Acupuncture, Almost

Posted: 9 July 2005 in observations, therapy
Tags: ,

I won a free consultation with an acupuncturist for a health overview and a Chinese pulse assessment. I filled out a little slip of paper with my name and email address at her booth at Pride at the end of June and we spoke briefly. I knew when I slid my name into the box that I would “win”, the acupuncturist (we’ll call her Flora) made a point of shaking my hand, making eye contact and repeating my name several times. I can almost see her at home, digging through the slips, looking for my scribbled email address or, perhaps, diligently sending a winning email to everyone who filled out the form.

I’ve always wanted to try acupuncture, to the point of actually looking for local practitioners online. My health insurance offers a small discount for treatment and I emailed a number of local folks for information. I hadn’t gotten around to making an appointment yet, mainly because my schedule makes doing anything but sleep and work practically impossible. I have an incredibly sore shoulder though (stress) and my head frequently hurts (migraines caused by stress) and I’m far too stressed out (see the last post). Acupuncture is supposed to be great for these sorts of things. So I made the appointment for my consultation and went.

I was exactly one minute late. By this point, Flora had called my cell phone several times to be sure I was coming. This did not improve my stress. During the consultation she asked lists of questions, writing notes in tiny blue script around the questions on her list. What did I eat during the day? What was my family medical history? What did I do at work? She repeatedly asked me about my “bowel function”, expressing amazement that I didn’t combat constipation daily and shaking my hand in congratulations. The sorting nature of my job, apparently, is a harbinger of obstruction. She worked her way down the list until she got to major surgeries and then we spent several minutes looking up Arnold Chiari I malformation, the reason d’etre of the scar running like a zipper down the back of my neck. At the end, she took my pulse, telling me it was much bolder on my left side, but not explaining the point of boldness versus weakness.

I left not absolutely positive I wanted to go back. If you know me, you know this is an odd development. I’m all for any alternative medicine, especially if it’s reputed to cure headaches. You name it, I’ve tried it. Flora didn’t rub me the wrong way, I just didn’t leave wanting to come back. I’m sure, when I slipped my entry into that box at Pride, I looked like an easy mark, eager to try something new. But in the end, I turn out to be a bust, to both of our surprise. I’ll let you know if I go back, after all, it is hard to resist seeing what those tiny needles feel like, but I’m much more likely to go somewhere else. And I don’t even have a good reason.

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