Thursday, June 25, 2009

Acupuncture ahoy! and a surprise on my leg.

Last night, George Michael songs were stuck in my head. And then I found out, today is his birthday. He's 46.

I had acupuncture today for the first time! Very interesting experience. I went with a co-worker's recommendation to visit Karen. From the moment I saw her, I knew I would like her: tall, thin, cute haircut, graying hair, leaf necklace, cute shirt. She saw me right away--no waiting in a waiting room. She took my medical history in a way no one else has: she asked questions and I talked. No forms where I check off where I'm hurting on a crude drawing of a human, no pain meters, no insurance info, no checking off family history. Unlike all other doctors, she was actually empathetic and acknowledged the pain I'm in. She said all the right things. I only had to sign one form.

She knows my orthopedist Jeff. She knows my chiropractor Len. She said Len is not a traditional chiropractor. She said he's more like a physical therapist because he does soft tissue work (officially called Active Release Technique) and less back cracking (her words). She said she likes the ortho and the chiro. And she said that acupuncture and chiropracty go hand in hand.

She showed me the acupuncture needles (they are really really thin, reminding me of beading needles because of their flexibility) and told me what she would do, and she agreed she could treat both knees and the back all at once. Then I put on a gown. She did this neat trick where she had me take a deep breath and then asked me forcefully blow out the air---so as I was pushing the air out, she stuck me. Loved that as it was a great distraction and reminded me of yoga breathing. The feet are the most sensitive body part, she said, but for me the worst one was a needle she put in my left calf that really really hurt--I yelped out loud. She said that was a great sign--that was for my lower back and the fact that I reacted means this will work--she said that area is blocked and this will release it. She put some needles around my knees and some in my thighs near my hips, and some in my arms and one in each ear. While she was doing that, one knuckle on my hand (not near any needle) started feeling really warm. She said that was also for my lower back--another great sign.
She didn't actually put any needles in my lower back. She said it's already irritated, why irritate it further (a-ha!). Instead, she said something about releasing the blockages through my body first. Then she put a crinkly mylar-type blanket on me for warmth, turned out the lights, turned on the soothing music with bird sounds, and let me lie there for 20 minutes. It was kind of wild. I could feel my lower left back tingling. Sometimes it does that at night on its own. Then I was trying to take deep breaths but it was hurting to breathe too deeply (that also used to happen a while ago). The knuckle started to feel increasingly warm.

Then she came back in and took all the needles out, and massaged my legs with lotion and gave me some water. She told me what supplements to take (sometime else I will write them out, but it was glucosamine for joints, magnesium for muscle spasms, and something's all on a paper downstairs.) She talked about the energy flowing through my body, blocked areas, and other things I didn't understand, but hey, I'll roll with it.

She said tonight I should have a long hot shower. She said I could feel sore because the muscles will release lactic acid, so I should drink a lot of water. and I should massage my legs. She did not assume I wanted to come back! I said I want to come back on Wednesday. She only takes cash or checks (she rents this room in some other acupuncturist's office) and said I could pay next time since I didn't have enough cash nor a checkbook on me. Wow, alternative medicine is wild. (With Len too, they didn't want me to pay my copay the first visit--just wait for a few visits and then pay the co-pay.) She also asked about my coworker and said I should say hello.

Then it was a fantastic warm summer evening in Princeton. I walked around. I entered shops with stairs and my knees didn't hurt again!

I came home and ate dinner outside. I had changed into a dress. I started looking at my legs--could I see where the needles had been? I saw this area that looked like it could be blood?


It was a tick. A tiny little tick. The kind that carries Lyme's disease. Stuck onto my leg!!!

I googled "how to remove a tick". Followed the directions. Seems like it's already dead. I washed down the area with soap and water.

It's always something. But at least I'm not in bad pain unlike yesterday. I'm in good spirits.


  1. You mention George Michael... I saw a recent photo of Boy George in Rolling Stone and he's looking ka-ray-zee. Wonder if I should check out the latest photos of George Michael to see if he's taken such a drastic departure.

    Fascinated to hear about your acupuncture experience. Can't wait to know about the next visit!

  2. Thanks for the fantastic description of your nice acupuncturist. Makes me want to come out to NJ and see her myself! Eek about the tick! I've had two on me in my life but not in places I could get at them!


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