Ya, that’s my leg there looking like a porcupine (sexy legs though huh). I have read, and been told,that acupuncture is a great therapy for all sorts of aligments. Such as in my case pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping as well as digestive disorders. The thought of having needles stuck into me and left there never really appealed to me though. Also their was the cost factor as it is generally not covered by insurance (of course I fell into that category)
Well an opportunity came up that I could give it a try for free, ya I know in hindsight you get what you pay for. A local natural therapy clinic was having an open house and offering free Accupuncture and massage for the day, hey can’t beat that. So I head over and signed up, first getting a chair massage which was just ok. Then I got called in for my poking.
Welcome to the Community…
First off to keep costs and your fee down it is done in a “community” environment, meaning its a large room where up to 8 people can be getting treatment at the same time. Knowing this when I walked in my first impression was good. The room was done in tranquil colors, meditative music playing softly, each “bed” (this done in air quotes as I will explain) area had semi transparent fabric material draped between them (but you could still see each other, especially across from you). I was guided by dr. beardface (If you ever watched scrubs you’ll understand, was his twin) to my “bed” and sat down, yes sat. Now I’ll explain the bed part, it was kind of a sophisticated patio furniture with a bed sheet over it. You sat down then they reclined you back before the treatment.
After being reclined in a comfy position the acupuncturist asked me “what could they do for me today?”. Besides wanting an ice tea but knowing I wasn’t getting one I explained that I was diagnosed with fibro but today only thing bothering me was shoulders, neck and jaw clenching. Oh and that it was my first time so be gentle. Next he told be to stick out my tongue, checked my pulse quickly the started jabbing me with needles. No warning, no this will not hurt a bit or “any questions” just started sticking it to me.
I’m not ashamed to say some actually hurt.
There’s No Crying in Acupuncture
I didn’t cry or anything, I’m still a dude, but I was told they wouldn’t hurt by others.This should have been a clue to just stop and leave but already had a dozen needles in me so I thought I’d see how it goes. After he was done he said to relax and he would be back in a bit. Yes I’m going to relax with a couple dozen needles in me. So I prepared to enter zen mode and chill out for awhile when I noticed him heading over to one of those “beds” across from me where a patient had just left. He grabbed the sheet I just kind of flicked it up to get all the wrinkles out and smooth it making it look fresh THEN BROUGHT THE NEXT PATIENT IN. This was my second clue, I mean what if the person before me was a bit sweaty and had cooties or something. I know they try to keep costs down so you get a low fee but this was just wrong.
20-30 mins later he came back to me and started removing needles. Again no word of warning, no how are you feeling just started plucking me like a turkey and some of them felt worse coming out then they did going in. When done he just said take your time and left.
The worst part of all this is starting an hour or so afterwards I started having an anxiety episode that lasted well into the next day. Not sure if it was a coincidence or a combination of things from the day but I haven’t had an anxiety episode in a few months, so this does make me a little leery of acupuncture at the moment. Now I know with their open house they may have been seeing a few more people than normal and most they will never see again, but they could have been a little more personable (thats how you get future clients right?) and changed the sheets. I hope both of these items are different when they actually see clients on a normal basis.
Rounding it All Up
This clinic normally operates on a non-profit status and offers services on a sliding fee schedule based on your income. This is great to help those that can’t afford it normally and are seeking alternative therapies, but due to my first experience with them I will not use them. I’ll save my pennies for elsewhere.
On that note I have not been totally turned off to acupuncture. My chiropractor offers it as well and I think she is great so may have a go with her soon. Also found another that came highly recommended with lower fees than most that I’m looking into as well, and she teaches yoga as well! Win Win.
So moral of the story is do your research first, get recommendations, and even interview the person first to see how you feel about them. Its not something to try on “free” day.
Have you tried acupuncture? How was your experience? Let me know in the comments below, would love to hear about it.