What would you do, if what you’re already doing isn’t working? Do you continue to do what’s not working or do you find alternatives or supports to help you? Those were some of the questions I faced. I had to ask myself these questions because that was reality for me.
Since the clomid cycles were not successful in achieving pregnancy, the next step was to obtain a referral. So, I contacted my new OB/GYN and we reviewed the plan. Oh, the “new” OB/GYN…I felt comfortable having the last OB/GYN help me through the rest of the process. While waiting to hear back about my referral, I figured…this “western” medicine is not happening, we should try something else. Hence, I went to acupuncture.
Acupuncture was not a replacement for modern medicine or “western” medicine, at least not for us anyway. Acupuncture is something I consider complimentary to modern medicine, that helped provide more understanding and different approaches to an already complicated situation.
I went to acupuncture without consultation or a recommendation from my doctor. I did not ask because at that point I thought….this can’t hurt our chances! Why not try it? Some of my friends advised me to see an acupuncturist but no one in particular.
My husband did the research and I made the call. I set up my first acupuncture appointment! He came with me to check it out. Plus, I was nervous and didn’t want to go by myself.
If you ever have the opportunity to participate in acupuncture, I would recommend it!
At first, I was definitely skeptical! I didn’t know what I was getting into nor did I realize the effect it would have on me. I was a little freaked out because I wasn’t familiar with it, meaning I had a general idea but not the specifics. I knew I was going to be poked with needles and thought it might hurt a little.
My first appointment was about 2 hours. I read and signed consents. Then I tried it out…I was invited to one of the rooms and asked to remove either all of my clothes or to remove my clothes from the waist up. I laid on my stomach, put my head in the rest area provided at the end of the massage table, and covered myself with the sheet. The massage table was covered like a bed, with a sheet to protect the table and a sheet to cover me. When the acupuncturist came in I was asked questions pertaining to my history, infertility, and reviewed some of the things I could expect.
Next, the sheet was lifted to uncover only my back and arms. My back was lathered with lotion and I moved on to cupping. If you’ve ever done cupping you may have a different perception than me. The fact is, I never saw the cupping process because my head was always face down. I heard and felt cupping. My husband, however, has witnessed cupping being performed on my back. So, he assisted with my explanation of this. Cupping helps the blood flow in your body. It involves small glass cups that are placed on your back. Prior to that, a cotton ball is lit on fire and swirled inside a glass cup, which creates smoke. The cup is then placed on your back. You can tell it’s on your back because the glass becomes like suction cups to your skin. The skin surrounding the cup is sucked up into the glass cup. The smoke removes the oxygen from the glass cup creating the suction effect. The cup was moved around my back in a particular manner. At times it stayed in a specific area for a few minutes. It was at those times that I got a hand and foot massage. Oh, I almost forgot. While I was laying on my stomach there was also a pillow by my ankles holding my feet up a little off the table. This probably sounds really weird and possibly harsh. I hope I’ve explained this well enough for you to understand.
I had a least 3 cups on my back. I have to admit, the first time I did cupping it was sore, and for good reason. After the cupping was complete, the cups were removed. My back was really tense. That was also apparent when the acupuncturist did a back pinching thing. I don’t know what the exact name for it is, but it hurt. It starts at the tailbone. You push the skin toward the spine and pinch it. Alternating hands (thumbs & index fingers), you pinch the skin up following the spine, until you reach the neck. It seemed to take forever, probably because I was in such pain. The pain was due to the tightness of my back. After the pinching thing, I got a back massage. When that was done, the sheet was lifted a little. I was asked to turn over and lay on my back. When I was ready, the sheet was draped over me. Don’t worry, the acupuncturist was very modest about it and the sheets were not sheer. The pillow by my ankles was returned to that spot and another pillow was placed under my head and neck area.
It was now time for the actual acupuncture! I was instructed to breathe a certain way while the needles were being placed in specific areas. If you don’t know anything about acupuncture or Chinese medicine, know that there a hundreds of points on the body. I can’t tell you all of them, just know there are a lot! Lol! One of the purposes of my first appointment was for the acupuncturist to assess how my body works and then identify the best way to help me.
My first experience with the acupuncture needles was not at all what I expected. I knew that they were different from needles used to draw blood or give shots like TB, which are hollow. I remember in high school a teacher had acupuncture done to her as part of the lesson in class one day. It was mostly around her face and I was not bothered by it. Anyways! I was surprised that I couldn’t really feel the needles. There were a few times that I felt a very brief pinch but that was it. Since I was laying on my back I didn’t see where most of the needles were placed but I did feel them. I remember lifting up my hand and seeing one between my thumb and index finger. It was so thin I could barely tell it was there. If it wasn’t for a thick cylinder metal piece at the top, I don’t know if I would’ve be able to see the needle. The needles were about 2-2 1/2 inches long. When the needles were in their proper places, I was instructed to close my eyes and rest for 20 minutes. Just as a side note, I did not have needles coming out of every acupuncture point. The needles were strategically placed. The acupuncturist set a timer and then came in to remove the needles at the completion of the time. I was instructed to take my time getting up and dressed, then meet the acupuncturist outside.
I got up, got dressed and we went outside to talk with the acupuncturist. She gave me further instructions about a diet, book & article to read, as well as additional things I could expect in future sessions. I still have the handouts I was given. I thought the session went well considering it was my first time. I scheduled another appointment for the following week.
As I write about this experience I realize that there are SO many things to share about the topic of acupuncture. One post isn’t going to be enough! Oh dear.
Anyways! When I went home after the appointment I didn’t notice anything different until it was time to take a shower. I saw the marks on my back from where the cups were. My back wasn’t covered in marks, there were maybe 4-5. They looked like bruises that were perfect circles, scattered around my back. Lol. It took a few days before it was gone, which I expected because of all the tightness in my back.
Acupuncture usually consisted of cupping, massage, acupuncture and rest. My first appointment was the longest. The typical appointment after that was about an hour, complete with validated parking.
Ok. I had this thing…for 2-3 days after acupuncture, I would wear my hair down to cover my neck area. I didn’t want people to think I was being abused. Lol. I don’t know why because I wasn’t being abused. Well, a few months into treatment, a day or two after acupuncture, I made the mistake of going to Wal-mart with my hair tied up. I forgot what I was shopping for but I remember walking pass the sewing section & noticing this tall, African American looking guy following me. He looked like he was in his 40s. I didn’t know why he was following me. I tried not to make eye contact and walked a little faster but, he caught up to me. He said, “Excuse me, what is that on your back?” It was then that I realized why he was following me! I laughed to myself. He spotted a mark from the cupping. It was on the middle back of my neck, right above my shirt line with about half of a circle visible. I explained to him how I got it. He seemed surprised, nodded while explained, ok with it, and then walked away. Thinking about that experience makes me laugh. Hope you got a good laugh too! 🙂
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