Like many of you, I am not very fond of needles. In fact, when I was little, I would cry profusely whenever the doctor would say he was going to give me a flu shot. Nowadays, my fear of needles has diminished significantly. In the previous year I’ve donated blood, and just recently, I went to a local acupuncturist.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that has been practiced for centuries. It’s based off the theory that our bodies are flowing with energy and any imbalance or illness is due to a blockage in these energy pathways called meridians. The practice itself involves placing needles in points in your body to influence the flow of energy.
I had decided to see what all the hype was about. I am always looking for ways to becoming healthier. I view my body as the vessel through which I experience everything life. How can I enjoy a delicious meal if I am sick? How can I enjoy my day if I am stressed? You get the picture.
I was not interested, but I was also curious and excited to see what the experience would be like. That day, I set my appointment with the acupuncturist and the next day I went. Surprisingly, there was more acupuncturists in my area than I had thought. I thought it would be rare to find a place nearby but I was completely wrong. In fact, when I showed up to the acupuncture center, there was a good amount of people already inside getting treated and there a fair amount in the waiting room.
I had paid $15 and with that, I got a 1 hour session. I actually didn’t know what the pricing would be, I thought it would be something like the sensory deprivation tank experience, where I paid $45.
Once I got in, there was a dimly lit room, with the most relaxing music, like that you would hear when getting a massage. I had laid down in a reclining chair and the acupuncturist began to ask me some questions as to what problems I had and so based on that information, she would choose certain points in my body to place the needles. It was fascinating really.
I laid down and she began to take out the needles. Right then and there, I was expecting the little pain equivalent to a flu shot at a doctor’s but when she had placed the first one in, there was almost no pain. I had barely felt it. Although some points would actually hurt but she had explained that it was because that this was normal because that point was linked to the organ that needed to get better so naturally the slight pain was indicator of that.
Once all the needles were in, I laid there and didn’t even notice that the needles were there unless I moved. I noticed that most people slept but I decided not to since I can sleep at home and I wanted to make the most of this experience and the money I paid so I began to meditate.
Sometimes, I have a more difficult time not getting distracted when meditating but this time, I was completely “in the zone.” Maybe it was the needles, or perhaps it was the calming music or the deep breathing, I don’t know.
After about an hour, I got up and the acupuncturist removed the needles and soon after there was no stinging pain from the needles or any sign on my body that I had gotten acupuncture. There was only the calm relaxed feeling which was much needed after a long and stressful day.
After that first day, I continued to go twice a week for two months and it really allowed me to have an outlet for relaxation and a quiet space. The results were less burnout and less stress every week. I felt that I had a good balance between hard work and relaxation.
We all have busy lives and with those busy lives comes stress and anxiety which takes its toll if you don’t take the necessary efforts to balance out all that work with rest.
I had once heard a powerful quote that has truly made me realize the importance of rest for more productive work, hopefully it has the same effect on you:
“He who doesn’t know how to relax doesn’t know how to work.”