However, there is a huge upside to my job – meeting the interesting and intelligent people I interview and immersing myself fully in understanding their craft. As a writer for physicians and health experts, I gain exposure to the various ways there are to care for the human body from people passionate about what they do. Yesterday, my job led me to learn about the world of Chinese medicine.
In my past experiences, I have met a few acupuncturists, but I never really knew anything about the practice or Chinese medicine in general and how either fit into the world of wellness. And, of course, I had certainly never explored it myself. Then I met Dr. Lisa Perdue of Asian Integrative Medicine in Boca Raton.
I had interviewed Dr. Lisa in the past for articles and pitching, but during our interviews, she would always tell me, “It’s hard to explain, you have to experience it.”
Indeed, she was correct. Don’t get me wrong, I was in awe of Dr. and what she had already discussed with me, but I was undeniably entranced when I left her office yesterday.
At Dr. office, I experienced acupuncture for the first time. Can I just say that I am not a big fan of needles? Dr. showed me the needles.
Relief washed over me. The needles were quite tiny and, when touched, bent like the whiskers on a cat.
I laid on the table, ambient music whispered through the halls of the building. I calmed my nerves by thinking if I can survive three tattoos, I can survive tiny needles. I stared at the ceiling finding myself in an unusual state of calm, despite what I knew was about to happen.
She placed the first needle in my foot. Nothing. There was nothing. In fact, I wasn’t even sure which foot she had put the needle in – I felt nothing. The next needle went into my arm, again, no sensation. She continued moving around my body, placing needles at various points on the “meridian” necessary to balance my energy. She explained why she chose certain points and what was happening in my body.
She explained to me that the needles act as conduits, moving energy through the body. I recalled biology class, imagining the synapses, neurons and electrolyte ions from the diagrams – all the necessary components for movement and essentially life. It made sense that the needles could draw a reaction.
She worked her way to the top of my body; my oblivion to the minute pricks remained intact . . . that is until she reached my right shoulder, just below the neck – the epicenter of my stress. The needle went in. I didn’t leap or even scowl. I (miraculously) maintained my calm. “Ow, uh, yeah, I uh, I definitely felt that one. I still feel it. Yeah, it hurts,” I proclaimed feeling somehow guilty for experiencing any pain.
“That’s where you mentioned you carried pain. Related to stress?” Dr. reminded me. “There’s a lot of blocked energy there – that is why the sensation is strong.”
The sensation, despite being mildly painful, further my intrigue. Every time I am bogged down in a stressful moment or sick or hung over, my right shoulder up through my neck pains me. Blocked energy from that area sounded about right. The sensation of the needle dissipated in mere moments.
The last needle to be inserted into my body was at the very top of my head. This was an interesting phenomenon. It didn’t hurt going in, in fact, I couldn’t feel a thing. However, as Dr. Lisa and I continued talking, the changes in my facial expressions as I spoke led to a series of pokes radiating from the top of my skull.
“No laughing, no raising your eyebrows. It’s moving the needle,” Dr. scolded me jokingly before turning out the light and leaving me to focus on my breathing while these tiny needles did their work.
I felt sensations rumbling through my body, particularly in the areas where I had “trouble.” My eyes drifted open and closed. My mind wandered and sank back into blackness – back and forth. Inside my head, I felt a sensation that mirrored wax dripping in slow motion down a candlestick. Pouring down my brain in one large, slow drop. It wasn’t uncomfortable, it was new and almost soothing.
At some point, I drifted into a deep enough sleep that I startled myself awake. Dr. came by, “Good morning!” She joked, having heard the paper sheet rustle when my foot jolted up and came slamming down on the table upon waking.
Dr. removed the needles and cautioned me to get up slowly. I felt just fine –normal actually and was anxious to get to my computer to share this experience. More appointments beckoned that kept me from relaying my story quickly, however my lengthy story wouldn’t be quite as nice without this conclusion, a quite unexpected conclusion:
Following the appointment, I raced home, ate lunch and geared up to meet my next client in Fort Lauderdale, about 20 minutes from my place in light traffic. It was 3pm and that means school traffic the bane of my existence. It was piling up as I weaved and merged toward the freeway.
If you have every ridden in the car with me, you know that I have a form of road rage. Yes, it’s sad, but true. I curse like a sailor and make faces at stupid drivers. It’s a terrible habit. (And, I might add, I am never too tired to yell at another driver… I don’t know what it is about my car that makes me so angry, but there you have it.) So, I am sitting in traffic on Glades, the absolute worst road almost any time of day, but a main road that is difficult to avoid when attempting to move east to west in Boca Raton.
True to form on Glades, an old beamer cuts me off. I sit quietly. A mini-van with one of those dumb stick-figure families plastered on the back nudges in front of me at a light. I sit there. A yellow Diamante hoopty is driving 40 miles per hour in the fast lane when I finally start cruising on the freeway. I remain calm as I switch lanes.
Well, not quite, but after a few more sessions of acupuncture, I just might be. I was a bit abrasive on my ride home, but still immensely less reactive than normal.
Does acupuncture work? I don’t know, but I think it definitely did something! I will keep you posted as I continue to learn more about Dr. Lisa and her practice. In the meantime, South Floridians, schedule an appointment with Dr. Lisa, you will be amazed at what you learn about yourself and your health after just one session!