray! So it hasn't really been a banner autumn for me. Aside from making A's in all my classes. But I don't want to brag. I might actually end up with a B in Texas Government, which reminds me of a certain Cheech & Chong song.

But, three weeks ago, on the bike ride to work, I strained something in my lower back (my sacroiliac joints, according to a practitioner of strictly Western medicine), and have been in varying degrees of pain ever since. I can't ride, and have to drive everywhere, which sucks, although I guess it does somewhat justify the purchase of a car (that the bank owns until I finish paying them back for it - I am pretty sure I said that before Bike Snob NYC did, by the way). I have had to buy gas THREE TIMES now. God only knows how much I've paid for parking.

After two and a half weeks of Aleve and Flexeril I was not seeing any improvement, and was finding it difficult to sit, stand, or walk, all of which it turns out I need to do rather a lot. So I followed my friend Lois's suggestion and went to an acupuncturist today.

It really is hard to single out what causes the healing effect. For one thing, Americans aren't big on meditation. But when someone sticks a bunch of tiny needles in your back, hands, and feet (a completely painless process, for me at least), and leaves you alone in a room to contemplate your condition for twenty minutes, you're going to be in a very different state of mind when she returns than you were when she left.

I settled in and began to relax, and pondered the strange physicality-yet-non-physicality of consciousness, as my limbs draped over the table like slabs of meat and I lost any sense of proximity awareness. Were my big toes touching, or were my feet spaced several inches apart? Did my fingers still move? Say - what would happen to a conscious awareness uploaded into immortality in some newly-developed cosmic mainframe?* Would we adjust easily to our new electronic immortality, or would we go rapidly insane in the massive sensory deprivation from every minuscule discomfort, itch, twinge, need-to-pee, breath, heartbeat, scent that we've ever known since conception?

Maybe just the first release. iMmortality 1.0. By 2.6 they'd have worked most of the bugs out.

So hey! No more rat-mite bites!

Following the solitude, I was pretty chatty when the acupuncturist came back in to remove the needles and do some cupping (not painful, as the marks suggest; but I'm less convinced about this practice). Then she gave me a few minutes of light massage to finish up, and told me to take as long as I needed to get dressed and come out, because I was likely to feel slightly dizzy.

The really strange part was how it felt to move back into my body. The lower-back pain had been completely forgotten. I had to think about flexing my fingers, moving my arms, propping up on my elbows. Then I remembered I'd once had toes, and wiggled them experimentally. Slowly I sat up. I looked down at the physical parts of myself in some surprise. Fuck. There are bug bites on my arms.

So obviously, acupuncture isn't a cure-all.

Still, it was rather a wondrous experience, and one I hope to repeat now and again. I stumbled out of the office after paying. The acupuncturist was a little concerned. "Are you okay to drive?" she asked. She gave me a bottle of water. Some Nutter Butters might also have been appropriate.

I'll do a lot to avoid the typical American-elder fate of living out of a date-labeled pill box. My back has been improving over the last few days, so it's hard to say whether the acupuncture itself helped. But the treatment itself felt amazing. I'm a holistic convert!

I'm still bombing the shit out of these fucking bugs.

*Located in San Angelo.

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At November 21, 2014 6:53 AM, Blogger Agnes Lawson said...

It's always good to keep your eyes peeled to other forms of therapy that may suffice for your condition. Nothing is better than a good old medical check-up in order for you to know what precautions to take and avoid for your injury. Take care!

Agnes Lawson @ Pain Relief Experts


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