Recently, my stress levels were so high that Yoga and deep breathing couldn’t stop my heart from feeling like it was trying to escape the confines of my chest. And it’s not like I could meditate all day long. My daughter’s face would be inches away from mine in less than two minutes. I’d open my eyes and she’d be smiling at me, announcing that I looked silly.
I needed another escape. Wine not being a daily option with a four-year-old, a friend mentioned acupuncture. I immediately thought of a rag doll with needles. The idea of laying down for an hour with pins placed in me, seemed more like voodoo torture, than a break from my racing thoughts.
I envy Hubs; he actually spends time walking around without his thoughts running rampant. He has the keen ability to focus on the moment without any mental noise. My mind is always at a rock concert. The mental chatter rivals that of four stages with heavy metal music blaring…all at the same time.
Although expensive, I decided to give acupuncture a try. Would it all be psychosomatic, I thought? If I believed in it enough, would it have the power to heal me? Or, maybe the needles would inflict enough pain that I would shift my focus? It was worth a shot. And if the first needle felt like a tetanus shot, I would have no qualms about running out of the room and never returning.
I made my appointment and ensured Babyface was safe at my parents. When I first entered the office, it resembled a doctor’s suite. There were pictures of newborns lining the walls, as the doctor specializes in fertility. This could be okay, I thought. There were babies surrounding me. What could be more innocent?
I was guided back to a small room with a sliding, Chinese door. After a few minutes of nervously searching my iPhone for something to distract me, a peaceful, Chinese man greeted me. His English was broken, but his voice emulated wise. I explained that I had been stressed out lately and was hoping to find some mental peace.
He didn’t say much. He just asked to look at my tongue. Would he notice that I just guzzled two cups of coffee, that I forgot to use a breath mint or that my teeth were wearing away from all of the grinding? What was he looking for? Did my tongue tell some kind of story?
I asked if the needles were sterilized and he pointed out that they’re disposable, which eased my mind. He even showed me the handful of needles, fully wrapped and sealed, that he would be using.
I laid down and closed my eyes. Some of the needles were barely noticeable and others felt like a small injection. I said “ouch” a few times, hoping he didn’t hit a nerve and he said it was all normal. He was like Yoda without the profound words, just the expressions. “Fine you will be,” I thought.
After placing about 20 needles in various parts of my body (mind you, I was fully clothed, so there were no x-rated pricks), he said, “I’ll be back soon. Just relax. If you can go to sleep, that would be good.” I heard, “Back soon I will be. Relax you must.”
After he left, I looked at my body and felt like Pinhead from the movie Hellraiser. I even thought about taking pictures and sending them to Hubs with my iPhone just to spook him. Would this turn into a horror movie or would I become a believer in this science? Soon enough, I felt heat float throughout my abdomen. It was like the pins were replaced with a heating pad. The heat slowly rose in temperature to a comfortable and near-perfect point. It was like my mind was controlling the thermostat. I’m always either too hot or cold, so this was an anomaly for me.
Suddenly, I felt calm. My head felt a bit foggy and there was a slight ache, but my racing heart had decided to take a nice, long rest. I was completely relaxed and hoping Yoda would take a bit longer to return. It was the equivalent of a massage without the masseuse.
Yoda returned much too soon and took the needles out carefully. I heard, “Ready to go you are. See you next week I will.” I thought, even if this is like hypnotherapy and I’m the only person that never falls asleep, I could use this hour every week to take a break from motherhood and relax. It would be the most expensive mental nap ever, but worth every damn penny.
After I got into my car, I noticed that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get my mind to wander. I was stuck, happily, in the moment, as I had envied others for having the ability to do so in the past. I was completely focused on the classical music blaring in my car. It was like a car commercial. The music was all I heard and the treble and bass were in perfect harmony. “So this is what this feels like,” I thought.
That night, after I put Babyface down for her nap, I sat and stared at the television in my easy chair. I had no idea what was on the channel, but I didn’t care. My mind was clear and my belief in acupuncture became pure. I’ve been going for three weeks now and it just keeps getting better.